US Stamps

Captain Hook pirates his way into May cartoon caption contest

May 1, 2024, 10 AM
The cartoon caption contest image for May is the Captain Hook stamp from the 2017 Disney Villians pane of 10. Entries must be received by May 24 for a chance to win a prize.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Did you know that Captain Hook, the iconic villain in J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan, has a first name? It is James; James Hook.

Captain Hook is featured on one of the stamps in the Disney Villains pane of 10 stamps issued July 15, 2017 (Scott 5213-5222). That nondenominated (49¢) forever stamp (Scott 5271) will serve as the cartoon caption contest stamp for May.

The 1953 Disney adaptation of Peter Pan softened Captain Cook’s image, casting him in the role of comic villain, something of a dandy who has lost the hard edge of the original callous, bloodthirsty pirate.

There is a reason for this: Disney did not want to frighten the young people who would make up a large share of its film audiences.

Regardless of whether you like the harder or softer image, Captain Hook with his rapacious self-interest translates well into the modern era, and I challenge you to think about how he would react to the 21st century.

Put yourself in his pirate persona and tell me what he might be thinking or saying about stamp collecting, the business of being a pirate, moviemaking, politics or anything else that comes to mind.

There will be two prizes given to the winners: one for the best philatelic line and one for the best nonphilatelic line.

Put your entry (or entries) on a postcard if possible and send it to me, John Hotchner, Cartoon Contest, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125; or email it to If you send an email, it is essential that you include your postal mailing address.

For each winner, the prize will be a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). Entries must reach me no later than May 24.

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