The 1980s was a huge time for action figures. Star Wars kicked off the trend. G.I. Joe, He-Man and the Transformers followed and were huge successes.
Not so successful (but successful enough) was DC Comics’ line of action figures called the Super Powers Collection.
The line of toys featured most of the superhero greats: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Second-banana characters, such as Flash, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel and Aquaman, were also in the line up. Later on, more obscure heroes, such as Orion, Mr. Miracle and Red Tornado, joined in.
Like most other action figure lines of the time, the Super Powers Collection reached beyond the borders of America. Soon French-, Spanish-, German- and Portuguese-speaking kids were pitting Batman against the Joker in their own back yards.
But apparently playing with the very American Superman was just a bit too much for some kids, because it wasn’t long until the toy company Gulliver Juguetes decided to add its own hero to the “Super Heroes” lineup.
Thus Captain Ray was born.
To do so, the toymakers at Gulliver took Aquaman’s head, Superman’s body and the Flash’s chest emblem and fused them together. After adopting a black, red and yellow paint scheme, a new hero emerged.
What’s even more interesting is that Captain Ray came complete with a bio to help the Colombian kids know just what to do with him. (Gulliver was a Brazilian company, but it appears Captain Ray was only distributed in Colombia.)
According to the back of Captain Ray’s package, he was really secret agent Francisco D’ardoine. And while he didn’t posses the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he was able to control the weather, direct lightning (both of which were quite helpful in the tropical climate) and store various kinds of energy.
He also had a set of enemies who never appeared as action figures: Captain Squad (should have been Captain Deathsquad if you ask me), Tigerwoman and LX230.
Another potential ally (or maybe an enemy) did appear as a “Super Heroes” figure: Hombre de las Nieves, which roughly translates to “The Abomidable Snowman.” (FYI: It’s suspected that Hombre is just a repaint of an old Hulk figure.)
So has Captain Ray ever appeared in a DC comic? Nope, it appears not, and its likely that DC doesn’t even own him as an intellectual property.
Instead, Captain Ray is likely owned by Gulliver Juguentes, and he has revived at least once under a toyline named Defensores De La Tierra, which translates to Defenders of the Earth. (Was that line related “Defenders of the Earth” the King Features Syndicate cartoon? That’s not clear.)
American collectors aren’t giving up on Captain Ray. He has his own Facebook page. Auctions for the figure sometimes pop up on eBay (though watch out for fakes). And toy customizers also frequently assemble their own versions of Captain Ray, using the pieces of Aquaman and Superman and then repainting their little Frankenstein creation.
In particular, there’s one blogger out there who’s done a lot of
research into Captain Ray. This guy says he’s been in touch with what is essentially “a
friend of a friend” to the person who actually created Captain Ray. Why
was Captain Ray created? Just because the guy wanted to and since that guy was in charge of the Super Powers line in Colombia/Brazil, he could.
By the way, that
blog, titled “Me, the Captain and I …,” is an attempt to gather all the information
on Captain Ray out there and convert it into a documentary as the
blogger searches high and low for Brazil’s most awesome entry into the world of
But by far, the coolest thing would be an official purchase of the Captain Ray character by DC Comics, and then the Green Flame would finally have some competition for the hearts and minds of South America’s citizens.
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