Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Captain Action Returns to Save a 40 Year-Old Virgin"

sg Larry Siegel In 1968 I met a new superhero: Captain Action. His manly, yet concerned features, stretchy pants and counter-clockwise chest emblem captured my seven year-old's attention. His gun and lightening-shaped sword--yes, sword--kept my fascination.

I fondly remember being taken by my mom after school one day to the toy store near the bowling alley at "The Willingboro Plaza". We went into the unkempt store, toys and model boxes stacked to the ceiling, and we bought Captain Action along with his arch enemy, the blue skinned, Dr. Evil. That's right. There was a Dr. Evil before Austin Powers. This one had bug eyes and an exposed brain, which was covered by a GI Joe-like face mask. A competitive shot at Hasbro, I wonder?

Anyway, I got home, opened the boxes and played and played and played.

Then, much to my surprise and delight, I found Captain Action comic books in the rack at the nearby 7-11. I only got two of them and later found out that they only produced five. Somehow, I was the only kid in the neighborhood that had anything related to Captain Action (and Dr. Evil). I learned to keep my thrill over Captain Action to myself when the playground shop talk turned to the discussion of cool toys and super heroes. At my friends' houses, we'd play GI Joes and destroy various accouterments and throw dirt bombs at the action heroes(and each other). That was fun.

But at my house, mostly on my own, it was intergalactic mayhem, ray gun wounds and vicious miniature swordplay. Take that, Dr. Evil! A lightening sword cut to your ewy-gooey right hemisphere. I made the comic book come to life, all while creating panel after panel of unscripted adventures.

As the years passed, and the inevitable moves from house to dorm rooms to apartments to my own houses took place, I lost touch with Captain Action. In fact, I forgot all about him. But then, three years ago while in the theater watching Steve Carell in The 40 Year-Old Virgin I saw the scene in his apartment with all his action figures. There, on the shelf, looking scrawny and anachronistic was my Captain Action. He lives!

I remember urgently whispering to my wife, "There’s Captain Action!" to which she said, "Wuh?"

Oh, how few of us there must be.


Anonymous said...

Great story, Larry! These orphan heroes need more press, so they're not forgotten over time. At least yours is sealed on celluloid, forever to be enjoyed...

Captain Action forever!

Grears said...

Didn't they just do a replica version of these? Perhaps you can ask for a present next brithday!!!

I'm a bit too young for Captain Action, as I'm much younger than Larry, but I always envied the fact that Captain Action could become any hero... I always had to buy a unique Mego figure.


Rick L. Phillips said...

I always have loved captain action. Mine lost a hand over the years and I would always play like the arm became bionic and now he could shoot bazookas from his arm.
The comic book had stopped being published for years when I found out about it. I did get to read some and liked it. If they had been able to keep it going CA may have become a member of the JLA.

Neal P said...

Fear not! Captain Action is still alive and well! Moonstone Comics is coming out with a new Captain Action comic in April and an 8-inch, Mego-style version of the Captain Action figure is in the works.

Anonymous said...

Dear Larry, & guys-

If you're not already members, come on over to the CA Yahoo group - one of the best in cyber-space. And The Good Captain is on the move again:

I've taken some flack from aome Mego Heads over the years (don't hit me, Massa Rob!), but I think a good case can be made for Clive Arno to have been an essential "Uncle" that made the 8" ers possible; LOTS of connecting tissue there...

-Craig "got him Xmas '66" W.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks, guys. There's a whole hidden Captain Action world I knew nothing about. We must protect it from Dr. Evil. Mwahahahaha. Mwa-hahaha. Mwah-ha. Ha. ha. Heh. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

This was my all time favorite toy! I had every costume, and somehow conned my mother into buying enough figures for all of them! I wish I had them today! The Green Hornet costume alone is going for around 5K! At least I was able to get all of the reissues that Playing Mantis put out several years ago. The comics were awesome, too! One of the things that I noticed even as a kid was that the Captain's anatomy was so much more accurate than GI Joe. You could tell I was going to an artist even then! LOL