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When did Captain Underpants come out in color?

Captain Underpants, the popular children’s book series created by Dav Pilkey, was originally released in black and white illustrations. However, in 2002 the series began being printed in full color. Here’s an overview of when Captain Underpants came out in color:

Original Captain Underpants Books (1997-1999)

The first Captain Underpants book, titled The Adventures of Captain Underpants, was published in 1997. It featured black and white illustrations by Dav Pilkey. The next three books in the series were also published in black and white:

  • 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 (1999)

Transition to Color (2002)

Beginning in 2002 with the fifth book in the series, Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman, the Captain Underpants books started being printed in full color instead of black and white. Dav Pilkey brought his hilarious comic-style illustrations to life with vibrant colors.

Some key dates in the transition to color:

Book Release Date Color or Black & White
The Adventures of Captain Underpants 1997 Black & White
Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman 2002 Full Color

So 2002’s Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman marked the first time a Captain Underpants book was available in full color.

Later Colorized Editions

After the series transitioned to color in 2002, later editions of the first four black and white Captain Underpants books were reprinted in color. So current versions found in bookstores today feature Pilkey’s color illustrations.

However, first edition copies of the original black and white versions are still prized by collectors. They provide an interesting look at the early comic-style artwork before the addition of color.


In summary, Captain Underpants was originally released from 1997-1999 with black and white illustrations. In 2002, the series switched to full color beginning with the fifth book. All Captain Underpants books published since 2002, as well as current editions of the first four titles, feature Dav Pilkey’s vibrant color artwork that brings these fun stories to life.

So 2002 marked the major transition point when Captain Underpants came out in color. This change allowed Pilkey to showcase his humorous cartoons, wacky characters, and zany stories in full color. The popularity of the series continued to grow, delighting young readers with the adventures of the Waistband Warrior – Captain Underpants!