Captain Action is Back!
Captain Action is a superhero that dresses up like other superheroes when the mission for, like, Superman is too dangerous. For example, if the villain has kryptonite, Superman would almost die, so Captain Action would take Superman’s place.
Captain Action toys came first in 1966. A lot of people wanted the action figures and liked them so much it became a comic book in 1968. The comics only had 5 issues, but the toy was still very popular.
In 2011, Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto made a 12” action figure of Captain Action. They brought back disguises for Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor. Dr. Evil is Captain Action’s arch enemy and there is an action figure of him now, too. You can dress him up as Loki or other villains.
I know Ed Catto from the New Jersey Comic Book shows put on by our friend John Paul. Ed is very nice to talk to there, because he knows a lot about Captain Action. And he gave me a great deal on Dr. Evil!
Ed Catto: I was gifted my first Captain Action figure and costume sets for Christmas back in ’68. Somehow Santa realized that I loved superheroes and comics. I probably learned about Captain Action from the advertising back then. At that time, there was a great TV spot and wonderful ads (illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger) in DC Comics. In fact, I worry I obsessed about the television ad, and I sang it so much that my mom can still sing the refrain!
We also loved Kool Pops, a frozen confection of the day. One of their boxtop promotions was for a card set featuring Captain Action. Needless to say, we enthusiastically collected the boxtops and sent away for the card set. When that card set finally came in the mail I was out of my mind! And we kept that card set in the drawing of the family living room coffee table for about 25 years.
I think this simple promotion helped solidify my passion for superheroes and Captain Action, but also nudged me along in my career. For a long time, I was focused on CPG (consumer packaged goods) promotional marketing.
Carl: What is it you like so much about Captain Action?
Ed: Well, back in those days, there weren’t a lot of licensed toys to collect or play with. And as the 1/6th scale GI Joe was kind of an informal “Gold Standard” back then, it was especially appealing that there was a toy line of 1/6th scale superheroes.
And Captain Action was a toy that sparked one’s imagination. As a toy and as a superhero, he really sparked your imagination.
I think I also liked the fact that the Captain Action toy line’s licensing stretched across several different companies, although I doubt I could have articulated that at the time. It was fascinating to think that I could create an adventure where two different heroes, like The Phantom and Aqualad, for example, could team-up. That was creatively enticing.
Carl: What gave you the idea to bring him back?
Ed: Joe Ahearn, a fellow collector, had the idea to bring Captain Action back and asked me if I wanted to collaborate with him. I said “Sure!”, on the condition that we first build him as a property in comics and collectibles before re-focusing on the figures and toys. We did it that way and have been enjoying great success. We’ve now been working hard on Captain Action for several years and are having so much fun!
Carl: How many Captain Action toys did you make?
Ed: We’ve made so many Captain Action toys. For the 1/6th scale line, we’ve created several versions of Captain Action and his main villain, Dr. Evil, as well as costume sets for Spider-Man, Loki, Thor, Capt. America, Hawkeye, Wolverine and Iron Man. Last year we released a 1/6th scale Lady Action too.
Beyond that, we’ve created many Captain Action toys in a variety of formats – Moebius Model Kits, Cast-A-Way Mego style figures, Medicom’s Be@rbricks, CKRT Lab Chunky Vinyl figures…the list goes on and on!
Carl: Did you make a new Action Boy action figure yet?
Ed: We have not made an Action Boy figure yet, but we’re in discussions with Go Hero/Executive Replicas to develop a 1/6th scale Action Boy.
And coincidentally, this morning I just reviewed a nice piece of Action Boy artwork for our upcoming card set. This particular piece shows AB in his space uniform!
Carl: What are all the Captain Action things that you have brought back or made?
Ed: Well, beyond the list above, we’d made comics, adventure/pulp style thrillers, coffee table books, card sets, T-shirts, ID cases, sizzle reels for the upcoming Animated Series, 16” Fashion Dolls, coloring books, coffee mugs…what am I missing? We’ve enjoyed creating so many fantastic items.
Carl: What are all the things you can do if you join the Captain Action club?
Ed: Round2 Started the Captain Action club, but due to layoffs in their organization, they had to shut it down. Once we get up and running with merchandise from the animated series, I’m hopeful we can re-launch the Collectors Club!
Carl: We’re in the middle of reading the original Captain Action comics. We’re about to read #5. What should we read when we’re done with #5?
Ed: Carl, there’s so much more to read after that.
I’d suggest you get both Moonstone Captain Action series, (volume 1 and #2- also called “Season 2”) the Lady Action Special, a one-shot comic and the Phantom/Captain Action limited series. Then Dynamite published the very cool Codename: Action series (it’s a “Captain Action: Year One” concept) and our zany Captain Action Cat series.
All the comics are available via back issue dealer and online at ComiXology. Our pulp-style thrillers are from Airship 27 (right now we have two for Captain Action and one for Lady Action) and of course, this year’s special 45th edition of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide with Captain Action on the cover.
Overstreet’s Free Comic Book Day Comic for this year also featured Captain Action on the cover –and has a fantastic Captain Action feature article within too. So that should definitely be on your list, Carl!
Thank you for letting me interview you, Ed Catto!