BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
Recently we had the chance to have a quick chat with the legendary comics creator Murphy Anderson
about his return to Captain Action
. Although Anderson never drew any of the original comic books featuring the fan-favorite hero, he was one of the people responsible for the design work on the Ideal action figure boxes. Now, he's created a cover to accompany Moonstone Books'
first issue of the ongoing Captain Action
Anderson was happy to answer a few questions about this new work. He told THE PULSE his work with Captain Action
goes back to the beginning of the popular action figure line. "I worked on the original boxes and designs for Ideal Toys
," Anderson said.
But, although he worked on those memorable designs, Anderson never had the chance to illustrate the good Captain's adventures in comic books until now. Anderson was already working with Ed Catto
and Captain Action Enterprises
on the retro toy line's box artwork and the collectibles; so it wasn't too hard for him to say "yes" when Catto offered him the chance to illustrate the cover for issue one of the ongoing comic book series. That work is the only place you will see original Murphy Anderson
comic book art appearing in the near future. "It's the only thing I'm doing at the moment," Anderson said. "Since I retired, I get calls from DC Comics
occasionally to do some work for them, but the Captain Action
cover is it right now." DC Comics
is where the lion's share of Anderson's comic book work has appeared. He covered some of their biggest characters, and drew interior images for many of their most popular heroes including the Superman family of titles, Batman, Hawkman, Justice League of America and dozens more. His notable artwork won him several Alley Awards
in the Silver Age. He was also inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame
in 1988. He's had a very full career artistically that stretched beyond comic books as well.
While working at DC Comics
, Anderson got to draw just about all of their popular characters and several other characters that were near and dear to his heart -- even if their four-color career didn't last very long. He's worked on so many different types of characters that he was hard-pressed to name any that he never had the opportunity to illustrate. "I got to work on a lot of great comics," he said, when asked about the one that got away. Anderson couldn't name any comic book or characters he didn't get the chance to work with throughout his career.
As many fans of comics know, Anderson was responsible for the design and updated look of many Silver Age characters while working at DC Comics
. Although, as he put it, he didn't "birth" too many characters, one of the heroes he enjoyed drawing the first appearance of was the maid of magic, Zatanna. "She first appeared in the pages of Hawkman
," Anderson said. "That was my story. I was there at the creation of that character and helped figure her out. I didn't get the chance to participate in the birth of too many characters, but I enjoyed working with Zatanna."
He also enjoyed getting the chance to draw the Wonder Woman cover for the first issue of Gloria Steinem's MS. Magazine
. Although he wasn't her first choice for working illustrating the cover. Anderson recalled, "She laughed when they hired me. She said, 'I hate to tell you Murphy, but we weren't looking for a male to do the cover, but you were the only artist that DC sent to us.' Gloria had worked with people in the comics industry before. She was a very nice lady and very interesting."
Another project Anderson is very proud of is his work with the Army's P.S. Magazine, which offers preventative maintenance tips to servicemen. Anderson, who was a member of the United States Navy, and used his artistic skills for that branch of the Armed Forces during World War II, found his contributions to P.S. Magazine
to be very valuable work. "I enjoyed my work on that magazine more than almost anything I've worked on," Anderson said. "I felt like I was really making a contribution and helping the Army, especially the foot soldiers."
"P.S. Magazine has been published for nearly sixty years," Anderson, who first began working on the magazine when he was working on staff for Will Eisner, continued. "The Army thinks a great deal of it to keep it going for so long. Working for P.S. Magazine, I got to travel quite a bit from Korea to Germany on orientation tours. Those working trips were good publicity for the maintenance people."
The octogenarian isn't traveling too much these days, though. However, he enjoys attending a few comic conventions each year. "We went to the Metropolis Con this year," Anderson said. "It was very nice. I don't have too many more on the schedule for next year, but you never know."
What we do know is the first issue of Captain Action is supposed to be in stores this September from Moonstone Books and Captain Action Enterprises. THE PULSE will have a look at the cover as soon as it is available.