Country United States
|Illustrator Dav Pilkey|
|Series Captain Underpants series|
Genre Children's novel, Humor
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is an American children's novel by Dav Pilkey, the first novel in the Captain Underpants series. It was published on September 1, 1997, and became a hit with children ages 6–8 (mainly boys) across America.
Fourth graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins are best friends and the troublemakers of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Aside from pulling numerous pranks, the two sell comic books on the military playground featuring superheroes they created, the newest being "The Amazing Captain Underpants". One day, they pull their latest prank, a series of practical jokes at the school's football game. They sprinkle black pepper in the cheerleaders' pom-poms, causing them to have a short sneezing fit. Harold and George also pour bubble bath in the marching band's instruments, fill up the game ball with helium, and replace the players' muscle-rub ointment with itching cream, and so on and so forth. The next day, their mean-spirited, child-hating principal, Mr. Krupp, who especially loathes them for their pranks, reveal to them that he installed tiny surveillance cameras all over the school and now has a VHS tape which holds over-head footage of them preparing all of their pranks. Now that he finally has proof to use against them after being forced to endure their antics for countless years, Mr. Krupp blackmails George and Harold for their actions, threatening to give the video to the football team unless they obey.
As per the blackmail, George and Harold are forced to wake up at 6:00 A.M. everyday to wash Mr. Krupp's car, clean his office during lunch, pull no pranks during school, not smiling at all during school time, do yard work after school, and receive extra homework. In order to escape this, George orders a "3-D Hypno-Ring", a hypnosis device, from the Li'l Wiseguy Company, which they receive after 4–6 weeks of grueling labor. Purposefully arriving late to school the next day, the boys use the ring to hypnotize Mr. Krupp and take the video, which Harold replaces with one of his little sister's "Boomer the Purple Dragon" (a fictional version of "Barney the Purple Dinosaur") sing-along videos. Now free from Mr. Krupp's threat, the two begin goofing off, taking back some of the things that Mr. Krupp had taken from them over the years and using the ring to make Mr. Krupp act like a chicken, and then a monkey. George finally hypnotizes Mr. Krupp to act as if he were Captain Underpants. George and Harold burst out laughing when they see that Mr. Krupp, in his underwear and a red cape with black polka-dots (a curtain), actually looks a lot like the Captain Underpants in their comic books. However, the prank backfires when Mr. Krupp jumps out the window to fight crime. Knowing that they would be responsible if something happened to Mr. Krupp, the boys grab some supplies (as well as Mr. Krupp's clothes) before chasing after their principal.
"Captain Underpants" eventually confronts two bank robbers, and orders them to "Surrender! Or I will have to resort to 'Wedgie Power!" The bank robbers fall down in hysterics and are apprehended by the police. The police begin to arrest Captain Underpants too, who is fortunately, whisked to safety on the boys' skateboards. Before the boys are able to change their principal back to normal, the trio witnesses two robots stealing a large crystal. Captain Underpants tries to stop them, but his cape gets caught on their van, and he (along with George and Harold clinging to him by the heels), is dragged to an old, abandoned warehouse. There, the trio meet the evil Dr. Diaper (a mad scientist who wears a diaper), who plans to use the crystal as the transformer for his Laser-Matic 2000 to blow up the Moon, destroying every major city on Earth, so that he can take over the planet. George and Harold escape and hide, but Captain Underpants is captured and tied up.
George uses a slingshot to toss a fake doggy doo-doo between Dr. Diaper's feet. Dr. Diaper is terribly embarrassed, thinking that he has had an "accident". While he departs to change his diaper, George and Harold destroy the robots and free Captain Underpants. Harold pulls the self-destruct lever on the Laser-Matic 2000, mistaking it for an "off" switch.
Dr. Diaper returns from his diaper change, enraged at the destruction of the Laser-Matic 2000, his robots, and the foiling of his plans, aims his Diaper-Matic 2000 ray gun (which resembles a pacifier) at George, Harold, and Captain Underpants. Captain Underpants shoots a pair of underwear (it is later revealed it was his own underwear, as he is shown wearing a barrel soon after) at Dr. Diaper. The underwear covers Dr. Diaper's face, which renders him incapable of defending himself. The four manage to escape the warehouse before it explodes, and Dr. Diaper is tied (with the same rope used to tie Captain Underpants up earlier) to a lamppost outside the police station with a note reading "Arrest Me!" taped to him.
George, Harold, and Captain Underpants return to Mr. Krupp's office and dress Captain Underpants back up as Mr. Krupp. The boys try to figure out how to return Mr. Krupp to his normal self, but they've lost the instruction manual for the 3-D Hypno-Ring. In desperation, George dumps water from a vase on Mr. Krupp's head. It works, and Mr. Krupp returns to his angry self, resolving to give the video to the football team. After Mr. Krupp leaves the office, George finds the 3D Hypno Ring's manual, but throws it away, no longer believing they need it (unknown to them, the manual warns that pouring water over a person in a trance will cause them to switch between reality and trance whenever they hear someone snap their fingers). As it turns out, the football team enjoys the Sing-A-Long video so much that they try to change their name from the Horwitz Knuckleheads to the Purple Dragon Sing-A-Long Friends (which didn't go so well with the fans). George and Harold return to their mischievous ways, but from this point on, whenever Mr. Krupp hears somebody snap their fingers, he transforms back into Captain Underpants.
Comic: The Adventures of Captain Underpants
The comic in the book starts with bad guys taking over the world, while the superheroes (including Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman and Batman) are too old to fight them. Captain Underpants suddenly appears, and the introduction comes in.
Meanwhile, at a nearby school, the cafeteria gives the children the "Stinky Taco Surprise", so the children throw it away. The wasted food comes to life as the Inedible Hunk (a parody of The Incredible Hulk), which causes chaos in the school. Captain Underpants rapidly shoots underwear at the monster, but it doesn't work, as the Hunk eats them. So the Captain runs, and the Inedible Hunk chases him until it gets too tired to chase Captain Underpants. The Captain heads to the bathroom and suggests that the monster takes a drink to quench its thirst. While the Inedible Hunk drinks from the toilet, Captain Underpants flushes the monster down the drain.
The first printings of the book have "An Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey" instead of "The First Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey"