Series logo used in The First Epic Movie, adapted from the drawn style used since 1997
|Publisher||Blue Sky (US), |
|Published||September 1, 1997–present (Main series ended, while spin-offs are ongoing)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
Captain Underpants is a children's novel series by American author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. The series revolves around two fourth graders, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, living in Piqua, Ohio, and Captain Underpants, an aptly named superhero from one of the boys' homemade comic books, that accidentally becomes real when George and Harold hypnotize their ill-tempered principal, Mr. Krupp. Soon after, Krupp gains superpowers by drinking alien juices in the third book.
The series includes 12 books and three spin-offs, and won a Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Award on April 4, 2006. As of 2016, the series had been translated into over 30 languages, with more than 80 million books sold worldwide, including over 50 million in the United States. DreamWorks Animation acquired rights to the series to make an animated feature film adaptation, which was released on June 2, 2017 to positive reviews.
After the main series concluded with the twelfth novel, Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot, in 2015, a spin-off series titled Dog Man was released the following year. Currently the spin-off series has five books.
- 1 Characters
- 2 Novels
- 3 Controversy
- 4 Hiatus
- 5 Other media
- 6 Reception
- 7 International publishing
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- George Robert Beard and Harold Michael Hutchins – Two fourth grade pranksters, who are best friends and next-door neighbors and the main protagonists of the series. They started a comic book company called "Treehouse Comix, Inc.", and every so often at school they sneak to the secretary's office to make copies of their latest comic book and sell them on the playground for 50 cents. They are the class clowns in 4th grade at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, a school which discourages imagination and fun, located in Piqua, Ohio. They often get in trouble and serious events with Mr. Krupp. George in particular is described as very intelligent for his age, to the point where he could have skipped a grade at will, and only causes trouble at school because he finds school boring. Harold's birthday is March 6, and George's is July 11. George's future wife is named Lisa, while Harold's future husband is named Billy. George's parents are named Moses and Barbara, while Harold's mother is named Grace. In the film, they are respectively voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch and by Ramone Hamilton and Jay Gragnagi in the series.
- Principal Benjamin "Benny" Krupp – The overweight and cruel principal of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School and the antihero of the series (usually when no real dangers are happening). Mr. Krupp has a deep hatred of children, and also tries to protect Jerome Horwitz Elementary from George and Harold's antics. Why he is so mean to children in general is unknown, but it is hinted that it is because of his own troubled and dysfunctional past. Krupp's birthday is on April 1; he has a younger brother named Jasper (Kipper's father), and his parents are named John and Bernice. In the film, he is voiced by Ed Helms and in the series he is voiced by Nat Faxon.
- Captain Underpants – The alter ego of Mr. Krupp, when he is hypnotized to think he is "Captain Underpants," a character created by George and Harold. He only wears white briefs and a red cape with black polka-dots. Whenever Mr. Krupp hears the sound of fingers snapping, he turns into Captain Underpants, and he turns back into Mr. Krupp when he is soaked with water. Captain Underpants is considered to be the "light side" of Mr. Krupp himself, as he is nice and kind to everyone, especially children. In the film, he is voiced by Ed Helms and in the series he is voiced by Nat Faxon.
- Melvin Richard Sneedly – George and Harold's nerdy nemesis. He is an annoying snitch, a mechanical genius, the school brainiac, and a tattletale. His parents, Cindy and Gaylord, are professional scientists. In the film, he is voiced by Jordan Peele and in the series by Jorge Diaz.
- Sulu and Crackers – George and Harold's pets. Sulu was Melvin's abandoned pet bionic hamster after he yelled at Sulu which offended him, but afterward was adopted by George and Harold. Crackers is their pet Quetzalcoatlus they got when they traveled back in time with Melvin Sneedly's time machine.
- Mr. Kenny B. Meaner – Mr. Meaner is Jerome Horwitz Elementary School's gym teacher. He is depicted as being an overweight man, and with a personality similar to Mr. Krupp's. Like him, he is very cruel to students and often yells at them. He appears in the series, where he is depicted as being incredibly ignorant. In book 12, Meaner becomes Sir Stinks-A-Lot. Voiced by David Koechner in the tv series.
- Miss Edith Anthrope – The school secretary who is often shown to be in a bad mood. Like all the other teachers at the school including Mr. Krupp, she is unkind to children. She is slightly overweight, in contrast to most of the other teachers. In the movie, she is on hold for three days thinking she will win a contest with a cash prize of $1 billion. In the series, she voiced by Kristen Schaal and voiced by Patty Mattson where she is glum but yells "Fine!" A running gag in the series involves her entering Mr Krupp's office saying "Did you call me?" followed by something else she says.
- Mr. Morty Fyde – Mr. Fyde is the science teacher at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. He is not cruel like all the other grown ups in the school but rather dorky and stupid. The events of the first three books gradually cause him to believe himself insane and resign from his job to put himself in a mental institution (but in the movie Mr Krupp simply fires Fyde because he'd rather spend time with his family instead of judge the school science fair and Krupp considers this unacceptable). In the film, he is voiced by Mel Rodriguez. In the series he is voiced by Stephen Root, where he is released from the mental institution, though he becomes nervous around loud noise, which is unfortunate since an elementary school is based around noise. One of Melvin's inventions accidentally fuse Mr. Fyde with an avocado pit, turning him into a giant avocado monster named Avocadwoe that attacks everything that makes noise. Mr. Fyde is defeated when Captain Underpants turns him into an avocado tree in a peaceful forest, something that Fyde is content with.
- Miss Singerbrains – Miss Singerbrains is the librarian at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School who banned all but one of the books in the library and eventually closed down the library.
- Ms. Tara Ribble – Ms. Ribble is the homeroom teacher of George and Harold's 4th grade class. In book 5, she is hypnotized into becoming Wedgie Woman. voiced by Dee Dee Rescher in the movie and Laraine Newman in the TV series.
- Doctor Diaper (known as Doctor Nappy in the UK) – A diaper-clad mad scientist, and the first villain Captain Underpants ever faced.
- The Turbo Toilet 2000 – A giant toilet created by George and Harold, who was accidentally brought into the real world with a modified photocopier. In the film, it was now Melvin's invention that was also Poopypants' giant robot with his size ray.
- Zorx, Klax, and Jennifer – Three space aliens who planned to invade Piqua, Ohio. They disguised themselves as lunch ladies to turn the students of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School into Zombie Nerds by using Evil Zombie Nerd Juice.
- The Dandelion of Doom – A dandelion that drank alien rapid-growth juice, causing it to grow into a giant, evil monster.
- Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants (Later known as Tippy Tinkletrousers, and in the film as Prof. Pee-Pee Diarrheastien Poopypants Esq.) – A brilliant scientist who unfortunately comes from a foreign culture in which everyone has a silly name. In book 4, he forces everyone on earth to change their names into a silly one. After his defeat, Professor Poopypants changes his name to Tippy Tinkletrousers. In the film, he is voiced by Nick Kroll.
- Robo-George-and-Harold 2000 – Two giant robots built by Wedgie Woman based on George and Harold. They were totally obedient to Wedgie Woman, each had a vast arsenal of powerful weapons and gadgets and were programmed to destroy Captain Underpants once they heard him say "Tra-la-laaa!"
- The Bionic Booger Boy (Melvin Sneedly) – A fusion of Melvin Sneedly, boogers, and a super-powered robot. His growth is triggered by a field trip to a tissue factory.
- Carl, Trixie and Frankenbooger (The Three Robo-Boogers) – Boogers who all come from the Bionic Booger Boy. They all share a weakness to oranges, which Captain Underpants successfully used to destroy the rampaging trio of living mucus. Carl had the Bionic Booger Boy's legs, Trixie had the tentacles, and Frankenbooger had the arms. Whenever they eat, they become bigger and more evil.
- Evil George and Evil Harold – Alternative versions of George and Harold from an alternate dimension who are both intelligent and evil. They helped Captain Blunderpants and unlike the sketchy, amateurish George and Harold they are actually good authors and illustrators (ironically, the main George and Harold consider the alternative George and Harold's work inferior). Additionally, they also tended to change the signs into evil phrases (while their counterparts often change the signs into funny words).
- Captain Blunderpants – The opposite of Captain Underpants from an alternate dimension, who has a toupee and looks and acts more like Krupp, while the alternate Krupp is nice. Also his transformation is opposite; when water is splashed on him, he becomes the evil Captain Blunderpants and when someone snaps their fingers, he becomes nice Mr. Krupp.
- Kipper Krupp – A sixth-grade bully and Mr. Krupp's nephew, who would bully George, Harold and other children when they were all in kindergarten.
- Sir Stinks A Lot – Mr. Meaner later becomes the alter-ego of Sir-Stinks-A-Lot, an evil hypnotist. While in prison, Meaner transforms into a blob of pure energy after eating an egg salad sandwich.
The main series of novels has developed a pattern of alliteration from the second book on—with the exception of the third book, whose "annoyingly long" title becomes a running joke in future books.
Novels 6–12 in the main series form one unbroken story, in which the ending of each of such novel except the last is a cliffhanger, and the next novel in sequence immediately picks up where the last one left off.
Captain Underpants novels
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)
- Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (1999)
- Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) (1999)
- Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (2000)
- Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (2001)
- Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (2003)
- Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers (2003)
- Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People (2006)
- Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Re-Turn of Tippy Tinkletrousers (2012)
- Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers (2013)
- Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 (2014)
- Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (2015)
Captain Underpants activity books
- The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun (2001)
- The All-New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun 2 (2002)
- The Captain Underpants Super Silly Sticker Studio (2005)
Captain Underpants spin-offs
- The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (2002)
- The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future (2010)
- Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (2011)
- Dog Man (2016) (In full color)
- Dog Man Unleashed (2017) (In full color)
- Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (2017) (In full color)
- Dog Man and Cat Kid (2017) (In full color)
- Dog Man: Lord Of the Fleas (2018) (In full color)
- Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (2018) (In full color)
Captain Underpants collectors' editions
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Collectors' Edition (2001)
- Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets: Collectors' Edition (2007)
- Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds): Collectors' Edition (2008)
Captain Underpants collections
- The Tra-La-La Riffic Captain Underpants Collection/The First Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1–4; 1997–2000)
- Three More Wedgie-Powered Adventures in One (Books 4-6; 2006)
- The Second Captain Underpants Collection/The Tra-La-Larious Captain Underpants (Books 5–7 & Super Diaper Baby; 2001–2003)
- Captain Underpants: Three Pantastic Novels in One (Books 1–3; 1997–99)
- The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1–5; 1997–200)
- The Tra-La-La Tremendous Captain Underpants Collection (Books 5–8; 2001–2006)
- The Complete Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1–8; 1997–2006)
- The Captain Underpants Collectors' Edition Collection (Books 1–3 + 3 CD-Roms; 1997–1999, 2005–2008)
Captain Underpants in Full Color
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants (2013)
- Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (2014)
- Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) (2014)
- Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (2015)
- Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (2017)
- Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1, The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (2018)
The Captain Underpants books were reported by the American Library Association to be the most frequently challenged books in the year 2012. Dav Pilkey also mentioned this in his website. According to the American Library Association, Pilkey's Captain Underpants series was explicitly banned in some schools for insensitivity and being unsuited to age group, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority.
The American Library Association stated in a release by the National Coalition Against Censorship that "This year's #1 banned book, Captain Underpants... is the gift that keeps on giving. Why? Because these popular, silly books are read by parents, with their children, all over the country. The toilet humor makes parents roll their eyes and kids giggle. The absurdity of banning books in order to attack perceived moral problems is exemplified by this year's winner."
In 2007, Captain Underpants Halloween costumes created controversy at Long Beach High School in Long Island, New York. Three female students dressed up as Captain Underpants causing the principal, Nicholas Restivo, to enact a costume ban for all students. The three girls put on beige leotards and nude stockings under white briefs and red capes. According to Principal Restivo, "the appearance was that they were naked."
Although the first few books came out on a regular basis, the ninth book, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (advertised in a teaser at the end of the eighth book), wasn't released until 2012, after a six-year wait. During this time, Dav Pilkey was caring for his terminally ill father, who died in 2008. In 2009, he signed a deal with Scholastic for four new books, the first of which was The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, released August 10, 2010. The second was Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, released June 28, 2011. The third book, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers, was released August 28, 2012. The fourth book, Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers, was released January 16, 2013.
On October 20, 2011, it was reported that DreamWorks Animation had acquired rights to make an animated feature film based on the Captain Underpants series. On October 25, 2013, it was reported that Rob Letterman would direct the film, while Nicholas Stoller would write the script. It would have been the second film to have Letterman and Stoller working together, the first being Gulliver's Travels. On January 21, 2014, the cast was announced, with Ed Helms joining as Mr. Krupp/Captain Underpants; Kevin Hart as George Beard; Thomas Middleditch as Harold Hutchins; Nick Kroll as the insidious villain, Professor Poopypants; and Jordan Peele as Melvin, the nerdy nemesis of George and Harold.  On June 12, 2014, the film was scheduled for release on January 13, 2017. Following DreamWorks Animation's reorganization in early 2015, the studio announced that the film will be produced outside of the studio's pipeline at a significantly lower cost. It will be instead animated at Mikros Image in Montreal, Canada, and it will look differently than most of DWA's films. A month later, Deadline reported that Letterman had left the project, and that David Soren, the director of Turbo, was in talks to direct the film, but Letterman returned to the project and serves as an executive producer with Dav Pilkey. The film was expected to be released on March 10, 2017, but in September 2015, DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby took over its date. The film was released on June 2, 2017.
Censors in the United States have been targeting the Captain Underpants series after the first book was released in 1997. The Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association reported that Captain Underpants is the book series with the most complaints from libraries due to offensive content in the United States in 2012 and 2013. Several parents accused the book of having language inappropriate for the book's target audience, children enrolled in elementary schools.
Jessica Roake, in an article published in Slate, argued that the books are well suited for young readers. She wrote that "They're drawn to them because for the first time in their reading lives they are understood, entertained, and catered to all at once. It is theirs, not ours, and that feeling of exclusive ownership forges the kind of connection everyone should have with at least one book in their life. For that, most every English teacher of my acquaintance will be more than happy to take the shot to the ego the Captain provides."
- Brazil: Cosac Naify (published all 12 volumes before closing its activities in 2015) | Companhia das Letras (re-releases; 2017–present)
- Canada, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, India, Australia, New Zealand: Scholastic
- Catalan: Editorial Cruilla
- China: Nanhai Publishing Company
- Hong Kong: Thinkingdom/New Buds
- Taiwan: Commonwealth, Thinkingdom
- Croatia: Mozaik Knjiga
- Czech: Egmont, Baronet
- Denmark: Forlaget Sesam, Carlsen
- Finland: Tammi
- France: Le Petit Musc (books 1–4; first translation); Bayard Presse (books 1–6)
- Germany, Austria: Ueberreuter (books 1–5; first translation); Panini (books 1–12)
- Greece: Modern Times, Psichogios Publications
- Hungary: Ulpius-Haz
- Iceland: JPV Forlag
- Indonesia: Kompas Gramedia Group
- Israel: Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir
- Italy: Edizioni Piemme (Captain Underpants), Salani (Super Diaper Baby)
- Japan: Tokuma Shoten
- Korea: Gimm-Young Publishers, Inc.
- Latvia: Zvaigzne ABC
- Lithuanian: Alma littera
- Norway: Cappelen Damm (1st and 2nd books; first translation); Schibsted Forlag (1st to 8th book), Vigmostad & Bjørke (from 9th book).
- Poland: Egmont, Jaguar
- Portugal: Gradiva (Captain Underpants); Marcador (Dog-Man)
- Romania: Editura National; Art Grup Editorial
- Russia: Machiny Tvoreniya Publishing
- Slovenia: Zalozba Mladinska Knjiga
- Spain: Ediciones SM
- Sweden: Egmont Richters (books 1–6; first translation); Bonnier Carlsen (books 1–12)
- Thailand: Pearl Publishing
- Turkey: A.I. Iletisim/Altin Kitaplar
- Ukraine: Krajina Myri
- United Kingdom: Scholastic, TedSmart
- Vietnam: Nha Nam Publishing
- "Captain Underpants Saves The Day By Recruiting Top Comedy Talent To Voice New DreamWorks Animation Film". PR Newswire. January 21, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Kit, Borys (October 25, 2013). "Rob Letterman to Direct 'Captain Underpants' for DWA (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
- Lee Yandoli, Krystie (March 2, 2016). "Here's A Look Inside The New "Captain Underpants" Spin-Off Story". BuzzFeed. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- "'Captain Underpants' author goes digital". Yahoo!. January 12, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
- "Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers". Amazon. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- "Scholastic To Publish Two New Captain Underpants Books By Worldwide Bestselling Author Dav Pilkey, Plus Newly Re-Illustrated Editions Of Pilkey's Ricky Ricotta Series, With All New Full-Color Art By Bestselling Artist Dan Santat". PR Newswire. October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- "Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space: Color Edition". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: Color Edition". Amazon. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
- "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century". American Library Association. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- "Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2002". American Library Association. Archived from the original on October 26, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century". American Library Association.
- "STATE OF CENSORSHIP: UNABRIDGED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OUR PARTICIPANTS". National Coalition Against Censorship.
- "Elementary parents notified of gay character in children's book". Monica Scott.
- Schaub, Michael (October 27, 2015). "'Captain Underpants' banned from school book fair over gay character". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- "N.Y. School Bans Halloween Costumes". NPR. October 29, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- Italie, Hillel (March 18, 2010). "'Captain Underpants' Is Back: Author Dav Pilkey Signs On For Four More Books". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- "What's Up with the Next Book, Bub". Dav Pilkey official site. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
- Fleming, Mike (October 19, 2011). "DreamWorks Animation Wins Auction For 'Captain Underpants' Feature Film Rights". Deadline. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "DreamWorks Animation Release Dates Include Madagascar 4". Collider.com. November 20, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Lieberman, David (January 22, 2015). "DreamWorks Animation Restructuring To Cut 500 Jobs With $290M Charge". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- Graser, Marc (January 22, 2015). "Jeffrey Katzenberg on DWA's Cutbacks: '3 Films a Year Was Too Ambitious". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
"Trolls," set for a 2016 release, will be the first film to be made with the $120 million budget.
- Fleming Jr., Mike (February 26, 2015). "Rob Letterman Doffs 'Captain Underpants'; 'Turbo's David Soren Being Fitted For DWA Pic". Deadline. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Wolfe, Jennifer (December 2, 2016). "Rob Letterman Helming Legendary's 'Detective Pikachu' Pokémon Movie". Animation World Network. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
- McClintock, Pamela (September 18, 2015). "Hugh Jackman's 'Greatest Showman on Earth' Pushed a Year to Christmas 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- "Theatrical Movie Schedule Changes and Additions". Box Office Mojo. March 27, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
- Coggan, Devan (December 24, 2016). "Captain Underpants leaps to the big screen in exclusive first look". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
- Kofi Outlaw. "Netflix and Dreamworks Announce She-Ra, Trolls, Captain Underpants and More". ComicBook.com. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Milligan, Mercedes (June 20, 2018). "DreamWorks 'Epic Tales of Captain Underpants' Opener Undressed". Animation Magazine.
- Roake, Jessica. "One Nation, Underpants." (also "Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books: Why kids love them, and parents should make peace with them.:") Slate. September 7, 2012. Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
- "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century." American Library Association. Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
- Engel, Pamela. "Why 'Captain Underpants' Is The Most Banned Book In America." Business Insider. September 26, 2013. Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
- "木坂涼さんのまき Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.." (Archive) Tokuma Shoten. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.