Captain Klutz takes more than one bound. Artist: Don Martin.


Original Medium: Paperback comics
Under the aegis of: Mad magazine
First Appeared: 1967
Creator: Don Martin
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Captain Klutz shares a common bond with both Flaming Carrot and Supersnipe — all three became superheroes by …

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… reading massive quantities of comic books. And he has a second bond with Supersnipe, this one shared with Forbush-Man and The Red Tornado — all wear red flannel long johns as major elements of their costumes.

But Klutz does have one distinction that is all his. No other superhero in all the world is powered by the unique wit of Don Martin, who for several decades was billed as "Mad's maddest artist".

Klutz first appeared in 1967, at the height of the Batman TV craze. He debuted in a paperback book from Signet Books, part of their Mad line. Tho that line consisted mostly of reprints from the magazine, The Mad Adventures of Captain Klutz, by Don Martin, contained all new material. Aside from Martin himself, who did all the artwork and is credited with some of the scripting, writers of that volume include Dick DeBartolo, Phil Hahn and Jack Hanrahan.

Captain Klutz was, in reality, Ringo Fonebone (no relation). As a child, Ringo did nothing other than read Brap Man, The Blue Blockhead, Babboon Boy, and other comic books, leaving him with little aptitude for normal human activities. In an improbable series of mishaps connected with a bungled attempt at suicide, he accidentally foiled a bank robbery while wearing a silly outfit that could pass for a superhero suit. Stricken with temporary amnesia, he accepted the foiled robber's assessment of him; and when the police captain asked who he was, replied, "I'm … I'm … a klutz, captain …" Other policemen, with imperfect hearing preminiscent of Marvel's second attempt at a Captain Marvel character, promptly dubbed him Captain Klutz.

Thus was a legend born. With the able assistance of Police Chief O'Freenbean, Captain Klutz went on to face Sissy Man, Mervin the Mad Bomber, Comrade Stupidska and many other menaces to law-abiding people everywhere.

Captain Klutz also appeared in Don Martin Carries On (1973), Don Martin Steps Further Out (1975), Don Martin Forges Ahead (1977) and Don Martin Digs Deeper (1979). Finally, he got another book of his own, Captain Klutz II (1983).

Don Martin left Mad in 1987. He died in 2000. Since the Captain Klutz character is jointly owned by him and EC Publications, publisher of Mad, that ended the possibility of more Captain Klutz stories.

But the ones he did create are readily available to new readers. What's more, like all of Martin's humor, his Captain Klutz material is as funny today as when it first appeared.


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Text ©2001-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © EC Publications and Estate of Don Martin.