Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Captain Action Turns Fifty!

PT CA 01The PopCult Toybox

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in the PopCulteer, 2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary for many pop culture icons and notable cool things.  One of my favorite notable cool things is Captain Action, the first fully poseable superhero action figure. I’ve been writing about him since the very first month of PopCult but for those of you coming in late, the good Captain was released in 1966 during the peak of the mid-60’s superhero craze.

Captain Action was a 12″ poseable action figure created by Stan Weston, who came up with the idea for GI Joe, and his gimmick was that instead of dressing in military gear, Captain Action could assume the identities of superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Green Hornet, and others.

PT CA 04Captain Action was out of production by 1970, but the character left such a mark on the collective psyche of children of the 1960’s that he has been revived many times in many different forms. Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn, the current stewards of Captain Action, have a lot planned to mark his fiftieth birthday.

With this being his golden anniversary, you can expect all kinds of really cool Captain Action projects ranging from audiobooks and comic books to trading cards and playing cards and several sizes of action figures.

Amid all of this, there are two terrific Kickstarter projects featuring Captain Action and we’ll tell you about those right now.

PT CA 02First up, Zica Toys hopes to launch a new line of 4″ action figures under the banner “The Adventure People.”  This project grew out of Zica’s plans to re-create the original Captain Action line in a smaller scale, but it has grown beyond that and has become an impressive stew of toy collector’s nostalgia.

The Adventure People name was originally used by Fisher-Price for a fondly remembered line of neat little action figures and accessories, roughly in the same scale as this new iteration.  For this project, Zica is reviving the Remco Toys brand name too.  Remco was a major player in the toy industry in the 1960’s and 70’s before fizzling out in the 80’s.  That’s not all the nostalgia packed into this Kickstarter project.

Offered up in this line of The Adventure People will be Captain Action, a new evil counterpart to the good Captain, Captain Evil, two color variants of Captain Action, a Henchman for Captain Evil, and more.

Aside from the Captain Action-inspired figures, this line will also include the 4″ debuts of Action Jackson, MEGO’s smaller competitor to the original GI Joe, and Jet Jungle, a South African sci-fi superhero who starred in a radio show and Sunday comic strip in the 1960s, and who was turned into a MEGO action figure in the 1970s. Jet Jungle is considered the rarest MEGO figure in the world, having never been marketed in the United States. The main four figures are Captain Action, Captain Evil, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle.

Captain Action, Captain Evil, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle

Captain Action, Captain Evil, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle

The Henchman

The Henchman

These Adventure People figures are offered up as rewards in the Kickstarter campaign. You can choose one each of the four main figures for $25 each (plus shipping).  Or you can snag all four for $100 (again, plus shipping), which will also get you the two exclusive color variant Captain Action figures.  In addition to that, just Wednesday morning, the Henchman figure was unveiled as an add-on for an additional $20. All the figures will come packaged in a collector-friendly box with exclusive artwork.

To keep costs down, all the figures in the first wave utilize the same basic body. This is a very impressive looking figure.  The articulation is amazing for such a tiny action figure and the figures come with multiple sets of hands and accessories.

The exclusive color variant Captain Action figures

The exclusive color variant Captain Action figures

Best yet, if this line is a success, a second wave will be offered including Captain Action’s nemesis, the blue-skinned alien with his brain exposed, Dr. Evil, plus Action Boy, the Captain’s sidekick, Lady Action, and the Silver Streak, Captain Action’s really cool amphibious vehicle.

The only way we’ll get all that cool stuff is if this project is a success.  I’ve already kicked in and I hope a whole bunch more people will because the campaign has a little more than a month left and it’s not quite a third of the way toward its $50,000 goal.  Zica has had several successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past and I’m really hoping this one comes to fruition. Check it out at the widget…

PT CA 07Next up, we have a Kickstarter project with a more modest goal and this is to create a set of Amazing Heroes trading cards.  Amazing Heroes was a successful Kickstarter project from Fresh Monkey Fiction of which the action figures created have just become available.  If you missed out, you can buy them HERE.

Amazing Heroes brought together a huge assortment of public domain superheroes from the Golden Age of comics as well as some notable independent characters which included Captain Action (and Mike Allred’s Madman).  These figures were done in the style of Mattel’s mid-1980’s Marvel Secret Wars line and now a trading card set featuring some of the impressive artwork created for the packaging of these cool action figures is being proposed.  You can check out this project at the widget below.

Until now, the only appearance of the Ultraman Captain Action set

Until now, the only appearance of the Ultraman Captain Action set

That’s barely the beginning of the 50th anniversary celebration for Captain Action. Medicom in Japan is producing a high end reproduction of the unreleased Ultraman Captain Action outfit created for the Japanese market in 1966.

Only one copy of this set was produced and that was given away as a prize for a contest from the Japanese Shonen magazine.  Nobody knows what happened to that one Ultraman costume, but photographs of it do exist and Medicom is replicating the original Ideal Toys 1966-style packaging.

A prototype of the Medicom Ultraman Captain Action set

A prototype of the Medicom Ultraman Captain Action set

2016 is also the 50th anniversary of Ultraman and this is a natural crossover collectible.  However, Medicom is a producer of high end collectibles and it’s likely that their Ultraman set will be available in very limited quantities in the United States and will probably retail for more than $100. It’s going to be highly sought-after by Captain Action and Ultraman collectors.

The folks at Captain Action Enterprises are promising some more affordable projects in the pipeline for this year and beyond too.

PT CA 10An animated TV series is in development and their new version of the rare Captain Action Kool Pops card game is due out soon. Rumor has it that we may finally see the long-awaited DC Comics costume sets announced this year.

We hope to hook up with CAE’s Ed Catto at Toy Fair next month so that maybe we can bring you a scoop or two about some of the other Captain Action 50th anniversary projects that are currently being kept under wraps.

2016 is shaping up to be a massive year for Captain Action, and PopCult will be here covering every aspect of the good Captain’s actions.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Learn something new every day. I never knew there had been an Ultraman costume for Captain Action. Of course, when I first had Cap, the thought of him even having a Japanese market likely wouldn’t’ve even occurred to me.

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