Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Days of Captain Future Past

It looks like I´m writing more about cartoons than comics lately but I wanted to pay tribute to one of the coolest sci fi tv cartoons ever.

Of course I´m talking about the 80s anime series Captain Future, based on the stories of pulp author Edmond Hamilton that I watched religiously as a kid - well, let´s say as a teenager. The show was just the best ever.

Right from the intro you were all psyched up and ready to go.

Okay, WHAT the flark was THAT ?

I don´t want to sound homophobic but that version was totally gay. I have nothing against Capitan Memo who did most of the latino versions of cartoon show in the eighties but that´s just not the right one. Next try.

Dammit, what´s wrong Today ? That´s not the right one either. It sounds a little bit better than the first one but not much. Let´s try one last time.

YES ! THAT`S what I´m talking about. That´s the right intro. And then at the end, when Captain Kirk says " Captain Future ! " you know it´s on.

Okay, it´s not really Captain Kirk who says that but it´s the german voice of Captain Kirk who says it so it´s the next best thing. Wow, Captain Future, Captain Kirk, Capitan Memo, there are a lot of captains in this post. I just hope I don´t get drafted. I already did my time in Munich.

So, back to Captain Future. It´s one of these classic tv cult shows from the 80s that have stood the test of time and you can still watch it Today. Or rather parts of it. The show was produced by Toei Animation in 1987 and they made 52 episodes of which only 40 were shown on german television. But that´s not the best part. The original episodes are 30 minutes long but german tv cut them down to 23 or 25 minutes.

Which is a real shame, especially when you see that the DVD boxes of the show are sold in Germany for up to 100 EUROS on amazon or online shops. I mean, that´s 200 bucks for 40 cut episodes because they couldn´t figure out how to put the parts that were cut back into the episodes. Or they just didn´t care. In any case I think that´s overpriced.

Now the series is based on the pulp books by Edmond Hamilton that he wrote from 1940 to 1944. And I think they redesigned the costumes.

Now while Edmond Hamilton didn´t create the Captain Future character he´s most known for those sci fi stories and to tell the truth his Captain Future books are probably the only ones you´re gonna find in bookshops.

Edmond Hamilton´s first short story " The Monster God of Marmuth " was published in August of 1926 in the anthology magazine WEIRD TALES .

If you have watched the brilliant 2008 documentary about horror cult author Howard Phillip Lovecraft FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN that I posted at the end of my THE RETURN OF RETURN OF THE GODS post ( Terry Hooper just recently posted it on his blog ) you know how important this publication was not only in his career but also for writers like Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber or Ray Bradbury to name just a few.

If you haven´t and you want to know more about WEIRD TALES, just follow the link above to Leif Sorenson´s post on THE PULP MAGAZINE PROJECTS database entry, or use this link to get to Maggie Brown´s essay SLICK PAPER FICTION WRAPPED IN PULP on the COLLOQUIUM website.

Back to Edmond Hamilton, he became one of the most prolific writers of WEIRD TALES with 79 stories and he also wrote for most of the other pulp magazines writing everything from sci fi to horror to thriller. He has been called as the father of the science fiction genre as well as the inventor of the sub genre space opera and while I´m not educated enough to deny or confirm that it´s undeniable that his influence in sci fi was immense.

So I want to come back to the part of Edmond Hamilton´s work that is comic related and I´m not talking about the many comic series that have adapted the words WEIRD TALES into their title in one way or another.

Edmond Hamilton is the best known author of Captain Future and he had the biggest influence on the franchise but he did not create the character.

That honor belongs to Mort Weisinger, who started his career as a literary agent and Edmond was one of his client. Like with Captain Future he let Edmond run with another of his creations that had a firm foot in sci fi when he worked at DC comics later on : the Legion of Super - Heroes.

As one of its first regulars writers he was responsible for the Legion of Super - Heroes´ early growth and he introduced many of the early Legion concepts into the DC universe. He also wrote stories for other comics like Batman and Superman where he wrote one of THE best known Superman stories of all times " Under the Red Sun " in ACTION COMICS issue 300.

Back to Captain Future the animated series. In Germany the series was very popular and I want to think that the completely new soundtrack by german composer Christian Bruhn had something to do with it.


The german publisher BASTEI VERLAG published a comic series with new adventures based on the tv series that lasted 80 issues from 1980 to 1983

and a pocket book series that went on for 18 issues from 1981 to 1985.

Now in my post about german cult comic Nick Knatterton I mentioned that when I was a kid comics were published in many magazines and one such magazine was the television guide HÖRZU that is still in print. They had a Captain Future story that was 1 full page every issue and it had 31 parts.

What I found hilarious is how sudden they wrap up the comic strip. " The End. Next week : the funny hijinks of Tom and Jerry ! " That´s all the say.

Captain Future got his own series in Spain as Capitan Futuro

while he had to share space with other popular cartoon tv series of the time in Italy where he appeared in the magazines NOI SUPEREROI

 and CARTONI IN TIVU which I guess means " cartoons on tv " .

In France he also had his own series but for some strange reason instead of something logic like Capitaine Future he was called Capitaine Flam.

He also was very popular in France so he guest starred in PIF

which my german readers should know because it contained some of the same material as the YPS comics including the gadget. The main characters of PIF were the dog Pif and a cat which names now eludes me.

Here they are on the cover of an issue of the german YPS magazine.

Like YPS the french PIF magazine had different comics like RAHAN, SOHN DER VORZEIT, ( I think the comic was simply called Rahan in french )

or WITZBOLD by Marcel Gotlieb ( who´s original name was Gai Luron ).

Before I come to an end ( with the comic related part of this post at least ) I should probably mention the 1941 superhero series by Kin Platt in STARTLING COMICS that had nothing to do with the pulp character of the same name. You can read his first appearance with his origin right here .


Now some of my more perceptive readers might have noticed that I managed to smuggle two covers into this post that were homage covers or used for cover homages. The first one is the cover of WEIRD TALES OF THE FUTURE and it might look a bit familiar because I already posted this cover of Levin Kurio´s anthology WEISSBLECHS WELTBESTE COMICS 19.

The second one is the cover to SUPERBOY 257 which was based on the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 19 you can see right below

which in turn was swiped from MYSTERY IN SPACE issue 17.

And this is where I have to end the post because I have an appointment with the unemployment office that is going to be a disappointment.

For them. Because this is a meeting to access the possibility of finding work for me and even if they did find a job for me where I don´t have to walk much and do my work on the computer I´m not sure which company would give me a contract if they know I´m going to be ill for the first four month because of my impending knee operation and the following rehab.


Anyway, time for the unavoidable litany of websites that helped me make this post or which I found during the research for it and which I think are of interest for my readers. I have put as many as I could into the text of the post itself but here are a few I want to add. Kudos to you, pals.

First off I want to mention the SPACELORD page where I found the cool group shot of the Captain and his crew below as well as this page where you can read an entire issue of a german Captain Future comic book.

I also want to pimp this page where I found one of the few good scans of a german Captain Future comic book cover by BASTEI that has many other good scans of german comicbooks and where you can find even more covers by using the menu and going to the various comic sections ( Terry, this link is especially for you, check out the " Western " comic section ).

Next up is the page with some covers from WEIRD TALES where I found the cover of the issue with Edmond Hamilton´s first published short story and you can find even more covers of WEIRD TALES and other pulp magazines on PULP COVERS . If you´re looking for more reading check out this post about Jack Williamson , another writer for WEIRD TALES, this article in italian by Davide Longoni on WEIRD TALES on LA ZONA MORTA or this post in spanish on superhero Captain Future by Kin Platt.


As for the videos of this post, the first ones are - naturally - of the anime series. I want to begin with a german trailer for the DVD release ( maybe ) and back then I was just so innocent that I didn´t know why all the older kids were laughing when the robot Greg called Otto a rubber doll.

For my german readers who want to indulge their 80s nostalgia a bit I have included the first episode of the series, DIE RÜCKVERWANDLUNG.

And so my other readers who can´t understand german don´t think I have forgotten about them here is the Wrecker Saga. Sorry, it´s in six parts but it´s the only video I could find that was dubbed in english.

Another version of episode 1, this time in french. Capitaine Flam !

And last of the Captain Future videos but not least the latino version.

Speaking about the latino versions of cartoon shows, here´s a video with all the cool 80s intros. Some have the same songs as in America.

And again, for my english readers a video with the 25 top children´s show intros from the 80s. They were just the best. Except maybe RAMBO one. And I never even knew they made such a bad one about the franchise.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

All those Captain Future intros were pure 1980s...sound gay?? I think you mean "camp"...as with 1960s "high camp super heroes". The German one I liked because it sounded like Star Trek!
Edmond Hamilton is a BIG influence in sci fi -or was. I guess most young sci fi fans/writers now will just say "who?" And E. E. "Doc" Smith was creator of The Lensmen who were, basically, the Green Lantern Corps. Lest we forget. Word.
ps. if you have a photo of yourself in uniform I wanna see it!!!

SUBZERO said...

Sorry that I didn´t answer sooner but I wanted to finish this before midnight. Well, I missed that deadline but only by 45 minutes.

Yes, you´re right, I mean campy, sorry. And the soundtrack for the german Captain Future seies is really a lot like Star Trek.

Sorry, no pictures of me in unifrom but I have included some videos with the best 80s cartoon intros.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

hmm. Jo84 who used to publish Spruhende Phantasie did his military service and once wrote to me that he was in a tin hut weather station in a field on the German-Danish border with only cows for company!
Oh, I posted all three Lensmen movies to CBO yesterday so you can follow them to You Tube and, to be honest, YES, more than a little Green Lantern to it all!