Before Mike Myers brought Austin Powers up against his follicularly-challenged opponent, Ideal Toys gave us Captain Action and Action Boy, and their arch-enemy, bald and blue-skinned Dr. Evil, a Spock-eared extraterrestrial from Alpha Centauri. His facial features resembled those of a frog being squeezed; his eyes bugged out, bloodshot. The top of his head suggested an exposed brain. Ideal introduced him in 1967, a year after the good Captain first appeared.

The basic Evil package came with his blue smock, a medallion, strangely hippie sandals, a laser gun, a lab coat, and a human disguise mask. More popular was a gift set which included additional disguises and various trippy weapons, including the "hypnotic eye," which looked like an oversized human eyeball mounted on a bedside lampstand.

In keeping with the premise of Captain Action-- figures who could be transformed into well-known heroes-- accessories were planned which would have allowed Dr. Evil to become the Joker or the Red Skull. The line was cancelled by 1970, before these and, presumably, other disguises could be manufacturered.

Along the way, he appeared in DC's short-lived line of Captain Action superhero comics, from 1968-69. They gave the doctor a very odd origin; he was not, as the toy's advertising copy claimed, an alien, but the very Terran Stefan Tracy, father of Captain Action's late wife. Thanks to completely implausible circumstances, even by comic book standards, he is evolved into the super-advanced Dr. Evil in issue #3. An issue later, he encounters actual aliens from Alpha Centauri* who look exactly like him, and he collaborates with them in their bid to seek World DominationTM!

The Captain Action figures have also been reproduced by Praying Mantis, beginning in 1998. Although the Captain's DC and Marvel costumes cannot be reissued, they have been able to finally add villain costumes for the Doctor, including Flash Gordon's Ming the Merciless and the Phantom's Kabai Singh.

*This creates an interesting fanboy conundrum. Issue #1 shows that these characters share a world with Superman and the rest of the DC Universe-- which has a long-established civilization from the Centauri system whose inhabitants look nothing like Dr. Evil.


Sources:

Sally Ann Berk, Tom Tumbusch, et al. Tomart's Encyclopedia of Action Figures. New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2000.

"Captain Action." Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics. http://www.dcindexes.com/

"Captain Action Index." http://darkmark6.tripod.com/capactionind.html

Ray Kolasa. "The Captain Action Story." Captain Action Headquarters. http://members.aol.com/actnboy/castory.html

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