PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The PopCult Toybox: Catching up with Captain Action

The 4.5" Captain, from Fresh Monkey Fiction
The 4.5″ Captain, from Fresh Monkey Fiction

While we’ve been wallowing in the wonderfulness of JoeLanta and GI Joe for more than the last month, there have been significant developments in the world of PopCult’s other most-favored action figure, Captain Action.

Work is progressing on their next four costume sets. Superman, Batman, Brainiac and The Joker are tentatively scheduled for December of this year. Meanwhile the folks at Captain Action Enterprises and Round 2 Corp. are keeping their Marvel Comics plans close to their vests. The animated Captain Action pilot is still in production, and Ed and Joe are sure to be pitching it to prospective broadcast outlets all year.

While all that is happening, the Captain Action brand is invading three new scales of collectible figures, and we have a new pulp-style novel and a cool comic book crossover with our buddy, Art Baltazar.

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Img_9342bWe are happy this week to bring you a detailed advance look at the two new Captain Action uniform sets featuring Iron Man and Wolverine, plus the now-complete “build-a-costume” Hawkeye set. Iron Man and Wolverine will be available in about two weeks in comic book stores and hobby shops, and can be pre-ordered online.

Img_9334If you haven’t been reading PopCult regularly since 2005, you’ll need to know that Captain Action is a 12″ action figure, originally sold in 1966, who can change into other superheroes through the use of rubber masks and outfits. Originally the good Captain could change into a variety of Marvel and DC characters, along with a handful of comic strip heroes and the like. The line last three or four years during the superhero boom of the 60s, and was revived in 1999, with a faithful reproduction of the figure. With no access to Marvel or DC characters, the revival quickly went South.

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Pulp Captain Action and New Space: 1999

The PopCult Bookshelf 

Captain Action-Riddle of the Glowing Men
by Jim Beard
Airship 27 Hangar
ISBN 9780615671383
Available from Createspace.com

“Captain Action-Riddle of the Glowing Men” is a nostalgic bit of manna from heaven. First of all, it stars Captain Action, the classic Super-hero action figure from the 1960s. Second, it’s a pulp novel, a throwback to the days of The Shadow and Doc Savage. Third, it’s a briskly-paced cold war-style spy thriller, packed with action and clever dialogue.

Jim Beard has crafted a tale that combines elements of action-packed movie serials with James Bond-style espionage and super-hero action and the end result is a fun short novel that entertains throughout and would make a hell of a movie. Beard tells this tale with a style that pays tribute to the almost B-movie qualities of the classic pulp novels, only with the pithy dialogue of a modern action movie and more than a few in-jokes that pay tribute to Captain Action’s origins as a classic action figure who could change into other super heroes with rubber masks and outfits.

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The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day Ten: Captain Action

The PopCulteer
December 14, 2012 

You didn’t think I was gonna skip the good Captain in my gift guide, did you?

Longtime readers of PopCult know that I’m a huge fan of the 1960s classic action figure, Captain Action. His gimmick was, that with costumes and rubber masks (each sold separately), he could turn into other heroes, like Superman, spider-man, Batman, Captain America and more.

Earlier this year I raved about a new revival of the Captain from Round 2 Corp. and Forever Fun, with an all-new head and body sculpt, and a license to produce outfits based on Silver Age Marvel Comics characters.

A new batch of Captain Action products has hit stores just in time for Christmas, and we’re going to rip into these presents early to tell you about them.

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Burgers, Big Daddy and Captain Action

The PopCulteer
October 12, 2012  

It’s a mixed bag of coolness this week, so let’s dive in, shall we?

Rockin’ Robin’s First Anniversary

One year ago, Rockin Robin’s Burgers and Shakes opened in Clendenin, and they’ve been a catering presence supporting the local music scene ever since. Saturday they’re putting on all-day outdoor show with music and contests, and with a beautiful Fall day predicted by the Mational Weather Service, it should be one of the highlights of a very cool weekend.

A Hot Dog Eating Contest kicks things off at Noon, while a Costume Contest will be judged at 5 PM. At 3 PM there will be a Pumpkin carving Contest.

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Captain Action’s Triumphant Return

The PopCulteer
April 6, 2012

This week your PopCulteer is going to return to his roots a bit. Back in the late 1990s I wrote a monthly action figure column for Toy Trader Magazine. It was a load of fun, and from what I’m told, it was pretty influential. Ii would present the latest toy industry news, rag on cheesy knockoffs and present detailed reviews of the latest action figures

When Toy Trader was bought up and shut down by Toy Shop (we were eating into their circulation, but their parent company had deeper pockets), I continued to write for Mastercollector.com for a while, but eventually I moved on to other assignments (like PopCult and Radio Free Charleston).

However, I never left the hobby. I still collect toys, in particular 1/6 scale action figures. As long-time readers of PopCult know, one of my favorites is Captain Action. Originally released in the 1960s, Captain Action was a cool crime-fighter with a great gimmick–he could change into other characters such as Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Captain America and others (uniform sets sold separately).

Back in the first month of PopCult, I wrote about Captain Action, and my role as a cheerleader for the short-lived 1999 revival. More recently, I’ve written about the good Captain’s return to comic books, his stint as an 8-inch-tall MEGO-style action figure, and his pending return as a full-sized 1/6 scale hero, complete with cool uniform sets.

Now I’ve got my hands on the first releases in this revived line. These are the basic sets that are just now showing up at Toys R Us. More deluxe sets are on sale in comic book stores and hobby shops, and we’ll list some mail-order sources for you at the end of this piece. This week PopCult is going to play with toys.

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Cool Comics (And Toys): Captain Action

Striking cover art from Mark Wheatley

This week’s cool comic is not only a great retro superhero/spy epic, but it’s also a great excuse to talk about one of my favorite childhood toys, which I’ve been doing in this blog since the early days over five years ago.

The Captain Action Winter Special, from Moonstone , includes three great comic adventures and one cool prose team up.

First up is a Captain Action “Classified” tale called “White Lies,” set in the 1960s when Captain Action was not only engaging in espionage during the Cold War, but was also clandestinely fighting the alien menace known as “The Red Crawl.”

This story is a pure spy adventure, with a few James Bondish sci-fi trappings. Written by Kenova’s own man of adventure, Beau Smith, this is a brisk tale of the original Captain Action as he deals with a double-dealing femme fatale, a hulking Russian spy and an even hulkinger Yeti while trying to recover “Olmstead’s Orb,” a jewel with occult powers.

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Sunday Evening Videos: Captain Action

All right, I’ll admit it. I’m in the tank for Captain Action. I know it’s media bias, but I’m going to take any chance I can to write about one of my favorite childhood toys, especially now that he’s coming back. I’ll put in links to Captain Action Enterprises, and Moonstone Comics.  And you know I’ll send you over to Cast Away Toys,  where they’re bringing the good Captain back as  MEGO-style action figure.  I’ll even write about the new poster from comics legend Murphy Anderson. So, since there are some videos floating around, let’s look at Captain Action, starting with the very first commercial from the 1960s:


Cool, huh? Well, after the jump, you can see what Captain Action is up to these days, in the midst of his big revival!

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Cool Thing Of The Week: Captain Action Model



When I was a kid, my favorite action figure was Captain Action. He was a GI Joe-sized toy figure that could be dressed as other superheroes like Superman, Spider-man, Batman, Green Hornet, Captain America, and many others. Our cool thing of the week this week is an upcoming reproduction of the hard-to-find Aurora Model Kit of the Captain, which you can read about here.

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Cool Toy Of The Week: Captain Action

In observance of our anniversary week here at PopCult, our pick for Cool Toy Of The Week is one of my favorites from my childhood. In fact, I wrote about Captain Action and his nemesis, Dr. Evil, last year right here and here. The reason I’m picking Captain Action again is because Robby Reed, over at Dial “B” For Blog, is in the midst of a six-part series of articles on the good Captain, and I can just link to it, and let him do all the work. Read the first installment here, the second here, and then check back to his blog every day for the next four parts!