Captain Action 1966 Comic Ad
Lately, I’ve been thinking more deeply about the history of action figures, and the GI Joe line’s place in it. Of course, Joe was technically the first of what came to be known as action figures, although toy soldiers and dolls have been around for centuries. Captain Action was an early attempt by another toy maker (Ideal) to build on the twelve inch razor and blades format. Although Captain Action is a bit of a strange conceit when you try to reason out a mythos, as a toy it’s pretty brilliant. Adding comic book/strip, pulp and other heroes to the extra gear concept seems like a natural recipe for success.
However, the good Captain didn’t initially last long on shelves. He’s gathered quite a following over the decades, and has been relaunched twice. The story goes that kids didn’t have as much interest in changing out costumes to make different characters. In just a few years, Mego would have a huge hit with a smaller scale of cloth costumed super heroes, without the high concept of a single character changing outfits/disguises.
I found this ad in an issue of DC’s original Metamorpho comic. Fitting, that.