Captain Future
Captain Future is a science fictional hero pulp character originally published in self-titled American pulp magazines during the 1940s and early 50s.


Although sometimes mistakenly attributed to science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 writer Edmond Hamilton
Edmond Hamilton
Edmond Moore Hamilton was an American author of science fiction stories and novels during the mid-twentieth century. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he was raised there and in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania...

, who indeed authored most of Captain Future stories, the character was created by Better Publications editor Mort Weisinger
Mort Weisinger
Mortimer Weisinger was an American magazine and comic book editor best known for editing DC Comics' Superman during the mid-1950s to 1960s, in the Silver Age of comic books...

 during the 1939 World Science Fiction Convention.

The original character was published by Ned Pines
Ned Pines
Ned L. Pines was a New York publisher. He died in Paris, and lived in Paris, Manhattan and East Hampton NY. He was married to the former Maxine Firestone, has two daughters, two stepsons, and one granddaughter....

' Thrilling/Standard/Better
Thrilling Publications
Thrilling Publications, aka Beacon Magazines , Better Publications and Standard Magazines , was a pulp magazine publisher run by Ned Pines, publishing such titles as Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories.A native of Malden, Massachusetts, Pines became the president of Pines Publications...

 publications company. A different Captain Future
Captain Future (Nedor Comics)
Captain Future is a fictional superhero character who first appeared in Startling Comics #1 from Nedor Comics.-Publishing history:...

 was published in Pine's Nedor Comics
Nedor Comics
Nedor Publishing was a comic book imprint of publisher Ned Pines, who also published pulp magazines under a variety of company names that he also used for the comics...


Published stories

The stories were published in the pulp magazines from 1940 to 1951, featuring bright-colored cover illustrations by Earle K. Bergey
Earle K. Bergey
Earle K. Bergey was an American illustrator who painted cover art for a wide diversity of magazines and paperback books...

 and two other fellow pulp artists. The adventures mostly appeared in Captain Future's own magazine but later stories appeared in Startling Stories
Startling Stories
Startling Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1955 by Standard Magazines. It was initially edited by Mort Weisinger, who was also the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Standard's other science fiction title. Startling ran a lead novel in every issue;...

. Captain Future is Curtis Newton, a brilliant scientist and adventurer who roams the solar system solving problems, righting wrongs, and vanquishing futuristic supervillain
A supervillain or supervillainess is a variant of the villain character type, commonly found in comic books, action movies and science fiction in various media.They are sometimes used as foils to superheroes and other fictional heroes...


The series contains a number of assumptions about the solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

 which are naive by modern standards but which still seemed plausible, at least to the general public, in the time the stories were written. All of the planets of the solar system, and many of the moons and asteroids, are suitable for life, and most are already occupied by humanoid
A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human being. The term first appeared in 1912 to refer to fossils which were morphologically similar to, but not identical with, those of the human skeleton. Although this usage was common in the sciences for much of the 20th century, it...

Extraterrestrial life in popular culture
In popular cultures, "extraterrestrials" are life forms — especially intelligent life forms— that are of extraterrestrial origin .-Historical ideas:-Pre-modern:...

 races. The initial adventures take place in the planets of the solar system but later stories take the hero to other stars, other dimensions and even the distant past and future. For example, they visit the star Deneb
Deneb in fiction
Deneb , a highly luminous blue-white supergiant star, is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus and one of the brightest stars in the night sky...

, which is the origin of Earth humans, as well as many other humanoid races across the Solar System and beyond.

In the later stories Hamilton is able to inject some pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

 into his characters. This may have been due to the influence of Hamilton's wife, Leigh Brackett
Leigh Brackett
Leigh Douglass Brackett was an American author, particularly of science fiction. She was also a screenwriter, known for her work on famous films such as The Big Sleep , Rio Bravo , The Long Goodbye and The Empire Strikes Back .-Life:Leigh Brackett was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California...

. Brackett was also a science fiction writer, and many critics credit her with improving the quality of Hamilton's writing after their marriage.


The series was originally set in 1990; as the series progressed, Hamilton quickly stopped using exact dates (except as "in the past" as in the voyages of the astronauts who first landed on most of the other planets of the Solar System), sticking with a series continuity. In later stories, if the date was asked or revealed, it was done so discreetly. The 1990 date then becomes unused, there only in the first couple of stories.

The series begins when scientist Roger Newton, his wife Elaine, and his brilliant fellow scientist Simon Wright leave planet Earth to do research in an isolated laboratory on the moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

. Simon's body is old and diseased and Roger enables him to continue doing research by transplanting his healthy brain into an artificial floating case. Working together, the two scientists manage to create an intelligent robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

 called Grag, and an android with shape-shifting abilities called Otho. Unfortunately, the criminal scientist Victor Kaslan arrives on the moon and murders the Newtons.

The deaths of the Newtons leave their son, Curtis, to be raised by the unlikely trio of Otho, Grag, and Simon Wright. Under their tutelage, Curtis grows up to be a brilliant scientist and as strong and fast as any champion athlete. He also grows up with a strong sense of responsibility and hopes to use his scientific skills to help people. In the first adventure, he offers his services to the President of the System. The publicity-shy Curtis suggests he work under the alias Captain Future. Simon, Otho and Grag are referred to as the Futuremen in subsequent stories.

Other recurring characters in the series are the old space marshall Ezra Gurney, the beautiful Planet Patrol agent Joan Randal (who provides a love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

-interest for Curtis) and James Carthew, President of the Solar System whose office is in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 City. A young boy called Ken Scott was exclusive to the anime.

Captain Future faces many enemies in his career but his archenemy
An archenemy, archfoe, archvillain or archnemesis is the principal enemy of a character in a work of fiction, often described as the hero's worst enemy .- Etymology :The word archenemy or arch-enemy originated...

 is Ull Quorn, who is the only recurring villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

 in the series and appears in four different stories. He is part Martian
As an adjective, the term martian is used to describe anything pertaining to the planet Mars.However, a Martian is more usually a hypothetical or fictional native inhabitant of the planet Mars. Historically, life on Mars has often been hypothesized, although there is currently no solid evidence of...

 - therefore called the Magician of Mars - but also the son of Victor Kaslan, who murdered the Newtons. Quorn is a scientist whose abilities rival those of Captain Future.

Captain Future has been compared to the earlier pulp hero Doc Savage
Doc Savage
Doc Savage is a fictional character originally published in American pulp magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. He was created by publisher Henry W. Ralston and editor John L...

. Like Doc, he is described as a physical and mental marvel. Captain Future's reliance on scientific gadget
A gadget is a small technological object that has a particular function, but is often thought of as a novelty. Gadgets are invariably considered to be more unusually or cleverly designed than normal technological objects at the time of their invention...

s is also similar to the Doc Savage stories, as are his adventurous companions. Grag and Otho have a quarrelsome relationship similar to that of the characters Monk and Ham in the Doc Savage stories. Like their counterparts, Grag and Otho each adopt a small pet. The pets are often brought along on adventures and provide some comic relief
Comic relief
Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension.-Definition:...

 in the stories. Grag's pet is Eek, a moon-pup which eats metallic ores. Otho's pet is Ook, a shape-shifting meteor mimic.

Captain Future shares some features with the simultaneously launched Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

, such as both living in the shadow of the traumatic experience, early in life, of their parents being murdered. Also the means used by the President to call for Captain Future's help is similar to that used by Gotham City
Gotham City
Gotham City is a fictional U.S. city appearing in DC Comics, best known as the home of Batman. Batman's place of residence was first identified as Gotham City in Batman #4 . Gotham City is strongly inspired by Trenton, Ontario's history, location, atmosphere, and various architectural styles...

's police chief to call Batman.


Captain Future Magazine
  1. Captain Future and the Space Emperor Edmond Hamilton Wntr/40 [reprinted with the same title]
  2. Calling Captain Future Edmond Hamilton Spng/40 [reprinted with the same title]
  3. Captain Future's Challenge Edmond Hamilton Smmr/40 [reprinted with the same title]
  4. The Triumph of Captain Future Edmond Hamilton Fall/40 [reprinted as Galaxy Mission]
  5. Captain Future and the Seven Space Stones Edmond Hamilton Wntr/41
  6. Star Trail to Glory Edmond Hamilton Spng/41
  7. The Magician of Mars Edmond Hamilton Smmr/41 [reprinted with the same title]
  8. The Lost World of Time Edmond Hamilton Fall/41
  9. Quest Beyond the Stars Edmond Hamilton Wntr/42 [reprinted with the same title]
  10. Outlaws of the Moon Edmond Hamilton Sprn/42 [reprinted with the same title]
  11. The Comet Kings Edmond Hamilton Smmr/42 [reprinted with the same title]
  12. Planets in Peril Edmond Hamilton Fall/42 [reprinted with the same title]
  13. The Face of the Deep Edmond Hamilton Wntr/43
  14. Worlds to Come Joseph Samachson
    Joseph Samachson
    Dr. Joseph "Joe" Samachson was a scientist and author, primarily of science fiction and comic books.-Biochemist:Joseph Samachson was born to David and Anna Samachson on October 13, 1906 in Trenton, New Jersey. A graduate of Rutgers University, he earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale at the age of...

  15. Star of Dread Edmond Hamilton Smmr/43
  16. Magic Moon Edmond Hamilton Wntr/44
  17. Days of Creation Joseph Samachson
    Joseph Samachson
    Dr. Joseph "Joe" Samachson was a scientist and author, primarily of science fiction and comic books.-Biochemist:Joseph Samachson was born to David and Anna Samachson on October 13, 1906 in Trenton, New Jersey. A graduate of Rutgers University, he earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale at the age of...

     Spng/44 [reprinted as The Tenth Planet]

Startling Stories
Startling Stories
Startling Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1955 by Standard Magazines. It was initially edited by Mort Weisinger, who was also the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Standard's other science fiction title. Startling ran a lead novel in every issue;...

  1. Red Sun of Danger Edmond Hamilton Spng/45 [reprinted as Danger Planet]
  2. Outlaw World Edmond Hamilton Wntr/46 [reprinted with the same title]
  3. The Solar Invasion Manly Wade Wellman
    Manly Wade Wellman
    Manly Wade Wellman was an American writer. He is best known for his fantasy and horror stories set in the Appalachian Mountains and for drawing on the native folklore of that region, but he wrote in a wide variety of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, detective...

      Fall/46 [reprinted with the same title]
  4. The Return of Captain Future Edmond Hamilton 01/01/50
  5. Children of the Sun Edmond Hamilton 05/01/50
  6. The Harpers of Titan Edmond Hamilton 09/01/50 [reprinted as part of Doctor Cyclops]
  7. Pardon My Iron Nerves Edmond Hamilton 11/01/50
  8. Moon of the Unforgotten Edmond Hamilton 01/01/51
  9. Earthmen No More Edmond Hamilton 03/01/51
  10. Birthplace of Creation Edmond Hamilton 05/01/51

Notes: Numbers #14-18 were credited to house name "Brett Sterling"; Numbers 21-27 were short novels. Several issues were reprinted in paperback in the 60s, as noted above.


In 1978, one year after Hamilton's death, Toei Animation
Toei Animation
Toei Animation Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio owned by Toei Co., Ltd. The studio was founded in 1948 as Japan Animated Films . In 1956, Toei purchased the studio and it was reincorporated under its current name...

 of Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 produced a TV anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 series of 53 episodes, based on 13 original Hamilton stories. Despite the strong cultural differences and the large gap between a literary work and animation, the series was close to the original in many ways, from the didactic scientific explanations to the emphasis on the usefulness of brains as opposed to brawn.

The series was translated in several languages and distributed globally. The four episodes comprising the series' second story arc were dubbed into English and released on video by ZIV International in the early 1980s as The Adventures of Captain Future. In the late 80s, Harmony Gold
Harmony Gold USA
Harmony Gold is a television production and distribution company established in 1983. It is best known as the “creator” and main distributor of the anime series Robotech. It also partially dubbed the Dragon Ball series in the late 1980s....

 dubbed the series' initial four-part story as an edited "TV movie" simply entitled Captain Future.

While only eight episodes in total were dubbed into English, the series met huge success particularly in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where the title and lead character's name were changed to "Capitaine Flam", in Italy with the translated title of "Capitan Futuro", in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 and Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 with the title "Capitán Futuro". The success in France and Italy was especially due to anthemic theme tunes (in the dubbed language) which became popular hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the French and Italian charts. The Arabic language version has the title of ( فارس الفضاء Faris al-Fadha'a) ("The Knight of Space") and it is considered one of the most popular anime series after being broadcast many times during the 1980s.

The series was also broadcast in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, where it appeared under its original title. However, this version was cut by about a quarter of the original length, which mainly affected violent scenes or those considered 'expendable' for the storylines. The reason for this was the misconception in its time that any Japanese anime was automatically meant for children, not for an older audience; the synchronisation studios simply disregarded the fact that in Japan the series was broadcast in the evening hours, hardly a suitable time for children to watch television. Another well-known title released in Germany at about the same time, Heidi, Girl of the Alps
Heidi, Girl of the Alps
is a 1974 anime series by Zuiyo Enterprises based on the Swiss novel "Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning" by Johanna Spyri . It was directed by Isao Takahata and features Yoichi Kotabe , Hayao Miyazaki .Heidi is one of several World Masterpiece Theater titles produced around the "classical...

, serves as one of many example cases for this misinterpretation.

The original incidental music was composed by Yuji Ohno
Yuji Ohno
is a Japanese jazz musician. Ohno is principally known for his musical scoring of Japanese anime television series, of which Lupin III, specifically the 1977 series Shin Rupan Sansei and the feature film The Castle of Cagliostro are his most well known works...

, while the English-dubbed version had a new soundtrack
A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the...

 composed by Mark Mercury
Mark Mercury
-Career:His music is self-described as "a blend of contemporary classical and futuristic music." Some is of the ambient and electronic style. He has several album releases under his own record label, Blue Chromium Records.-TV series:*Candy Candy...

. Mercury's work survived on the Latin American version, but a new opening was added for it, composed by Shuki Levy
Shuki Levy
Shuki Levy is a music composer and television writer, director, and executive producer. Levy's best known work is soundtrack compositions for children's television programs of the 1980s, such as Inspector Gadget, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, M.A.S.K., Dinosaucers, Dragon Quest, He-Man and the...

 and sung by Chilean performer Juan Guillermo Aguirre
Memo Aguirre
Juan Guillermo Aguirre , better known as Memo Aguirre, is a famous Chilean singer whose voice has been heard all over Latin America, particularly during the opening acts of superhero cartoon shows during the 1980s...

 (aka "Capitán Memo").

For the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 version, a completely new soundtrack was created by German composer Christian Bruhn. To this day, the soundtrack is considered cult and not only the theme song is still used as background music in many magazines and other shows. A soundtrack CD was released in 1995, and a remix called "The Final" by Phil Fuldner entered the top ten of the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Swiss
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 single charts in 1998. The German publisher Bastei Verlag released a Captain Future comic series with original adventures.

"The Death of Captain Future"

Allen Steele
Allen Steele
Allen Mulherin Steele, Jr. is an American science fiction author.Steele began publishing short stories in 1988. His early novels formed a future history beginning with Orbital Decay and continuing through Labyrinth of Night...

's more psychologically and socially complex novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

 "The Death of Captain Future" won the 1996 Hugo Award
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

 for Best Novella
Hugo Award for Best Novella
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

. It takes place not in the original space opera setting of the series but in a more realistic setting in which the Captain (or a man calling himself that) stands out as an anachronism.

Feature film

In March 2010 it was announced that German Director Christian Alvart
Christian Alvart
Christian Alvart is a German filmmaker and screenwriter.Prior to working in the film business Christian Alvart worked in various positions, most recently as a senior editor at Filmmagzin X-TRO. In 1999 he made his debut as a film director with the thriller Curiosity & the Cat, for which he also...

Pandorum is a 2009 German-British science fiction thriller film written by Travis Milloy, directed by Christian Alvart and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster. Filming began in Berlin in August 2008. Pandorum was released on September 25, 2009 in the United...

, Case 39
Case 39
Case 39 is a 2009 American horror film directed by Christian Alvart and starring Renée Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, and Ian McShane. The film was shot in Vancouver in late 2006 and was released theatrically in the UK, European and Latin American countries on August 13, 2009...

) secured the film rights for Captain Future and is working on a live-action Adaptation in 3D.

Other appearances

In the TV seriesThe Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show, along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head writers...

, a Captain Future magazine cover is featured as a wall poster beside the entrance door in Leonard
Leonard Hofstadter
Leonard Leakey Hofstadter, Ph.D., is a fictional character on the CBS television series The Big Bang Theory, portrayed by actor Johnny Galecki. Leonard is an experimental physicist from New Jersey who shares an apartment with colleague and best friend Sheldon Cooper...

's and Sheldon
Sheldon Cooper
Sheldon Lee Cooper, B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D. is a fictional character from Texas on the CBS television series The Big Bang Theory, portrayed by actor Jim Parsons...

's apartment.

External links

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