Media Release — Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) in Baltimore’s historic Camden Yards sports complex will host a signing on Saturday, August 15, 2009, from noon to 3:00 PM, to mark the debut of the brand new edition of the critically acclaimed Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure by Michael Eury. In addition to the author, Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn, the owners of Captain Action Enterprises, will be in attendance for the signing.
The event will also kick off a special exhibit covering the history of Captain Action, from the first action figures in the 1960s to the latest merchandise (and everything in between). The exhibit will run from August 15 through October 13, 2009.
Published by TwoMorrows Publishing, Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure chronicles the history of this quick-changing champion, including photos of virtually every Captain Action product ever released. With spotlights on Captain Action, his allies Action Boy and the Super Queens, and his arch enemy Dr. Evil, an examination of his comic book appearances, and more, nearly every facet of the character’s existence is put under the microscope. From the earliest concept stages to the multiple (and supposedly final) demises of the toy line, and from thriving collectibles market to the modern resurgence, no stone is left unturned. It is due in stores on or about August 10.
“When the first edition of Michael Eury’s superb book Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure was released, it was rightly referred to by some as a virtual `how to’ guide to doing a character-centric reference book. It reached longtime serious collectors, turned casual Captain Action fans into die-hard enthusiasts, and brought many new fans to the character,” said Melissa Bowersox, the museum’s Executive Vice-President. “This is the sort of project that GEM and our patrons are happy to support, and we’re also extremely happy to have the assistance of such passionate, creative fan-owners as Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto to help us present the history of this unique character.”
“We’re very happy to see Captain Action and Michael’s wonderful book given such a spectacular stage. Like many other collectors, Ed Catto and I really enjoy telling other enthusiasts about our favorite character, and this takes that enjoyment to the proverbial next level,” said Joe Ahearn, Partner of Captain Action Enterprises.
The original superhero action figure first arrived on the scene in 1966 with the ability to change into a fantastic range of other incredible heroes, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, and the Green Hornet. He took on their costumes and personas and fought the forces of evil in their places. Produced by the Ideal Toy Company and developed by Stan Weston, who had been involved in the genesis of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe just two years before, Captain Action enjoyed a fairly brief shelf life. The last of Ideal’s original production runs ended in 1968.
In that short time, though, the 12-inch action figure had also doubled for Aquaman, Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Steve Canyon, Sgt. Fury, and Tonto. He had a sidekick, Action Boy (who became Superboy, Aqualad and Robin the Boy Wonder) and a blue-skinned, bug-eyed alien arch foe named Dr. Evil (obviously years before Austin Powers fought another Dr. Evil). There were playsets, vehicles, a headquarters, flicker rings, playing cards, a Ben Cooper Halloween costume, and a fondly remembered five-issue series from DC Comics that included contributions from such legends as Wally Wood, Jim Shooter, and Gil Kane.
As the years followed, Captain Action became the purview of the collecting community. A thriving secondary market developed and kept interest in the character alive within its ranks. In 1998, thirty years after the original production run ended, Playing Mantis brought Captain Action back to the world of new toys. Although their tenure with the toy line would also end after two years, it greatly fanned the flames of interest in the character and the original collectibles, and led eventually to the formation of Captain Action Enterprises, the present day owners of the intellectual property.
The exhibit will conclude just after the Diamond Comic Distributors – Alliance Game Distributors Retailer Summit, which will be held at the BaltimoreConvention Center, immediately across the street from GEM, October 11-13, 2009.