Paul Kupperberg and John Herbert talk about CAPTAIN ACTION

paul-kupperbergCaptain Action Classified deals with the original Captain Action in all his 1960’s, Cold War glory. He is a mans man and a man of action as well as a master of disguise. Paul Kupperberg and John Hebert have been chronically his adventures as a co-feature in the on going Captain Action series and his soon to be released Captain Action Classified Special.

First Comics News: In the 60’s there were 5 issues from DC about Clive Arno and Carl Arno as Captain Action and Action Boy, Now you are telling stories about Miles Drake as Captain Action in the 60’s do any of the original DC elements survive?

Paul Kupperberg: Not a one. Not because there’s anything wrong any of it, because I love the DC series. I kept three bound books of comics from the olden days, one being Captain Action, which is bound together with the original run of Secret Six, another great 60s series. It was an amazing book for the day. But the new continuity doesn’t have much room for anything out of it.

john-hebertJohn Hebert: Oh yeah, the intensity, sense of adventure, style and, hopefully, decent art that the bar was set for by Mssrs. Wood, Kane and Novick.

1st: So what are Captain Action and the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate like in the 60’s?

John: Very much like CONTROL from “Get Smart” only not as funny.

Paul: Well, for the purposes of Captain Action Classified, I’m not really dealing with the Directorate except as some guy we might see giving Drake his instructions. The stories I’m doing are one-offs and dealing with real world events, so even the Red Crawl element is minimized, if mentioned at all.

1st: Will we see Action Boy in Captain Action Classified?

Paul: Nope.

1st: Would it be safe to say the Miles Drake is cut for the same mold as the Sean Connery James Bond?

John : Oh yeah, no question, I love those films and the books- especially since 2 of them were basically set in my own backyard of upstate NY and this latest project feels like a really good 007 piece…maybe even with George Lazenby or Tim Dalton both of which got bad reps for NO reason at all, right, Paul?

Paul: Oh yeah. I grew up on the Connery Bond films…he really is the one, true Bond! I love being able to do the whole Cold War spy thing, playing with history and the genre. The first back-up story I did with CA was basically a set-up to rip off the train sequence from From Russia With Love.

1st: Why would a rough and tough man of action like Miles Drake want to hang out with a kid like Sean Barrette and his pet panther, Khem?

John: Perhaps he needs to feel that theme of “Generativity versus Stagnation” from 10th grade English class? As for Khem, maybe the Action Directorate has mice.

Paul: I dunno, unless the book’s changing its title to Siegfried and Roy?

1st: Do all the Captain Action Classified stories take place in the 60’s?

John: All of the ones worth reading, anyway! (Laughter)

Paul: Unless someone tells me otherwise. The first issue surrounds both Kennedy assassinations, the second involves the Berlin Wall, and number three is looking like it might be about the Beatles.

1st: How do you present the time period in the story?

Paul: I’m trying to play it as straight as possible I love digging up something the artist can use to really nail the story to the period, like a newspaper front page or a location. Sometimes I may have to squish the facts into a slightly different shape to make it fit better in the story, but I’m really trying to keep true to history.

John: Well, Paul has certainly set it up for me to run amok with 60’s reference and I’ve tried not to disappoint and fall on my face. This one is LOADED with cameos from people and things that either were there in ’63 and ’68, COULD have been there and who MAY have been there (and that is definitely intended to make you go “HMMMM”). There’s been a serious effort to the point of almost being an obsession with keeping everything “period perfect” with no anachronisms right down to a literally last minute retouch to correct something that I was, admittedly, asleep at the wheel on continuity-wise. I’ve been saying that this one is “my Killing Joke” and I just went ahead and threw everything but he kitchen sink in for good measure, but it’s still fun and it’s illustrated in a more “grounded style” such as the comics that I grew up on, y’know you look at those old Irv Novick and Neal Adams Bat-books from the early 70’s and they’re dynamic and really well drawn but everything is pretty much realistic and non-exaggerated except for the guy dressed as a bat and the kid in the little green shorts and that’s the kind of sensibility I’ve TRIED to put into my work all along and this is the epitome of that mentality. Geez, it actually sounds like I might actually know what I’m talking about!

1st: Action Boy is in pretty bad shape in the present, Cole Drake has a difficult relationship with Miles, do we see the elements in Miles personality that causes him to have difficulties with personal relationships?

Paul: Miles has spent his whole life killing people and pretending to be people he isn’t. I don’t see any elements in Miles personality that would give him a snowballs chance in hell of figuring out a personal relationship.

 John: Speaking as someone who has shot himself in the foot relationship-wise a time or 9, I can heartily say- “Yes’. Cap’s a singularly focused character, driven to succeed at his task at hand, anything else is scenery to him…been there, done that, got the tee shirt, and that type of mentality does not loan itself to cultivating and maintaining solid relationships of any kind……and I say this as a man about to become a dad at my advanced age.

1st: What are the elements that make up a good Captain Action story?

John: 1st and foremost, and props to Paul on this, is a good, solid STORY…with a beginning, a middle, an end, and, hopefully and rarely enough in this day and age…a POINT! Secondly, a unique “flavor” and characterization that can only be found in a Captain Action story, other than Cap, the only character that would shoe horn right into this would be James Bond, not Iron Man, Wolverine or The Batman- Cap pure and simple. Thirdly, art that propels and forwards the story, embracing the style and feel but doesn’t take away, only adds and blends with it to make a great, entertaining comic book.

Paul: To my mind, it’s the element of uncertainty, never quite knowing which character is about to rip off the mask and reveal himself to be Captain Action.

1st: What makes Captain Action Classified so cool that everyone should read Captain Action for the Captain Action Classified co-feature alone?

Paul: Slamming action, mystery, intrigue, a little bit of history (don’t worry, you probably won’t actually learn anything), and a solid James Bond-style adventure. Worth the price of admission right there.

John:  It’s good comics…period. This isn’t manga, pinup, swipe from everybody else flavor o’the month stuff here, its real comics- storytelling, drama, suspense, it’s a film on paper. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss a couple of bucks goodbye….seriously, take a look at Cap Classified. It’ll make you remember what was cool about funny books in the first place.

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