By Beau Smith
As a kid growing up in the 1960s, I did all the stuff that boys of my age did: played sandlot football, watched cartoons, read comic books, collected baseball cards, played with toys, threw milkweeds at cars from behind the bushes (If you tell on me I’ll just deny it.)
One of my favorite toys was the action figure of Captain Action. Like Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, Captain Action was a 12 inch figure that you could change into a vast array of famous super heroes such as Superman, Batman, Sgt. Fury, Aquaman, Captain America, The Phantom and many more.
I had my fair share of various G.I. Joes, including the foreign ones such as the German, French and Japanese ones – I always made them the bad guys – but I only had one Captain Action. For whatever distribution reason, Captain Action wasn’t as plentiful as the G.I. Joes were. Strange thing was that I had no trouble finding the different costumes of other heroes that you could change Captain Action into. I was lucky enough to have the outfits for Sgt. Fury, The Phantom, Captain America, Aquaman, Batman, and Superman. Through the years the only costumes that have survived my many moves, travels and getting older, were the Aquaman and Sgt. Fury outfits.
I have to admit, my brothers and I put our G.I. Joes through the mill. We dunked ’em in water, rolled ’em in the dirt and even set a few on fire, but Captain Action I always took really good care of. I still have my original Captain Action, complete with uniform and accessories in almost like new condition. Trust me, that’s rare for a demolition man like myself. Just so you won’t think of me as a total maniac, I still have my 1964 G.I. Joe Jeep & Trailer as well as about 9 of my original Joes as well.
This long rambling has a point. Here it is, In my 20 plus year career of writing comic books, I have been blessed with being able to write a few of my childhood favorite characters, Wildcat, The Black Terror, Lady Blackhawk and now, Captain Action!
This month, Moonstone has published a 6 page “Classic” Captain Action story that I wrote called “A Lie For A Lie, A Tooth For A Tooth.” I was also lucky enough to enlist the artwork of my amigo, Eduardo Barreto. Most of you know (Or should) that Eduardo and I worked together on my IDW Publishing comic series Cobb. Our story is in the new Captain Action #4 on sale right now!
I broke into the comic book business in the late 1980s writing back up and 8-page stories. I feel that doing these are the best ways to not only learn to write comic books, but a way of proving that you really know how to tell a story. If you can pace a three-act story in the span of 6 to 8 pages, then you’re a writer. Anybody can string out an never ending story in 6 to 12 issues, but only real men can step up to the bar and belch out a 6 to 8 page story and satisfy everyone in the saloon.
That was my goal in this Captain Action story. We live in a period where the fad is to stretch out and pad a story for what seems to be forever. A lot of folks think they’re writing screenplays or TV, they’re not, this is comics. Comic book writing is a craft within themself, a craft that is a marriage between words and pictures. One where the action is the vehicle to carry a compelling and entertaining story to the reader’s final destination. If other writers take you there in a limo, then consider me your four-wheel drive jeep. If you get into a story with me, then expect to go off road and get muddy.
In this Classic Captain Action story, Eduardo and I give you the original Captain Action from the 1960s, captured by Russian communist spies that are in league with the alien Red Crawl. They want information out of Captain Action and in true cold war fashion, they intend to torture it out of him. The twist is, who is really torturing who? By doing a Classic Captain Action story, Eduardo and I wanted to establish why he’s called Captain Action. We’re looking to put the ACTION back into Captain Action. I hope you read and agree.
I also hope you read this story and ask “Hey! Why aren’t Beau & Eduardo doing a monthly book for someone?“
Standing At The Sterling Gates
Sterling Gates. What a moniker. If ever there was a hero’s name this one qualifies. I don’t mean to dwell on Sterling’s name too much. I’m sure he’s heard every comment on it growing up, good and bad. I like his name. It’s got real character.
In case you didn’t know, Sterling is the writer on Supergirl for DC Comics. The guy is good and he’s gonna get even better. The thing that impresses me most about Sterling’s writing is his dialogue. Not everyone can write good dialogue; even veteran writers with long resumes sometimes never master the ability to write compelling and entertaining dialogue fir their characters. If Sterling is writing really good words right now, just imagine how much better it’s gonna get. Check out his current work on Supergirl as well as some of his Green Lantern work. Tell him Beau sent ya.
Far From Fragile
From time to time I like to remind all of your “Knuckleheads” out there that Busted Knuckles isn’t the only column on pop culture that I write on a regular basis. I also write regular monthly columns for print magazines such as The Comic Buyers Guide, Sketch Magazine and Impact: The Global Action Entertainment Magazine. It’s in Impact that I write the column “Far from Fragile”. It’s my personal views on not only action films, but I also put a whole new slant on comic books as well. This month, the fine British folks at Impact are letting you have a free sample of my “Far from Fragile” column. They’ve put my column online so you can get an idea of some of the fun things that go on at Impact. I’d really appreciate it if you’d take the time to click on the following link and check out “Far from Fragile”. I’d love to have your feedback as well. Even better would be if you decided to start picking up Impact at your local comic shop, bookstore or newsstand. While you’re there, you might as well buy The Comic Buyers Guide and Sketch Magazine as well. Make me rich and famous?well, famous…at least.
Here‘s the link to Impact and my “Far from Fragile” column.
The Superhuman Experiment
Marvel and DC Comics rule the world of Superhero comics and have for a long time, nothing wrong with that. They’ve been at it a long time and have more than earned their right to fight it out for the crown. There’s also nothing wrong with someone new coming along and putting fresh spin on being a superhero. Such is the example of The Superhuman Experiment.
The Superhuman Experiment is an exciting mesh of comic books, pop culture technology and the possible reality of being a superhero. Amanda Stevens and Test Subject X have been making the rounds at comic book and sci-fi conventions all over the country getting legions to join in on the adventure that is The Superhuman Experiment. It’s really worth checking out. They’ve got a great, high tech site that I think you’ll really enjoy. As always, tell ’em Beau threw you there.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Amanda Stevens
Comic Book Character/Model
It only seemed fitting that after plugging The Superhuman Experiment that the Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week should be one of the stars of the Experiment, Amanda Stevens!
My good amigo Billy Tucci was the first to suggest Amanda to me and as always, when it comes to lovely, talented ladies, Billy is never wrong. Amanda is doing a superb job in getting the word out about The Superhuman Experiment. Being a firm believer and self-proclaimed pioneer in grassroots marketing, I’m very happy to see Amanda out there doing an incredible job of making The Superhuman Experiment a household word. As you can tell by looking at Amanda, she knows how to represent with class.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 One Shot
Art By John Paul Leon
It’s not often that a new comic book makes it as a Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of Tthe Week. There’s a reason. Most new covers are what I call fast food “McCovers.” Covers that all look alike and lack that dynamic, testosterone power of days gone by when a cover was what sold a comic.
The cover to Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 One Shot has a great look and feel to it. You can see that the temptation to “update” the look of Fury and the commandos has been resisted and tribute to what has come before has been paid. I like the way John Paul Leon placed the heavy blacks and lighting on this shot. The colors matched just right to the line art and didn’t hide anything. Oh, and did I mention that the whole issue looked good and read really well? Loads of nice art and great action here for old and new readers.
Ya know, it’s a real shame. I hear the ABC Network is going to cancel or has canceled the new series The Unusuals. I find it to be a pretty good mix of comedy and semi-drama. The broad cast really makes it fun for me. As a viewer you never get bored and the editing is top notch. It’s not a great series, but one that might get close to great if they let it hang on for a season or two. I don’t understand how deadly serious, mind-numbing boring cop shows like Law & Order stay on forever with their gloomy, depressing story lines and shows with a little humor like The Unusuals get axed without a second thought. If you like Boston Legal then I think you’ll enjoy The Unusuals.
On June 4th you can once again look forward to new episodes of Burn Notice on the USA Network. As I’ve mentioned before here in Busted Knuckles, Burn Notice is what the 10 PM time slot should be. It’s interesting, entertaining, just the right amount of action and likeable characters. Even the guest stars are cast to perfection. Burn Notice star, Jeffrey Donovan is a modern day James Garner. I can’t give a higher compliment than that. Catch this show if you aren’t already. Buy the first season on DVD. I’ve seen it as low as $19.99 at Target. As a reader of Busted Knuckles, you deserve it.
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!