Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Uncollected - Call To Action!


Captain Action was the niftiest dang toy I ever saw. A hero who could travel the breadth of the multiverse and assume the roles of heroes from DC Comics, Marvel Comics, King Features, and beyond.


He could be any hero, whether that hero operated in outer space, the deep jungle, skyscraper-laden cities, or old west.



Just look at the ad! What self-respecting kid wouldn't want that doll...er...action figure. I for one sure did. But I never had one, so Captain Action remained a dazzling figment of my imagination. One way to tap into the Captain Action glory was in the world of comics and DC did the deed.


The debut issue, featuring a muscular cover by the painfully neglected Irv Novick, sports interior art by Wally Wood.


Wood was an artist, coming off his successes with the THUNDER Agents ideally suited to the genres that Captain Action straddled -- superheroes meet super-spies. But Wood was a master of finishes and while lovely to look at often, lacked from time to time the dynamics to move a story with gusto.


That gusto came in spades with the arrival of Gil Kane. Kane at this point in his career was seemingly free of the editorial involvement which limited his dynamics on vintage Atom and Green Lantern tales and this time brought a roiling energy to his pages that tumbled across the panels and seemingly leaped into the reader's lap.


For his part Wally Wood stayed on to apply his lush finishes to three of the next four issues of the limited run.


With the third issue Gil Kane took over the writing chores from Jim Shooter and his Captain Action became even more enigmatic and certainly lived up to his name.


The covers boil with drama and the figures strain with emotion.  These are some of the very finest of Kane's covers in a career which included many hundreds of cover images. These books demand to be read, and they ought to be read by a modern audience.


Several years ago now Moonstone picked up the Captain Action brand and made a few comics out of it which can with the greatest charity be called tepid. They didn't for whatever reason find the means or method to reprint these DC classics and more is the pity. We need these Captain Action yarns back in print and we need them now.


To read a sample check out this Groovy Link.

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6 comments:

  1. A great series indeed. Apparently, issue #4 is Gil's version of George Bernard Shaw's 'Man and Superman' which he was reading at the time.

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    1. All the more reason these classics need to be gathered for a fresh audience.

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  2. I remember seeing the ads for the figure back in the '60s and wishing they were available in Britain, which they didn't seem to be, as I never saw them in toy shops. Imagine my surprise when just a few short years ago, someone I know said he'd see seen them on sale in a famous (but now gone) department store in Glasgow. I've got all the DC comics shown here, but I have to be honest and say it never really did much for me. Incidentally, I've now got a couple of the reissued Captain Action figures from when Playing Mantis brought them out again nearly 20 years ago. Very similar to a British action figure (build-wise) called Tommy Gunn, by Pedigree Toys.

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    1. I was sorely tempted by the reissues from several years ago. They have a nifty cool about them, but I get hardly any toys. I just don't know what to do with them other than stare at them. Still, never say never.

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  3. Replies
    1. Kane was a master of the craft. I fell in love with his work on Captain Marvel and have never looked back.

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