Big Jim always seems like such a laughable concept from the modern perspective. Mattel’s answer to GI Joe was a man’s man, who spent most of his time without his shirt, flexing his muscles and hanging out in a camper with fellow musclebound shirtless men. Let’s not beat around the bush, it seems homoerotic these days. Of course, in the 1970′s it was anything but. Yes, a figure who’s entire premise was that he was a muscular guy who liked to workout was a thing. It was a different time. These figures even feature “BODY ACTION” which is equally absurd sounding.
All joking aside, Big Jim was quite a hit. Eventually Jim shed some of his “manly” image, going for more of an action/adventure/spy theme. A lot of those sets are pretty cool. Especially in comparison to the lumberjack and short shorts sets that predated it. This ad from the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog in 1974 shows some of the transformation. This is Jim in the period before he was with the Big Jim P.A.C.K., but there was already an increased emphasis on adventure.
Jim was an odd bird, in that he was 9 1/2 inches tall. Thus making him a competitor to both Mego and GI Joe, sort of splitting the difference. Big Jim was a much bigger star internationally than he was here in the US, although he sold nicely in the states as well. Eventually a lot of Big Jim stuff would be recycled for the launch of Masters of the Universe in the early 1980′s. Big Jim sort of came back to life in Mattel’s ill-fated Retro Action line. Sadly Jim himself did not make an appearance.
It’s an idea so simple, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already. Alice Cooper has teamed up with Tom Sheppard (Guy behind Annoying Orange) and a litany of talented comic book artists and writers to come up with a horror anthology comic book series in the same vein as the old E.C. Tales From The Crypt (and it’s numerous spinoffs and clones) called Uncle Alice Presents… They’ve decided to head to Kickstarter to get it done and are currently looking to raise around $200,000 for the first 12 issues.
As a Kickstarter project, that’s first, an ambitious goal, but it’s also an admirable one because it will see the production of a total of 12 comics. Alice Cooper is no stranger to comics, he even managed to have a Marvel comic back in the day. Cooper has always been very intelligent about parlaying his stardom into a constant pop culture presence. He spent enough time with Vincent Price to really have the horror chops as well and of course, if you’ve ever heard his nighttime radio talkshow, you know he can be very engaging on a wide variety of topics.
However, Tom and Alice make no bones about it, they really want to turn this into a TV show. Personally, I think that would be incredible. There’s a hilarious little video accompanying their Kickstarter Page that sort of gives you an idea of how Alice would work as a host.
It’s a brilliant concept and the TV show is definitely more enticing than the comic. Alice’s personality is just such a natural fit for a show like this and as Cooper gets older, he certainly really starts to look the part of a creepy horror host even more. However, it all has to come one step at a time. The Kickstarter does have stretch goals of filming a pilot (but it’s around $750,000) to pitch to networks. Personally I think if they can get the comic going, then there’s potential to pitch it a network without fans having to fund the filming of the show. Either way, I love Alice Cooper, so I couldn’t not plug this project in hopes that someday this gets made.
Check out the Official Uncle Alice Presents Kickstarter, watch the video, join the cause and then tell them Infinite Hollywood sent ya!
It’s strange, I recall being into Hot Wheels for a very brief period as a kid. I liked the color changing cars and of course, anything that was superhero related. Even when I was into toy cars, I was mostly imagining storylines where the characters were more important than the cars themselves. No wonder action figures soon became the center of my imagination universe.
Hot Wheels have remained popular though, and are perhaps more collectible than ever. The somewhat infamous “Hot Wheels guys” have sort of become the bane of existence for a lot of other toy collectors. Hot Wheels collectors have a bad reputation for pillaging the toy aisles early in the morning, wrecking the shelves and perhaps worst of all, buying up all the rare action figures to flip to feed their toy car addiction. My run-ins with Hot Wheels collectors hasn’t been very good historically, either. However I do know that some of the guys are probably not as bad as the nutcases I’ve seen around here.
Even if other toy collectors may not get along with the Hot Wheels guys, we probably all enjoyed the race tracks. This Classic Comic Ad from the late 1960′s shows one of the earlier tracks. It’s a pretty elaborate set and certainly looks better than the Hot Wheels tracks I had as a kid. Those things never wanted to plug in and would constantly come apart. Loop-to-loops and such were impossible. Here’s to the simpler time, when we were all just playing with toys and not warring factions of collectors!
Captain Action #4
Story by Gil Kane
Art by Gil Kane
We’re now almost done with the DC comics Captain Action run and Gil Kane is now completely in charge. Considering how much better things got once Kane got control, that’s probably not a bad thing. Still, I have to wonder how much the writing was on the wall at this point. DC obviously was beginning to care less and less about Captain Action and even Ideal was about to pull the plug on the toys.
The comic starts off detailing where Dr. Evil disappeared to in the climax of the last issue. He ends up in some world between worlds again, only this time he discovers an alien race that happens to look just like him. They are super advanced, but apparently are on the end of their life cycle. They want to just disappear and die off, but Dr. Evil will have none of it.
Instead he convinces them that the Earth would make a suitable planet for them to inhabit and take over. It doesn’t really make a ton of sense, but he manages to whip them up into a frenzy. Once he succeeds in that, he decides to go after Captain Action and distract him so the invasion can begin. He tries to enter Captain Action’s mind but the Captain is too strong… So he enters Carl’s mind, because Carl only exists to get Captain Action in trouble.
With Carl under his spell, he gets him to unleash some sort of monsters. This isn’t very clearly defined, but somehow a device of Captain Action’s is able to unleash these monsters. Carl snaps out of the trance, just in time to team up with Pop to face the evil monsters.
Captain Action and Action Boy manage to defeat the monsters rather easily. Dr. Evil isn’t happy that his plan didn’t work. Captain Action isn’t happy that his sidekick son is useless.
Captain Action #3
Story by Gil Kane
Art by Gil Kane & Wally Wood
And like that, Jim Shooter’s run on Captain Action comes to an end. Amazingly, it’s for the better, as issue #3 of Captain Action is immediately a million times better than the first two issues. While there are some problems with this comic, it’s a stronger overall story and concept. It also greatly reflects a lot of the changes that were going on in the era.
We start off with Captain Action in his regular form, working with son Carl on extracting the power from the magic coins. Incredibly, Professor Arno believes that he can use the powers not just for himself, but the good of all mankind. He’s a nice guy. No wonder Krellik didn’t like him. They’ve borrowed a machine from the famed Dr. Tracy, in hopes of getting some progress.
Meanwhile Dr. Tracy is working on a machine of his that can repair fault lines and prevent earthquakes. It’s a great concept, but just as he thinks his machine might be ready, an earthquake is about to occur! He switches on the machine, but it’s too late. A horrific earthquake strikes California. The first two Captain Action comics were full of a lot of “Golly, gee whiz” and now less than two pages into this one we’ve got babies and children being killed in a natural disaster. We’re through the looking glass here people.
Tracy’s machine has some crazed effect, where it drags him into some trippy world between worlds. His body and mind alter, forever changing him. Some of the language here is pretty deep and world’s apart from the first two issues. This is like some some Kirby-esque concept.
Dr. Tracy is transformed into another being. He then dubs himself, Dr. Evil, because that’s all that fills his heart. He wants to destroy mankind and raise his own beings. He wants to evolve mankind, like he was evolved. Time to turn everyone into a blue skinned freak!
In the past few days of the Captain Action Advent Calendar, we’ve seen some pretty strange things as it relates to the Captain Action comics. However, this promo comic from 1967 is both the most insane thing I’ve ever read and also a brilliant piece of marketing. Mini-comics are nothing new to toy fans, as they were popular concepts up until the 1980′s. Even the new Captain Action figures come packed with a comic. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the characters.
But this mini-comic is designed to sell other toys and makes no effort to hide it’s blatant shilling. The plot is downright insane. It’s 30+ pages of wall-to-wall costume changes. Captain Action manages to don every one of his costumes and also uses all of his gear. It starts out at Jimmy’s birthday party. Jimmy is just like you and I, an excitable boy.
Jimmy soon falls asleep, dreaming of how awesome his Captain Action is. We’re then taken into Jimmy’s dream. There, Captain Action notices a large mist. He takes his rocket pack into the air to check it out and finds missiles being shot at him. Naturally he assumes it’s aliens.
So Cap decides to get on the horn… But instead of using the telephone, he opts for this thing… (Available at your local retailer!)
GET SET FOR INVASION FROM SPACE!