The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

SDCC’13: Captain Ultimate

Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor

CC2K’s own Joey Esposito just released and announced a new all ages comic called “Captain Ultimate.” An all ages comic? Aren’t those extint? Well, they have faded away in the superhero industry as of late, however that is the whole point of Cap Ult. Keep reading…


Captain Ultimate #1

Writer: Benjamin Bailey & Joey Esposito
Illustrator: Boykoesh
Colors: Ed Ryzowski
Letters: Adam O. Pruett

As I reached a certain age, the Superman type comics stopped interesting me as much. This is before all the relaunches/revamps/redos, I’m talking late 90s-2000’s, you know the time DC and Marvel were going into the crap shoot. But after those times, DC pushed real hard with Batman staring Jim Lee and Marvel came back with Marvel Knights and Ultimate Spider-Man. Something also happened,  the “Golden Age” superhero vanished. Killed off in a big summer event (ie the flash, green lantern, green arrow) or just being rewritten as harder and more angst driven (ie Spidey). We only really see the “All Ages” type stories in cartoon shows now (Teen Titans Go!) Comics aren’t really being written for children as much. I guess that’s what makes Captain Ultimate so uplifting. You know the term: “a man’s man.” Well Cap Ulti is “a hero’s superhero!”

Benjamin Bailey and Joey Esposito teamed up and wrote a story about a golden age superhero. The hero vanished and became a forgotten legend. Until one day a child believed in him again and when evil struck, Captain Ultimate appeared and saved the day with the help of his biggest fan. This is a first issue, Bailey/Esposito told the traditional golden age hero book while introducing him in the modern world. It’s a wonderful story that reminds you about what it’s like to being a kid reading a comic book for the first time. It makes fun of how dark and mean most superhero books have become. Plus Cap Ulti has a huge mustache. It puts Freddy Mercury, Hulk Hogan, and Burt Reynolds to shame.

Artist Boykoesh draws a cartoony, bold comic. It’s very colorful and boy does it pop. The characters remind me of 90’s Nickelodeon designs. They are fun yet different and represent a more positive tone. Boykoesh captures the child in the reader. Realism is out the window for this is a comic book about a honest good guy and a child who stands in the face of evil. You don’t need shadows and dark tones for such an uplifting comic and Boykoesh doesn’t give you that. It’s glossy eye candy drawn right. It’s plain old good and fun. Which is the whole point of this comic.

Besides Cap Ult’s amazing mustache, the best part of reading “Captain Ultimate” #1 is finding out that this comic was established by a discussion on Twitter. When does that happen? Twitter is half filled with sports and pop culture announcements, the other half is filled with nasty comments. If you’re not looking for it, it can be hard to find positive tweets. So how does an all ages book come from twitter?

“The idea started with a casual musing: “Let’s reboot a Public Domain hero!” We wanted to return to a time when heroes were heroes because they were just good and heroic and so they did the right thing. But then we had even more thoughts: Why just add to the ever-growing line of reboots and revamps and relanches? And why did a hero with those values have to come from an era gone by? So, we came up with an even better idea: Let’s just create our own Golden Age hero and plant him in today’s world of grim ‘n’ gritty tortured vigilantes!”

Part of the charm of the book is Milo. Baily/Esposito actually introduce him as a kid in the comic shop. A boy who’s father talked to him about superheroes, so he went and bought himself a comic. That comic book was “Captain Ultimate” and Milo had made the same plunge we all did as a kid. We picked a favorite superhero and idolized him/her. It was those small little touches to this comic that made me reflect on how I was introduced to the world of superheroes.  I am lucky to have been going through my childhood comic collection when I was reading this comic and I found my first comic book. My father bought me when I was 5 or 6 a Marvel Team Up with Spider-Man and Sprite (Kitty Pryde). In it they battled the Morlocks and it was a terrible comic but I loved it. The cover and the action and the fact that I was just starting to read made it my favorite. My dad wasn’t a comic book fan but for him to randomly buy me a comic out of the blue, he changed my life. I was picked on for liking comics as a kid and since i’m over 30 and read comics, i still get “those” looks. However, I love knowing that good morale superhero comics made me become a better person. Some had church or family to show them how to be a good person,  (besides family) I had Spider-Man and Superman. I had heroes who never complained and always did the right thing. My wife and I are about to have a child and I can’t wait to give my newborn a comic one day.

Baily and Esposito didn’t write a game changing comic, they did however write a comic that reminds us fans to question where did all the good people go? They wrote a comic we could introduce to some early readers, one that would open doors to the world of comics. Alas for an all ages comic, “Captain Ultimate” brought back the true essense of “superhero” and that’s what makes it something really special.