Who is Captain Action? The short answer is that he’s the spy world’s answer to G.I. Joe. A dashing hero, master of disguise, and like Joe, he has lots of really cool accessories (that were all sold separately). Introduced by the IDEAL toy company in 1966, Captain Action’s run as toy was brief, with the good Captain, his sidekick Action Boy and his nemesis, Dr. Evil enjoying only a couple of years of production before the line ended the line in 1968. It was not until late 90′s when Joseph J. Ahearn, the self described “Retropeneur” got the ball rolling for the return of Captain Action. (You can read about how he helped bring the good Captain back here)
For those of you who don’t know, Captain Action was a pretty cool toy to have, because you actually got more than just the Captain for your play value. IDEAL had licensed the use of several popular characters (Captain America, Superman, the Lone Ranger, among others) for Captain Action, so you could buy different costumes for Captain Action. One day you could play Batman, then another day you could be Sgt. Fury and then another day and you could be on your way to Mongo as Flash Gordon, heck there was even an Aquaman costume. But Captain Action also was his own man. A spy, adventurer and all about badass. He had his own nemesis, Dr. Evil (no not Mike Meyers), and of course the requisite kid sidekick. He even got his own comic for a little bit in the 60′s. But for about 30 years, he was gone. The 80′s saw the rebirth of G.I. J0e, but Captain Action only lived on in the memories of baby boomers… until now.
Joe Ahearn, and the folks over www.CaptainActionNow.com have helped reintroduced Captain Action, along with of the good folks at Moonstone Comics. While he is no longer dressing up as our favorite heroes, he’s still kicking ass in the spy game. and he has brought Kid Action and Lady Action along for the fun. Moonstone has been putting out Captain Action comics since 2008. Some of the creators working on the book include Fabian Nicieza, Marv Wolfman, Steven Grant, and Art Thibert, and over the past three years at Moonstone, Captain Action has gotten to interact with some of the very characters he used to dress up as including The Phantom and the Green Hornet.
Recently released was the Captain Action Winter Special. Four stories of intrigue and, of course, ACTION. It’s no secret that I like a good fun spy romp. though uneven, this book delivered pretty solidly. It’s marquee feature, a prose story of a meeting between Action, and Brit Reid, the GREEN HORNET, is really highlighted by the colorful rides these two heroes drive. I was hoping for a good car chase between The Hornet’s BLACK BEAUTY and the SILVER STREAK, Captain Actions amphibious flying car, but I guess that is something we can look forward to in the rematch. The lead comic story is a Cold War tale about hunting down lost Nazi occult artifacts. Beautiful drawn by Eduardo Barretto, Beau Smith’s tale of betrayal in the Alps is as crisp as the mountain air the story takes place in.
The highlight for me going in was Tony Lee’s chapter starring Lady Action (A character that lives up to her name, she actually holds the title of Lady in British aristocracy.) Now Tony Lee has never failed to impress me with his work on Doctor Who, so I had high expectations going in. It’s a solid, if not engrossing story. Essentially an extended chase scene, Lee showcases his trademark wit and light hearted sense of adventure. I was not blown away with the artwork, however. But maybe I was being a bit unfair, as the lead story did have gorgeous work and the fact that early today I did have a run in with a real (and very striking) Lady Action at Midtown Comics. Don’t believe me? Well just take a gander to the right and see what I mean. And of course the story has a title that both fans of Ian Flemming and Kevin Smith can both get into.
I asked Joe about his future plans for the Captain, and he certainly is not resting on his laurels. Not only does he have the Captain Action franchise going on at Moonstone. A new 12″ Captain Action Figure will be hitting shelves this fall, courtesy of Round 2.
Recently it has been announced that the good Captain will be able to once again to dress in the costumes of some of your favorite heroes. A recent agreement with Marvel Comics has Captain Action getting his SPIDERMAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA costumes back. And these are the first two costumes that are coming. 2012 will see the addition of THOR and IRON MAN costumes. Also each costume will come with a bonus, a piece of the HAWKEYE costume. That’s right, you will be able to “Assemble and Avenger” ensemble by collecting all the Marvel Costumes! These costumes are aimed to the Silver Age Marvel fan, and the details of the costume will reflect that.
So with this latest announcement, will it be long before we see some DC costumes? Only time will tell, until then, go out and get some Action!
* Writers Note - This is an updated article that originally appeared here