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SECRET ORIGINS OF CAPTAIN ACTION - PART 2 of 6
The AMAZING NINE-IN-ONE SUPERHERO!

Inspired by the success of Barbie and G.I. Joe, Ideal decided to make their OWN multi-accessory hero toy. When it came time to commission a series of
illustrations for the Captain Action boxes, Ideal turned to a comic veteran, the legendary Murphy Anderson. Stipulating that his forte was line work, .Anderson did a Hawkman painting for Ideal, which he judged to be "inadequate." Ha! Can you imagine? Anderson told Ideal, “I really don’t think I’m the person you’re looking for.” Pictured right is Anderson’s recreation of his “inadequate” Hawkman painting -- isn't it just "awful"?

Four months after Anderson painted Hawkman, he finally got another call from Ideal. The company had decided to go with LINE ART instead of paintings, and they’d settled on Anderson as the artist they wanted! An excellent decision on their part, seeing as how the legendary artist managed to complete outstanding box artwork for Cap’s identities as Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon and the Phantom -- in just a single month’s time! And this was in addition to Anderson’s regular comic book work.

Designs for the packages featuring Captain America and Sgt. Fury were cannibalized from Jack Kirby’s comic book drawings, and the Steve Canyon package art was originally from a strip by Canyon’s creator, Milton Caniff.

Below is an early promo piece for Cap, a flyer that was actually completed BEFORE the doll was done! It show a series of Captain Action prototypes which actually had hands taken from a G.I. Joe, and the heads of many of the figures were actually DRAWINGS. See for yourself… here’s the flyer:
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Below is a two-page spread from the mini-comic book that was included with Captain Action figure. In it, a boy explains to his parents how the basic Cap figure can change into any one of NINE different heroes through the use of masks, colorful costumes and ACCESSORIES...
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OK reader, you knew it was coming, and now it's TIME...
DIAL B for BLOG presents...
THE SECRET ORIGINS of EVERY
CAPTAIN ACTION IDENTITY!
CAPTAIN ACTION as SUPERMAN!
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.SUPERMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Action Comics #1, June 1938 (cover pictured right).

SECRET ORIGIN: Baby Kal-El was rocketed from the dying planet Krypton to Earth, where our yellow sun gave him powers and abilities far beytond those of mortal men.

REAL ORIGIN: Created by Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and Joe Shuster (1914-1992), two Jewish teenagers who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joe Shuster was born in Canada!)

FUN FACT: Never mind Jesus -- was Superman originally a metaphor for Judiasm? Like baby Moses set adrift down the river, Superman's parents sent him to Earth to escape destruction. He arrived in a foreign world, his entire race having been wiped out in a holocaust-like disaster. Yet disguised behind Clark Kent, his bookish alter ego, hid a super-powerful hero.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Siegel's father, Mitchell, a hatmaker, was murdered one night in his haberdashery when Jerry was just a teenager. His murderer was never brought to justice. This tragedy, more than anything else, probably inspired Jerry Siegel to create his super champion of justice: SUPERMAN.

BELOW: The Man of Steel by Curt Swan
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CAPTAIN ACTION as BATMAN!
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.The BATMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Detective Comics #27, May 1939.

SECRET ORIGIN: After young Bruce Wayne sees his parents murdered in cold blood, he vows to dedicate his life and inheritance to fighting crime as the mysterious Batman.

REAL ORIGIN: Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. "The Bat-Man" was inspired by Douglas Fairbanks filmic portrayal of Zorro, as well as Mary Rinehart's mysterious villain The Bat.

FUN FACTS: Bob Kane hogged all the credit for creating Batman, but it was Bill Finger who suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a domino mask, a cape instead of wings, adding gloves, and chucking bright red sections of the original costume for a gray/black color scheme that would echo that worn by the Phantom, complete with blank eyeslits in the cowl. Finger also created Alfred, Catwoman, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, and invented the names Bruce Wayne, Robin and Gotham City. So what did Kane do again? Uh...

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Bob Kane's birth name was Robert Kahn. He legally changed his surname to "Kane" when he was just 18 years old! Kane attended the same High School as Bill Finger. Did Finger write Kane's term papers for him in high school? Did Kane then take credit for getting A's on them? No -- they didn't really know each other back then. But if they had...

BELOW: The Dynamic Duo by Infantino/Anderson
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CAPTAIN ACTION as AQUAMAN!
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.AQUAMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE:
More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941). Splash page (Ha! Get it? Splash!) from that issue seen right.

SECRET ORIGIN: Aquaman is Arthur Curry, the son of Tom Curry, a human lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, an outcast from Atlantis.

REAL ORIGIN: Created by artist Paul Norris and famed DC comics editor Mort Weisinger.

FUN FACT: Aqua-creator Norris doesn't always like the way his character is portrayed. "For the most part," Norris says, "he's been portrayed pretty well. But some of the comic book writers have made him a little too rough and violent for me."

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: According to Paul Norris, "I decided to color Aquaman green and orange, and the editors really liked that. He's worn green and orange almost the whole time he's been around, and I still get paid royalties for every time they use those colors with him!"

BELOW: Aquaman cover bullet by Murphy Anderson
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CAPTAIN ACTION as CAPTAIN AMERICA!
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.CAPTAIN AMERICA

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Captain America #1 (March 1941)

SECRET ORIGIN: Army Private Steve Rogers is given a special treatment that turns him into a "super soldier" named Captain America.

REAL ORIGIN: Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby during World War II to represent the personification of American patriotism, Cap survived the war after being frozen in suspended animation and later defrosted by the Fantastic Four's Human Torch.

FUN FACT: At the end of his original run, in 1949, the title of Cap's book was changed to "Captain America's Weird Tales." Spooky! With issue #74, the title ceased publication.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Captain America's junior partner, Bucky Barnes, is no relation to baseball player Bucky Dent!


BELOW: Cap and friend by Kirby
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CAPTAIN ACTION as SGT. FURY!
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.SGT. FURY

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963), cover shown right.

SECRET ORIGIN: The cigar-chomping Nick Fury became leader of an elite army unit during World War II.

REAL ORIGIN: Looking for a title to compete with DC's successful war books, veteran Jack Kirby drew on his own real wartime experiences to create the character, together with Stan Lee.

FUN FACT: By August 1965, WWII had been over for two decades, so, in Strange Tales #135, soldier Sgt. Fury was transformed into superspy Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D -- a fictional government agency.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: I, Robby Reed, creator of this website and author of this article, never liked Sgt. Fury. In fact, I don't own a single one of the 167 issues of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!


BELOW: Art used on the Capt. Action package, Fury by Kirby
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CLICK HERE FOR PART THREE!

SECRET ORIGINS OF CAPTAIN ACTION PART THREE
The PHANTOM! • STEVE CANYON! • FLASH GORDON! • The LONE RANGER!


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