CAPTAIN ACTION WEEK: 13th Dimension columnist JIM BEARD delves into the series’ midpoint — and brings you the origin of Dr. Evil!

Welcome to CAPTAIN ACTION WEEK! This week, IDW is releasing the hardcover Captain Action Classic Collection, which comprises DC’s short-lived, cult fave 1960s comic-book series based on the beloved Ideal toy line. Given this august occasion, we’ve gathered an all-star crew of CA experts and fans to bring you an issue-by-issue breakdown of the series, sort of an unofficial commentary track to the book. Not just that, we’ll have other Captain Action material, both new and from the vaults. Click here for our complete INDEX of features. You will most certainly be glad you did. Right on. — Dan


By this point in these articles, you’re probably wondering how someone like me was fortunate to be placed in the middle of such luminaries as Ed Catto, Michael Eury, Paul Kupperberg, and Mark Waid — like, literally in the middle… Issue 3 of 5! — but I guess when it comes to Captain Action I’ve always been pretty lucky.

Though I didn’t have any CA stuff as a kid, I was lucky enough to know someone who did. Without him I may not have known about the toy until I was an adult.

One day long ago while in a comic shop in a state not my own, I was lucky to find all five issues of DC’s Captain Action comics, all of them in near-mint condition and just $2 each. Ten bucks, done and done.

I was lucky to be on the ground floor for Praying Mantis’ CA revival.

I was also lucky to be on the ground floor for Round 2’s CA revival.

Perhaps best of all, I was extremely lucky to have written the very first Captain Action prose novels ever, three in all, from 2012 to 2017. Bucket list stuff, I can assure you.

But hey, enough about me! You’re here for the continuing adventures of Clive Arno! Let’s see if I’m lucky enough to get this right!


1. I VOW That’s One Amazing Cover! And it really is, isn’t it? Such a classic trope and done up in fine dramatic style by Gil Kane and Dick Giordano. Funny thing — I never noticed it before but it looks like that crooked telephone pole is a sword dangling from the wounded Action Boy’s hand…

2. I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet. What a way to start the story, with San Francisco suffering a massive earthquake. That little child crying over the death of his mother? Yikes. I guess the Silver Age really was over by then.

3. Tripping the Light Fiendish. Dr. Tracy’s hellish journey to becoming Dr. Evil kicks off with a stunning Ditko-esque “trip” and coalesces into a weird shot of him in his transmogrified nude, sexless blue form — with exposed brain, of course. One of the most dynamic villain origin sequences ever.

4. Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime? I’m intrigued by writer Kane’s attempt to rid the chronicles of the bulk of the magic coins and only allow CA a few stragglers to use. But what stragglers! Zeus! Hercules! Heimdall! Mercury! Could have been worse, I suppose; he might’ve been left with only Pan and Aphrodite, right?

5. Hello, New West Coast! My West Coast! About 10 years before Lex Luthor even thought of it, Dr. Evil coceived an incredible scheme to alter Northern California into a “breeding ground” for a “new race.” Funny, I thought California was already weird.

6. Captain Action vs. the River. Pages 12 and 13 sport such great illustrations of CA and Action Boy’s Herculean efforts to change the course of a mighty river — with artists Kane and Wally Wood on your side, who needs Superman?

7. Evil Has a Heart. While CA saving Action Boy from the landslide makes for an exciting scene, it’s Evil’s lingering compassion for his once-grandson that really stands out here.

8. What a Piece of Work is Man… Kane offers up a blistering treatise against humanity through the lips of Dr. Evil. Just read that diatribe on Page 17 and try not to feel chilled to the bone.

9. Machine Works. Jack Kirby was known for his unique designs for machinery, but I think the Kane device on Page 19 is nearly worthy of the King’s own flights of fantastical technology.

10. The Punch He Saw Coming. Captain Action’s brutal beatdown on Dr. Evil over Pages 21-23 is not only an artistic feat, I actually feel every one of those blows every time I look at it. Nobody could draw a punched person like Kane!

11. Left Holding the Mask. That last page… eerie, creepy, a promise of things to come, but beyond that, it’s a real tearjerker to see Carl’s unconditional love for the man who was once his grandfather. ’Nuff said.

12. Action Line. This issue finally delivers some fan reactions to the first two issues, as well as a cool missive from the writer-artist himself. Kane seemed to be enthused about taking over the book — so sorry it would be too short a season for him.

13. Enjoy! Enjoy! Bonus points to DC for including that wonky two-page spread of Sam Viviano’s visit to the DC office and his meeting with some greats of the industry… and he got a furshlugginer original page of art from Joe Kubert’s Viking Prince!



— The Complete CAPTAIN ACTION WEEK INDEX of Features. Click here.


JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases: a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting, his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding WorldRunning Home to Shadows about Dark Shadows, and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season OneBiff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. I don’t think anybody has mentioned it yet, but a lot of Dr Evil’s harangues in issues 3 and 4 were inspired by GB Shaw’s “Man and Superman.” I wrote an article about Captain Actuon for the late, great Comic Book Marketplace back in 2000. It took a while, but it’s great to see the Cap
    finally getting his due!

    Post a Reply
  2. Issue 3 was mostly a big downer for me. They abruptly ended all reference to the larger DCU, they vastly down-powered Cap, they turned AB into a lesser version of Kid Flash, and they totally ditched Wally Wood.

    I got the idea that they were deliberately walking back what they’d established in the first two issues, to keep Cap from outshining the Big Blue Boyscout.

    Dr. Evil was a good replacement for Krellik, but overall — meh.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: