Yeah, this one's never gonna be reprinted.
Captain Action, the superhero action figure from Ideal, was a cross-licensing bonanza the likes of which we will never see again. In 1966, with America's youth in the grip of a superhero frenzy inspired by the Batman TV series, Ideal made arrangements with National Periodical Publications (aka DC Comics), Marvel Comics Group, King Features Syndicate, The Wrather Corporation, and Field Enterprises to use characters from all of these companies as part of Captain Action's marketing and accessories. With Ideal's own Captain Action doll playing point, nine additional costumes sold separately gave boys and girls (but mostly boys) the option of changing the Captain into heroes from DC (Superman, Batman, Aquaman), Marvel (Captain America, Sgt. Fury), King (The Phantom, Flash Gordon), Wrather (The Lone Ranger), or Field (Steve Canyon).
The line was initially successful enough to justify expansion. Captain Action gained a young partner, Action Boy, who was capable of becoming teen DC heroes Superboy, Aqualad, or Robin the Boy Wonder. He gained an adversary, Dr. Evil, though Ideal bypassed the obvious opportunity of marketing villainous alter egos for Dr. Evil (no Lex Luthor, Red Skull, or Ming the Merciless, dagnabit). DC Comics returned the favor by licensing Captain Action for a short but magnificent comic book series.
In '67, Ideal added four new identities for Captain Action: Marvel's Spider-Man, The Lone Ranger's partner Tonto, the radio and TV hero The Green Hornet, and comics' very first science-fantasy hero, Buck Rogers, while decommissioning Sgt. Fury. And Ideal produced this goofy giveaway comic book to promote the revamped line.
In theory, it's possible that DC's five-issue Captain Action series could be reprinted someday, though it would require an improbable agreement between DC (Superman appears in the first issue) and Captain Action Enterprises, the entity that now holds the rights to our Captain. I hope so; they're good comics, and they're worth preserving. This giveaway? Maybe not quite as good, and the licensing quagmire it represents will likely consign it exclusively and permanently to the bargain bin of memory.
This material is copyright the respective owners, of which there are many. Its appearance here is intended as fair use. Now, let's pretend. It's 1967. I'm seven years old. And I have a superhero doll who put the action into action figure. Evildoers beware!
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