Out of the Vault – Cap’n Quick and a Foozle

EclipseMonthlyCover1Coming in a day late, sorry. Still trying to adjust my time management to an overnight schedule.

Last week, we revisited a story published by Eclipse titled “Slab,” which was a reworking of a Steve Englehart Superman/Creeper story he had pulled from DC. It was first published in a short-lived black-and-white anthology titled Eclipse Magazine. In 1983, Eclipse revived the anthology idea in a color comic book titled Eclipse Monthly. Featured series included Rio, a hard-bitten Western by Jonny Quest creator Doug Wildey, another oddball Steve Ditko creation titled Static (not related to the later DC/Milestone character), The Masked Man by B.C. Boyer, and an adaptation by Trina Robbins of Sax Rohmer’s Dope, a tale of heroic British investigators on the trail of fiendish Chinese opium dealers in which the racism was apparently okay because it was ironic or something.

Oh yeah, and the Foozle returned in Cap’n Quick and a Foozle.

This time, Rogers took over the writing as well as the art. Instead of using the science-fictional future as drag to disguise a super-hero story, however, this time the Foozle’s world became an other-dimensional fantasy world, like OZ or Neverwhere or, perhaps most fittingly, the Fuzzies-in-Space adventure Bucky O’Hare, right down to the precocious genius human child who crosses over thanks to his invention. The story opens with an unnamed protagonist in a basement workshop using his dad’s tools to make a special pair of shoes.

CapnQuickShadowFace

Not sure why we’re never shown the kid’s face clearly. Rogers quits the black shadow effect after this page, maybe because it makes the kid look evil, but the face is either colored dark, dark blue or bright yellow under the work light, and then only in profile. There’s never a good full-face shot. Also, like most of Rogers’s work, important details are hard to make out because of color gimmicks. In this case, there’s a shadowy hooded figure in every panel who is printed only in blue as a color hold. The shadowy figure pokes his finger into the kid’s head, causing him to hiccup as he’s soldering important connections. The shoes are intended to make the kid able to physically enter video games, and to that end, the kid has taken his father’s video game controller to use with the shoes. He also makes himself a superhero costume with a fuzzy blanket for a cape and his grandfather’s old leather flying helmet with goggles so Rogers doesn’t have to keep drawing the kid’s face in shadow.

But when the shoes are finished and the kid gives them a test run, he ends up somewhere very else, namely a dive bar on an alien world where he crashes into a group of thugs threatening a man with an alien black bird. The pair flee with the kid in tow and end up hiding in a bathroom. The black alien bird is a Foozle named Klonsbon (and there’s never any allusion that he shares an identity with a mysterious female reporter–in fact, Foozles seem to be an entire alien race now), and the man is named Big Bill. The kid, whom the Foozle dubs “Cap’n,” dropped his dad’s video game controller in the bar and can’t get back home without it. So Big Bill leads the thugs away while Klonsbon returns to the bar with the Cap’n, who is promptly captured by secret police clones dubbed “Pseudopheds.”

Thus begin the Cap’n’s adventures while Klonsbon tries to track the kid down with the help of a group of oddballs.

CapnQuickSupport

This should give you an idea of the ‘anything goes’ spirit of the thing. There’s a character who’s selling stuff out of the same Acme catalog that Wile E. Coyote ordered his stuff out of (he even ordered the same bat-suit)…

batsuit

A character with almost no cognitive function who can copy items with a touch, and yes, that is a living cartoon glove flying around with them in panels 1 and 3. Meanwhile, the Cap’n escapes from captivity when he discovers his shoes now let him run super-fast. He falls in with a gang of street urchins who dub him Cap’n Quick and determine to help get his controller back from the Pseudopheds. The Pseudopheds are controlled by a cabal of anthropomorphic rats. You know they’re evil because they look like conservative political figures from the 70’s and 80’s, like Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher and Menachem Begin. The cabal work for a mysterious shadowy someone who seems to be connected to the phantom which helped the Cap’n make his magic shoes.

CapnQuickRats

After four issues of Eclipse Monthly (which wasn’t–it took six months to publish the first four issues), the series then moved to its own book, Cap’n Quick & a Foozle. The first issue, which came out six months after it left Eclipse Monthly, featured the wrap-up of the first storyline, in which Klonsbon and Cap’n Quick reunite to bring down the evil rats with the help of ┬átheir new friends and the Cap’n’s cat, who followed him through the dimensional portal and who also happens to be sentient.

CapnQuickCover1It was nine months before the second issue appeared, and it soon became apparent that Rogers had no idea where the story was going next. Klonsbon and the Cap’n left their friends and ended up stranded in space, then on a strange planet populated by parodies of characters like Judge Dredd, Mandrake the Magician (or maybe all comics magicians, since he seems to be a combination of Mandrake/Zatara and Ibis the Invincible) and Lenny and George from Of Mice and Men. The issue ended with the pair using the Cap’n’s shoes to go through the dimensional portal. Would they end up back in the Capn’s basement, or somewhere even weirder?

We would never find out the answer, because the next issue, which did not see print for another five months, was titled simply The Foozle and (as recounted last week) reprinted the original Superman/Creeper knock-off story with an unrelated back-up story titled “R.S.V.P.” by Oklahoma natives John Wooley and Terry Tidwell, who would later collaborate on The Twilight Avenger and The Miracle Squad.

And that was it. The pair are still lost in that interdimensional void, and since Rogers died in 2007, that’s probably where they’ll stay forever.

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One Response to Out of the Vault – Cap’n Quick and a Foozle

  1. Mike Woolson says:

    Thanks for writing this. Eclipse Monthly was one of the first comics I used to wean myself off of standard superhero stuff, and at the time Cap’n Quik was one of the coolest things I’d read. I spent hours staring at all the details in Rogers’ art, and months waiting for the next installment, only to be left hanging interdimensionally.

    It’s strange and sad to me that nobody remembers this comic, I thought it was great.

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