Though it ran but 5 issues in 1968, Captain Action was a damn fine comic. It was based on a rather obscure, but in some quarters fondly remembered, doll (or perhaps that ought to be “action figure” in these more sensitive times) manufactured by Ideal. The doll’s big selling point — or not, as it was only in production for a couple of years — was that he could be dressed up as a variety of characters. Captain America, the Lone Ranger, Batman and Flash Gordon were just a few of the groovy alternate guises of ol’ Action.

In the comics things were a bit different as obvious trademark issues meant that the Captain was unable to pull the changing routine, and so a new origin was devised. Here, Action could choose between the powers of various gods of mythology bestowed upon him by mystical coinage. Might not sound too great, but the comic was blessed by a spectacular trio of creators. Jim Shooter, then just in his mid-teens, wrote the first couple of issues, while Wally Wood provided the art. Both were succeeded by a brilliantly on-form Gil Kane — occasionally inked by Wood — who acted as writer-artist for the remainder of the run.

A beautiful comic, well worth seeking out.