Among the least likely things one might expect of a well organised and vibrant organisation devoted to the furthering of choral music in Australia such as AICSA is the fact that it has its very own superhero. Forget Spiderman, Wonder Woman, or even Mighty Mouse, and prepare to be entrusted to the safekeeping of the world’s most affable and utilitarian proto-deity, CAPTAIN MONUX. To whom does one turn when one inexplicably loses one’s voice just before a concert? Think not that you might just have been struck down by a particularly ill-timed lurgy; no, you too could be an unsuspecting victim of the evil and dastardly Nick Orff. Next time you look over to the tenor section of your choir and think that the shy, retiring third tenor in the second back row is not really too unattractive at all, just stop for a moment and ponder: Could he really be the mild-mannered Barry Tone, prepared to transform himself into that miraculous hero you have heard so much about? But wait! I can’t hear you singing any more …
Largely (in fact, wholly) the creation of the fertile minds of Bill Collopy and Simon Johnson, Captain Monux first appeared to save the choral universe in 1979. In truth, Captain Monux is not an AICSA superhero at all, but comes from far humbler stock in the backwoods of MonUCS. The original episodes appeared in the MonUCS newsletter Lust of Life, in the fourth issue for 1979. By the fourth episode, Collopy and Johnson had been elected as [:Erato Editors:editors] of Erato, and they took the opportunity, albeit anonymously, to publish their comic on a national scale in issue number 34 (1980). The subject matter remained the same (evil genious sets out to destroy the musical world but is foiled by the mild-mannered Barry Tone, alias Captain Monux), but the “plot was tailored for its new national audience with much of the action occurring interstate”. The final instalment was printed in Erato no.42 (1983), although brief snippets did appear in Bullsheets One and Two issued for [:MIV1983:Melbourne IV] during 1983, and in the associated FIBS. As the noted editor of the collected chronicles of Captain Monux, Aaron A. Geestrang, points out in his concise Afterword:
"There has never been anything like Captain Monux in the whole intervarsity choral movement, and some critics would argue that this is a good thing. To be sure, at its worst it was forced and inept and would not have even made it into a sub-standard third term rehearsal-camp revue. However, at its best it attained a high standard of satire and deserves to sit alongside such choral institutions as Cecil Duck, Jabberwocky and Bazza’s Hat … Captain Monux lives on in spirit to give solace and hope to all those choirs across the world whose concerts are in jeopardy and whose tenors are flat."
References: William J. Collopy and Simon R. Johnson. Faster than a Speeding Arpeggio: Captain Monux – A Choral Phenomenon; the Complete Adventures of Captain Monux (edited by Aaron A. Geestrang), Clayton, Vic.: Cherub Press, [:MonUCS:Monash University Choral Society], 1987.