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Captain Action-Riddle of the Glowing Men Paperback – July 18, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Airship 27 (July 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615671381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615671383
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,946,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Beard writes adventure fiction in a classic pulp style.

A native Toledoan, he was introduced to comic books at an early age by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters who preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since that time he's written official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comic stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.

His prose work includes GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES, a book of essays on the 1966 Batman TV series; SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER, a collection of pulp ghost stories featuring an Edwardian occult detective; MONSTER EARTH, a shared-world giant monster anthology; and CAPTAIN ACTION: RIDDLE OF THE GLOWING MEN, the first pulp prose novel based on the classic 1960s action figure.

Jim also currently provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website.

Please visit him at http://sgtjanus.blogspot.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thebeardjimbeard

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me preface this review by saying that I have never seen a Captain Action toy in real life. I have no particular affection for him as a concept and my only real exposure to him was a trade paperback put out by Moonstone Books that reprinted some of their comics. So going into this, I wasn't expecting much in the way of "connection" to the material. Licensed properties that I don't have a pre-existing interest in are difficult for me to get into.

Jim Beard is an author whose work I enjoy and that was the main reason I gave this a shot. Billed as "What if James Bond went on a Doc Savage adventure," it mostly succeeds in its aims. The story is fluid and moves at breakneck speed, though never too fast to ignore characterization. Our hero is of the rugged, manly type that this sort of fiction loves so well. He's a hero, through and through, having taken in a young boy who was orphaned by his enemy, Dr. Evil. In this story, the central plot revolves around a group of glowing men and the Siberian Explosion of 1908 (always a good subject to deal with!). Captain Action is teamed with a beautiful brunette who has recently defected from Russia.

Being a period piece, the entire affair plays with elements of the Cold War very effectively.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Captain's lair and equipment and thought the author did a good job of utilizing Action Boy (who is not dubbed that in this story but that's who he is) in a way that avoided the usual Wesley Crusher syndrome. There's no sign of Lady Action in this book.

The core concept is a bit silly -- our hero wears a yachting cap, is called Captain Action, battles Dr. Evil and works for Advanced Command for Telluric Interdiction Observation and Nullification (A.C.T.I.O.N.).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Captain Action and the Riddle of the Glowing men

By Jim Beard

Captain Action, for those not familiar with the character, was a toy line during the mid to late 1960's. The toy's niche was that the Captain was a master of disguise. One could purchase different costumes or disguises for him to wear, essentially becoming Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or Captain America (Which was a trick concerning the enmity between the two major comic book companies in those days.)
Flash forward forty plus years to today and Captain Action's first all new novel ever! With a relatively unknown commodity such as Captain Action, penning an adventure can be either a blessing or a curse depending on the author. Thankfully for Jim Beard it was the former.
Jim crafts a tale straight out of the cold war 1960's as the Captain, a super spy as well as super-Hero and super-adventurer is drawn immediately into a case involving foreign intrigue within soviet Russia.
The Captain is attacked by weirdly glowing men, one after another as the book opens, and the story only gets better from there. Charged with investigating where these 'Glowing Men' came from and why they attacked him by his superiors, Captain Action is teamed with a mysterious and gorgeous Russian defector who claims to come from the area where they suspect the glowing me originate from, but she has her own dark secrets and agenda, as the Captain will discover.
The two soon are thrust into an ever expanding web of mystery involving crashed UFO's, Russian spies named after Gods, and Captain Action's own dire nemesis, the mad and diabolical "Dr. Evil" (No relation to Austin Power's nemesis.
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Format: Paperback
Author Jim Beard brings to life a popular action figure from nearly a half-century ago in "Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men." Set in the Cold War of the 1960s, the tale is a fun romp that hearkens back to the heyday of James Bond, Ilya Kuryakin, Nick Fury and other memorable adventure heroes of the period.

Captain Action is Miles Drake, highly skilled superspy and master of disguise - the seasoned go-to guy in those cases where all else fails. The titular glowing men are irradiated operatives under the command of a gruesome and demented scientist, but Dr. Evil and his minions are just the beginning of the Drake's troubles. Before it's all over, the Captain goes head to head with a mysterious femme fatale, a sadistic Soviet military officer, an underground civilization, and a giant lizard lurking in a subterranean swamp -- all leading up to a climactic battle between good and evil. And Beard also throws in a budding young teenage sidekick, just for good measure.

When the no-holds-barred pulp-fiction sensibilities of the '30s and '40s collide with the perils of the Cold War, you can be sure that Captain Action is ready to live up to his name at a moment's notice.
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Format: Paperback
This is based on a review pdf copy sent to me by the author.

Had I not previously read and enjoyed a book by Jim Beard (See my review of Sgt. Janus, Spirit Breaker) I may never have picked this one up. Captain Action to me was not much more than an advert in the US comic books I read in the 60s. He was a G.I. Joe/Action Man style doll for which you could purchase costumes for an interesting array of licensed characters. He could be Superman, Batman, Captain America, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon. DC comics did license the character and produce 5 issues of his own comic book in the 60s. They made him into a fairly powerful superhero, who gained his powers from ancient gods, who had transferred their special abilities to coins, before leaving our solar system forever. It wasn't at all bad actually, but it didn't last long.
A few years ago, Moonstone picked up the license and began to produce their own Captain Action comics. They went for a much pulpier based hero, with no actual super powers, but some useful equipment. He works with the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directive, who are an organisation set up to combat alien threats on Earth. In feel it's similar to T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, or Man From U.N.C.L.E., with a bit of Gerry Anderson's U.F.O thrown in. As a character, Captain Action would fit right in with T.H.U.N.D.E.R.'s group of technically enhanced agents.
Thankfully, this version of the character lends itself to the new pulp style fiction that Airship 27 is becoming known for much better than the DC comics version.
Set in the 60s cold war era, Jim Beard gives us some nasty Russian villains, a sexy, miniskirted Russian spy, who turns out to be much more than she seems, a lost city under the Earth's surface and the return of Dr. Evil. What's not to like?
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