The TOP 13 CAPTAIN ACTION Sets and Collectibles — RANKED

TOYHEM! Michael Eury, the pre-eminent authority on the classic ’60s action figure, goes out on a well-considered limb…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan

UPDATED 12/11/22: Hey, it’s a fave from the TOYHEM vaults! Dig this (slightly updated) 2019 piece by Michael Eury. Right on. — Dan

A week ago, we brought you RetroFan and Back Issue! magazine editor Michael Eury’s recollection of getting his first Captain Action back in the mid-’60s. It’s a charming, heartwarming tale, so if you’d like a smile, click here.

But there’s more to it. See, Michael is probably the world’s foremost authority on the adventurous Captain, seeing as he literally wrote the book on him: Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure, which, like the two aforementioned mags, was published by TwoMorrows. (It’s out of print, but do yourself a favor and track down a copy — just be prepared to pony up.)

Anyway, with TOYHEM! still in full swing, it only made sense to put poor Michael on the spot and ask him to rank the TOP 13 CAPTAIN ACTION SETS AND COLLECTIBLES — and he agreed to dive in.

So here’s an argument starter (or ender, I suppose) for you CA mega-fans.

Dig it.


Captain Action: The original super-hero action figure. The mysterious man of many identities. My favorite childhood toy (sorry, View-Master).

Ideal Toys’ super-hero alternative to Hasbro’s G.I. Joe may have had a relatively short product life — roughly three years, starting in 1966 — but nostalgia and the dedication of our pals at Captain Action Enterprises have continued to engender fan and consumer interest in this imaginative boys’ “doll.”

As the guy who wrote the book on the subject — twice (two editions of Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure, from TwoMorrows Publishing, both out of print) — I’ve been asked to select the best of the good captain’s product line. I’ll limit this to the original material produced by Ideal Toys and licensors.

Let the action begin!

13. Flasher Rings. Flickering from Captain Action to another super-hero, these rings were included in second issue products and are collectible in their own right.

12. DC Comics’ Captain Action #1. Jim Shooter, Wally Wood and Cap pushing aside Superman! (The series has been reprinted by IDW.)

11. Buck Rogers Uniform for Captain Action. It looks nothing like any screen or comic version of Buck I’ve ever seen, but its silver space suit and clip-on jet packs make this a must-have space collectible!

10. Superboy Uniform for Action Boy. Sure, they should’ve put Krypto with him (instead of with Captain Action’s Superman and Super Queens’ Supergirl), but the wild accessories, including the Telepathic Thought Scrambler, make this set super-special.

9. Ben Cooper Captain Action Halloween Costume. Uber-rare (I’ve only seen it in photos), but a testament to our hero’s potential.

8. Spider-Man Uniform for Captain Action. Spidey action figures may be ubiquitous today, but this was one of the first!

7. Green Hornet Uniform for Captain Action. A gorgeous ensemble, with costuming and accessories that look like miniature versions of items from Van Williams’ wardrobe.

6. Captain Action Vinyl Headquarters. This one rises to the top of the various playsets produced, and doubles as a carrying case for Captain Action and his uniforms.

From Michael’s book

5. Silver Streak. Hey, G.I. Joe needed separate vehicles to travel on land and on sea!

4. Inter-Spacial Directional Communicator. One of the six Captain Action accessory packs, harkening back to the bubble-helmeted Space Race imagery we grew up with.

3. Super Queens Mera. Was it for girls, or for boys? Hardly anyone saw this rarity on the shelves, but of the four Super Queens dolls, it’s my fave for its then-risky move of merchandising outside of DC’s Trinity.

2. Dr. Evil With His Disguises and Weapons (“Lab Kit”). The second-issue Dr. Evil, with an evil scientist’s lab coat, masks, and the devilish Hypnotic Eye!

1. Robin Uniform for Action Boy. From its Dick Sprang-ish Boy Wonder mask to its fantastic accessories, including a Bat Grenade and bat-shaped Batarang launcher, this is the feather in Ideal’s cap! Holy Grail, Batman! (NOTE from Dan: This made The Overstreet Price Guide to Batman’s list of the TOP 13 MOST VALUABLE BATMAN TOYS — and so did other CA items. Click here to check that out.)

Michael Eury is the editor-in-chief of the Eisner Award-winning Back Issue! magazine and RetroFan magazine, both from TwoMorrows. He has written numerous books on comics and pop-culture history, and is a former DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics editor.


— The Complete TOYHEM! Index of Features and Columns. Click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I remember not only having a Captain Action action figure with the removable costume, gun and knife, etc., but I also had that DC Comics’ Captain Action #1 and wish I still had it. I’ll have to keep my eyes out for the IDW reprint.

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  2. Great list! I own a good chunk of the Robin uniform, but man, I LOVE that box. It’s just gorgeous!

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  3. Superman/Superboys costume looks great with Navy Blue. The should do that more often

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  4. I never understood why Robin was the only costume that included gloves, Most of the costumes didn’t look right without gloves if that was a part of their costume, bb

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  5. Where is Dr Evil’s Sanctuary?

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  6. I have a Montgomery Wards Captain Action playset for sale. Very rare.

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  7. Oh my gosh! I forgot about the flasher rings!

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  8. Interesting list, but the Batman outfit was pretty cool and is the most sought after.

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