Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants

Author Dav Pilkey
Illustrator Dav Pilkey
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Blue Sky (US),
Scholastic (US)
Published 1997-2015 (spin-offs from 2002-present)
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 aggressive principal, Mr. Krupp. Soon after, Mr. Krupp gains superpowers by drinking alien juices.

The series includes 13 books and 3 spin-offs, and won a Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Award on April 4, 2006. As of 2016, the series had been translated in over 20 languages,[1] with more than 70 million books sold worldwide,[1] of that, over 50 million in the United States.[2] DreamWorks Animation acquired rights to the series to make an animated feature film adaptation.






The main series of Captain Underpants novels has developed a pattern of alliteration from the fourth book on—with the exception of the third book, whose "annoyingly long" title becomes a running joke in future books.

Captain Underpants novels

  1. The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)
  2. Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (1999)
  3. 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)
  4. Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (2000)
  5. Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (2001)
  6. Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (2003)
  7. Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers (2003)
  8. Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People (2006)
  9. Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Re-Turn of Tippy Tinkletrousers (2012)[4]
  10. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers (2013)[5]
  11. Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 (2014)[6]
  12. Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (2015)[6]

Captain Underpants activity books

  1. The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun (2001)
  2. The All-New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun 2 (2002)
  3. The Captain Underpants Super Silly Sticker Studio (2005)

Captain Underpants spin-offs

  1. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (2002)
  2. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future (2010)
  3. Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (2011)
  4. Dog Man (2016) (In full color)
  5. Dog Man Unleashed (2017) (In full color)
  6. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Jr.: Kung-Fu Cavekids in Outer Space (TBA)
  7. Super Diaper Baby 3: Petey's Revenge (TBA)

Captain Underpants collectors' editions

  1. The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Collectors' Edition (2005)
  2. Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets: Collectors' Edition (2007)
  3. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space: Collectors' Edition (2008)

Captain Underpants collections

Captain Underpants in Full Color


Book bans

The Captain Underpants books were reported by the American Library Association to be the most frequently challenged books in the year 2012.[9] Dav Pilkey also mentioned this in his website. According to the American Library Association, Pilkey's Captain Underpants series was banned in some schools for insensitivity and being unsuited to age group, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority.[10][11]

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 potty 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."[12]

In October 2015, the 12th book received controversy due to a reference to Harold being gay. Some elementary schools have banned the book for this reason.[13][14]


In 2006, 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."[15]


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.[16] 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.[17] 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 has acquired rights to make an animated feature film based on the Captain Underpants series.[18] On October 25, 2013, it was reported that Rob Letterman would direct the film, while Nicholas Stoller would write the script.[2] 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. [1] On June 12, 2014, the film was scheduled for release on January 13, 2017.[19] 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.[20] It will be instead animated at Mikros Image in Montreal, Canada, and it will look differently than most of DWA's films.[21] 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,[22] but Letterman returned to the project and serves as co-director.[23] The film was expected to be released on March 10, 2017,[22] but in September 2015, DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby took over its date.[24] The film is now scheduled for release on June 2, 2017.[25]


Censors in the United States have targeted the Captain Underpants books after the first one was released in 1997.[26] 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.[27] Several parents accused the book of having language inappropriate for the book's target audience, children enrolled in elementary schools.[28]

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."[26]

Distribution outside the USA


  1. 1 2 3 "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.
  2. 1 2 Kit, Borys (October 25, 2013). "Rob Letterman to Direct 'Captain Underpants' for DWA (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  3. "New Book in Popular 'Captain Underpants' Series Has Gay Surprise for Readers". Frontiers Media. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  4. "'Captain Underpants' author goes digital". Yahoo!. January 12, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  5. "Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers". Amazon. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "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.
  7. "Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space: Color Edition". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  8. "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: Color Edition". Amazon. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  9. "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century". American Library Association. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  10. "Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2002". American Library Association. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  11. "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century". American Library Association.
  13. "Elementary parents notified of gay character in children's book". Monica Scott.
  14. Schaub, Michael (October 27, 2015). "'Captain Underpants' banned from school book fair over gay character". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  15. "N.Y. School Bans Halloween Costumes". NPR. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  16. Italie, Hillel (2010-03-18). "'Captain Underpants' Is Back: Author Dav Pilkey Signs On For Four More Books". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  17. "What's Up with the Next Book, Bub". Dav Pilkey official site. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  18. Fleming, Mike (October 19, 2011). "DreamWorks Animation Wins Auction For 'Captain Underpants' Feature Film Rights". Deadline. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  19. "DreamWorks Animation Release Dates Include Madagascar 4". 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  20. Lieberman, David (January 22, 2015). "DreamWorks Animation Restructuring To Cut 500 Jobs With $290M Charge". Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  21. 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.
  22. 1 2 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.
  24. 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.
  25. "Theatrical Movie Schedule Changes and Additions". Box Office Mojo. March 27, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  26. 1 2 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.
  27. "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century." American Library Association. Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
  28. Engel, Pamela. "Why 'Captain Underpants' Is The Most Banned Book In America." Business Insider. September 26, 2013. Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
  29. "木坂涼さんのまき Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.." (Archive) Tokuma Shoten. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.

External links

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