Captain Action

Captain Action was an action figure created in 1966, equipped with a wardrobe of costumes allowing him to become Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Aquaman, the Phantom, The Lone Ranger (and Tonto), Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Sgt. Fury, Steve Canyon, and the Green Hornet. Captain Action was the Ideal Toy Company's answer to Hasbro's G.I. Joe—although the protagonist dolls of both toy lines were created and designed by the same toy-and-idea man, Stan Weston.

Captain Action
TypeAction figures
CompanyIdeal Toy Corp.
CountryUnited States
Availability1966–1968
Materialsplastic

Historical overview

Toy developer Stan Weston went to Hasbro's Don Levine with the idea of an articulated doll in the form of a soldier — a basic figure, and with limitless accessories. Levine and his Hasbro team took the concept, making it into G.I. Joe, the first modern action figure for boys — and the first to carry the action figure generic name, an attempt to remove the term "doll" from a toy for boys. Weston took his money from the G.I. Joe venture and founded his own licensing company, representing DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and King Features Syndicate.

After the success of G.I. Joe, Stan Weston's company, Leisure Concepts, then brought the idea of a new, articulated, twelve-inch (305 mm) action figure to Ideal Toys Corporation, who were seeking an action figure of their own, to remain competitive in the toy market. Weston proposed Captain Magic, a many-in-one hero, who could adopt the guise of several heroes, all of whom Leisure Concepts represented. The name was changed to Captain Action, and first marketed by Ideal in 1966.

The figure itself had a rather sad and worried expression, a strange shaped head (so the masks of the various heroes would better stay in place over it) and a more detailed musculature than G.I. Joe's. The original Ideal base for the line was Captain Action in his blue and black uniform, with lightning sword and ray gun included in the box. Separate Superman, Batman, Lone Ranger, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Captain America, Sgt Fury, Steve Canyon and Aquaman costumes (with accessories) were available; the next wave (1967) added Spider-Man, Buck Rogers, the Green Hornet, and Tonto, with a Blue Lone Ranger variation (matching the still popular Clayton Moore series) and collectible flicker rings in each box.

In 1967, Captain Action proved popular enough to expand the line, adding a partner, Action Boy, and an enemy, Dr. Evil, a blue skinned alien with large bug eyes and an exposed brain, wearing a modified Nehru suit and sandals. A line of female figures was also released called the "Super Queens Posin' Dolls", which featured Batgirl, Mera, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman figures. Unlike Captain Action and Action Boy, the Super Queens dolls were each individually based on a singular superheroine (instead of a base "Super Queen" doll with interchangeable outfits).[1] Also, a vehicle called the "Silver Streak," a 2-foot-long (0.61 m) amphibian car with missile launchers, was added, large enough for both the Captain and sidekick. Several sets meant to be used by Captain Action in his Captain Action identity were designed for the character as well: a four foot working parachute, a jet mortar, a jet pack, a weapons arsenal, and several other secret weapons to add to the Action Cave, which the special box for the Streak could convert into. Both the Captain and Dr. Evil received "secret lairs," which doubled as carrying cases for the figures, but which are now quite rare. All of this was an attempt by Ideal to build the "Action" line and focus on Captain Action as a hero in his own right, rather than just a base figure for other heroes.

After just a couple of years, the Captain Action line declined in sales. As a result, Ideal Toys discontinued it in 1968. Though Captain Action was produced for only two and a half years, the characters and accessories have become amongst the most fondly remembered, and expensive to obtain on the collector's market, action figures of the era.

Throughout the 1970s, Captain Action leftover uniforms and boots were used on knock-off, blow-molded figures from China (where the original was cast and assembled) and Ideal itself reused the original body molds to rush a Star Wars-like toy to the market, the Knight of Darkness, in 1977. Captain Action collectors would buy the figure (cast in black plastic) often using the hands to replace the sometimes missing hands of the vintage figures. The Ideal Toy company's S.T.A.R Team toy line was deemed copyright infringement by LucasFilm, and resulted in a failed lawsuit by George Lucas.

Captain Action returns

After 30 years off the market, Captain Action was revived in 1998, by retro toy company Playing Mantis. In addition to Captain Action and Dr. Evil, costumes released boxed with Captain Action figure were The Lone Ranger (in red and black outfit), Tonto, Flash Gordon, his never-before-made nemesis Ming the Merciless (with a new flesh-tone Dr. Evil figure), The Green Hornet, and his never-before-made sidekick Kato. The line met with lackluster sales, and carded costumes-only were issued separately: Green Hornet, Kato, Lone Ranger (in blue outfit), Tonto, The Phantom, and his never-before-made enemy Kabai Singh. Also revived was Action Boy (now called Kid Action, due to Hasbro owning the rights to the name Action Man) and retro long box packaging for Captain Action and Dr. Evil. The changes made little difference in the general sales and the second coming of Captain Action ended in 2000.

2000s–2010s

Since 2005 Captain Action Enterprises holds the licensing rights and has been producing an array of new merchandise, including statues, toys, comics, trading cards, collectibles and apparel.

In March 2011, Round 2 Corp. and Captain Action Enterprises announced plans for a redesigned 1/6 scale Captain Action figure.

In other media

Comic books

DC Comics

National Periodical (DC Comics) licensed the character from Ideal and published five issues of Captain Action in 1968,[2] illustrated at first by Wally Wood, then by Gil Kane. The scripts were by Jim Shooter and Gil Kane. The comic book story line had little to do with the toy concept, as some of the heroes licensed for use as costumes for the Captain Action doll were not owned and published by DC (Spider-Man and Captain America for example, were Marvel Comics characters), therefore the ability to change into different characters was entirely dropped. Instead, Captain Action came to possess magical coins, each of which provided him with a spectacular power from a Greek, Roman, or Norse mythological god (in a similar way to the original Captain Marvel). Captain Action was given a real name of his own, Clive Arno, and was identified as a widowed archaeologist and museum curator, and was described as having located "the coins of power" in a buried city. Action Boy's comic-book alter-ego was Carl Arno, son of Clive. Dr. Evil was given a back-story too, having been Captain Action's father-in-law, then going mad in a mishap. In the early 1980s, writer Mike Tiefenbacher wrote a story proposal that would have revived Captain Action and Action Boy as "Captain Triumph" and "Javelin" in the "Whatever Happened To...?" backup feature in DC Comics Presents. DC Comics rejected the idea due to copyright concerns regarding the characters.[3] Issue #5 of the comic, retitled 'Thrills and Adventure', was used as a prop in the 'It's the Arts' episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Moonstone Books

In 2008 Moonstone Books began a new series and created a new back-story for the character. Captain Action was now Miles Drake, a former Marine who discovers a cache of alien weaponry during the Vietnam War. The weapons are connected to a race of alien parasites called the Red Crawl, who have been taking over world leaders in a bid to dominate the earth. The Red Crawl's main representative on earth is Dr. Eville (based on Dr. Evil from the Ideal toy line). Drake becomes an agent of the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate, a secret agency operating outside the government and dedicated to defending earth from the alien menace. The name of the organization is an acronym for "Advanced Command for Telluric Interdiction Observation and Nullification." Eventually, the A.C.T.I.O.N. directorate is able to use the alien technology to create superheroes and the Red Crawl is apparently defeated. The series also tell the story of a second Captain Action, Miles's rebellious son, Cole Drake, who inherits the heroic identity in the 21st Century. It is revealed that the Red Crawl was never actually defeated and that the superheroic Protectors are actually under their control. Cole must struggle against the renewed alien menace and the rogue superheroes. The stories of the original Captain Action are told in the 1960s where the character is a costumed super spy. The identity-changing aspect of the toy line shows up in Captain Action's ability to use a material called "plastiderm" to disguise himself as almost anyone. In the modern stories the younger Captain Action used the more advanced "plasmaderm" which allows him not only to assume someone's likeness, but any powers they possess. Thus Captain Action is finally able to change into other superheroes, though this only works for original characters like Savior rather than for licensed characters like Superman. The exception to this has been a crossover adventure with the Phantom whose adventures Moonstone was also publishing.

Moonstone has featured a similarly revised Action Boy. In this version he is Sean Barrett, the son of a famous naturalist whose identity is assumed by Dr. Eville. His stories also take place in the 1960s. Moonstone has also created an original character, Lady Action, who works for the British branch of the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate. Both Action Boy and the newly introduced Lady Action ( AKA Nicola Sinclair), have been featured as back up stories in the Captain Action comic. Lady Action also debuted in a one shot comic of her own in 2010, and continues to play a pivotal role in the Captain Action ongoing Series.

Moonstone Books published a new Captain Action comic book from 2008 to 2010, with the initial six-issue arc written by Fabian Nicieza. A Captain Action Special was also released in 2010 as well as a two-issue miniseries teaming up Captain Action with the Phantom, written by Mike Bullock. In July 2010, Captain Action Season 2, an ongoing series written by Steven Grant, debuted. Moonstone is also releasing Captain Action: Classified, which tells stories of Captain Action's earliest adventures in the 1960s.

Books and novels

In 2010, the coffee table book Captain Action: the Original Super Hero Action Figure, by Michael Eury, was published by TwoMorrows Publishing.

In July 2012, an original Captain Action pulp novel was released by Airship 27 called Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, written by Jim Beard.

References

  1. ^ "Super Queens: Super Collectibles". Diamond Galleries. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  2. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 420. ISBN 978-3-8365-1981-6. Captain Action was DC's first toy tie-in title...Editor Mort Weisinger...brought in his young firebrand Jim Shooter to craft an identity and back story for the character.
  3. ^ Wells, John (May 2013). "Flashback: Whatever Happened to...?". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (64): 51–61.

External links

Further reading

  • Eury, M. (2002) Captain Action: the Original Super-Hero Action Figure. Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 978-1-893905-17-7
  • Michlig, Jon (1998) GI Joe The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action
1968 in comics

Notable events of 1968 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

See also:

1968 in comics,

1969 in comics,

1960s in comics and the

list of years in comics

1969 Preakness Stakes

The 1969 Preakness Stakes was the 94th running of the $200,000 Preakness Stakes thoroughbred horse race. The race took place on May 17, 1969, and was televised in the United States on the CBS television network. Majestic Prince, who was jockeyed by Bill Hartack, won the race by only a neck over runner-up Arts and Letters. Approximate post time was 5:40 p.m. Eastern Time. The race was run on a fast track in a final time of 1:55-3/5. flat. The Maryland Jockey Club reported total attendance of 42,258, this is recorded as second highest on the list of American thoroughbred racing top attended events for North America in 1969.

Batman action figures

Batman action figures have been produced since the 1940s.

DC Comics Presents

DC Comics Presents is a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1978 to 1986 which ran for 97 issues and 4 annuals and featured team-ups between Superman and a wide variety of other characters of the DC Universe. A recurring back-up feature "Whatever Happened to...?" had stories revealing the status of various minor and little-used characters.

Dale Arden

Dale Arden is a fictional character, the fellow adventurer and love interest of Flash Gordon and a prototypic heroine for later female characters, including Princess Leia and Padme Amidala in Star Wars. Flash, Dale and Dr. Hans Zarkov fight together against Ming the Merciless.

Dinosaurs (TV series)

Dinosaurs is an American family sitcom comedy television series that was originally broadcast on ABC from April 26, 1991 to October 19, 1994. The show, about a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs (portrayed by puppets), was produced by Michael Jacobs Productions and Jim Henson Television in association with Walt Disney Television and distributed by Buena Vista International, Inc. The characters were designed by Henson team member Kirk Thatcher, the series is set in an alternate history in which dinosaurs never became extinct.

Eduardo Barreto

Luis Eduardo Barreto Ferreyra (1954 – December 15, 2011) was an Uruguayan artist who worked in the comic book and comic strip industries including several years of prominent work for DC Comics.Two of his children, Diego and Andrea, also work in comics, Diego as an artist, and Andrea as a colorist; both occasionally collaborated with Eduardo Barreto.

Gil Kane

Gil Kane (; born Eli Katz ; April 6, 1926 – January 31, 2000) was a Latvian-born American comics artist whose career spanned the 1940s to the 1990s and virtually every major comics company and character.

Kane co-created the modern-day versions of the superheroes Green Lantern and the Atom for DC Comics, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics. He was involved in such major storylines as that of The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98, which, at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, bucked the then-prevalent Comics Code Authority to depict drug abuse, and ultimately spurred an update of the Code. Kane additionally pioneered an early graphic novel prototype, His Name is ... Savage, in 1968, and a seminal graphic novel, Blackmark, in 1971.

In 1997, he was inducted into both the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

Intercompany crossover

In comic books, an intercompany crossover (also called cross-company or company crossover) is a comic or series of comics where characters that at the time of publication are the property of one company meet those owned by another company (for example, DC Comics' Superman meeting Marvel's Spider-Man, or DC's Batman meeting Marvel's Wolverine). These usually occur in "one-shot" issues or miniseries.

Some crossovers are part of canon. But most are outside of the continuity of a character's regular title or series of stories. They can be a joke, a gag, a dream sequence, or even a "what if" scenario (such as DC's Elseworlds).

Marvel/DC crossovers (which are mostly noncanon) include those where the characters live in alternate universes, as well as those where they share the "same" version of Earth. Some fans have posited a separate "Crossover Earth" for these adventures. In the earliest licensed crossovers, the companies seemed to prefer shared world adventures. This was the approach for early intercompany crossovers, including 1976's Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and 1981's Superman and Spider-Man.

Besides the two Superman/Spider-Man crossovers, a number of other DC/Marvel adventures take place on a "Crossover Earth", but later intercompany crossovers tend to present the DC and Marvel Universes as alternate realities, bridged when common foes make this desirable, as the interest in overall continuity has become a major part of even crossover comic books.Characters are often licensed or sold from one company to another, as with DC acquiring such characters of Fawcett Comics, Quality Comics, and Charlton Comics as the original Captain Marvel, Plastic Man and Captain Atom. In this way, heroes originally published by different companies can become part of the same fictional universe, and interactions between such characters are no longer considered intercompany crossovers.

Although a meeting between a licensed character and a wholly owned character (e.g., between Red Sonja and Spider-Man, or Evil Dead's Ash Williams and the Marvel Zombies) is technically an intercompany crossover, comics companies rarely bill them as such. Likewise, this is the case when some characters in an ongoing series are owned or to some extent controlled by their creators, as with Doctor Who antagonists the Daleks, who are not owned by the UK television network the BBC, even though the character of The Doctor is.

Jim Shooter

James Shooter (born September 27, 1951) is an American writer, occasional fill-in artist, editor, and publisher for various comic books. He started professionally in the medium at the age of 14, and he is most notable for his successful and controversial run as Marvel Comics' ninth editor-in-chief, and his work as editor in chief of Valiant Comics.

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Michael Eury

Michael "Mike" Eury is an editor and writer of comic books, and of reference works pertaining to comic books and their history. He has worked for DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Comico Comics, and is the editor of Back Issue!. He is also an advisor for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.Eury was diagnosed with otosclerosis in 1994, and wears dual hearing aids; as a result, he is an advocate for the rights of people with hearing loss.

Mike Bullock

Mike Bullock is an American author and musician born in Washington, DC. Bullock began writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry in the 1980s. He worked professionally in the music and comic book industries since 1986 and is best known as the creator of comic book series Lions, Tigers and Bears from Image Comics, and as the regular writer of The Phantom from Moonstone Books.

Moonstone Books

Moonstone Books is an American comic book, graphic novel, and prose fiction publisher based in Chicago focused on pulp fiction comic books and prose anthologies as well as horror and western tales.

The company began publishing creator-owned comics in 1995, and since 2001 has also published material based on a number of licensed properties, including Zorro, Doc Savage, The Avenger, Buckaroo Banzai, Bulldog Drummond, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Mr. Moto, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, The Phantom, Honey West and several titles based in White Wolf's World of Darkness.

National Comics Publications

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Richard Dean Starr

Richard Dean Starr is an American entrepreneur, editor, screenwriter, and author of fiction, comics, and graphic novels. He is also a former journalist and film critic who has written for newspapers and magazines.

Starr is also a copywriter and marketing consultant through Diamond Pacific Media Group. He is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eread Technologies, Inc., which owns and is developing Ereading.com, eComicBooks.com, and other reading-centric domains.

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In each issue of the comic, Savage Beauty offers a free full-page ad to a charitable cause. Future partners will include Invisible Children and Do Good Day.

TwoMorrows Publishing

TwoMorrows Publishing is a publisher of magazines about comic books, founded in 1994 by John and Pam Morrow out of their small advertising agency in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its products also include books and DVDs.

Wally Wood

Wallace Allan Wood (June 17, 1927 – November 2, 1981) was an American comic book writer, artist and independent publisher, best known for his work on EC Comics's Mad and Marvel's Daredevil. He was one of Mad's founding cartoonists in 1952. Although much of his early professional artwork is signed Wallace Wood, he became known as Wally Wood, a name he claimed to dislike. Within the comics community, he was also known as Woody, a name he sometimes used as a signature.

In addition to Wood's hundreds of comic book pages, he illustrated for books and magazines while also working in a variety of other areas – advertising; packaging and product illustrations; gag cartoons; record album covers; posters; syndicated comic strips; and trading cards, including work on Topps's landmark Mars Attacks set.

EC publisher William Gaines once stated, "Wally may have been our most troubled artist ... I'm not suggesting any connection, but he may have been our most brilliant".He was the inaugural inductee into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1989, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992.

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