Will the real Captain Marvel please stand up.

Will the real Captain Marvel please stand up.

Sat, 2017-12-02 15:42

In the '40s when I was a slip of a lad my favourite superhero was Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics 02 (cover-dated Feb.1940) It was published by Fawcett, written by Bill Parker and drawn by C.C.Beck.
America it seems shared my interest and it was at that time the USA's most popular comic superhero too.
DC Comics put a stop to that.
The war had just ended and we kids didn't see many American comics bur there was some choice.
The way I remember it, Batman was going through a stage of dodgy drawing and writers preoccupied with giant sized everyday objects. Seven or eight years old and I thought them silly.
Superman I thought of as 'scientific', in as much as, given the original premise of his abilities derived from an extraterrestrial origin, the means he found to solve problems made sense - putting forest fires out with some convenient iceberg for instance, using friction to create heat, that kind of class room science. He was an adult who was busy getting things done.
By contrast, i n Captain Marvel comics Billy Batson was a boy not much older than myself who by magic could become a super-power endowed hero. Imagine how appealing that was. Great.
In 1972 DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett. In 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. They subsequently, and I quote, " integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe" and "attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success".
They muffed it.
C.C. Beck's Captain Marvel was a big man but didn't look like someone who tried to win cups at body building contests.. Bill Parker's Captain Marvel was kind and avuncular. He was the centre of a family. A nice guy.
With magic powers.
Parker's Captain Marvel had the innocence of the best children's stories, something akin to fairy tales.
DC Comics - trying to incorporate Captain Marvel into the same setting and with the same assumptions as Superman and all the other troubled heroes in their gritty world of 'reality' - worked at, and managed, to lose all the charm of the original.. The early Captain Marvel had something in common with the Wizard of Oz movie, Superman was to become 'Metropolis'.
Both terrific but not compatible.
The world finished up with a Captain Marvel who isn't Captain Marvel and somebody called Shazam. Hollywood are now making movies of both and I would be curious to see at least one of them. To satisfy my curiosity I would risk the heart break of seeing what they make of Billy Batson.

There is an essay on the appeal of Captain Marvel at -
http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/bill-parker-c-cb...

Brief history - https://steemit.com/captain-marvel/@goldenage/golden-age-superheroes-cap...

In the '40s when I was a slip of a lad my favourite superhero was Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics 02 (cover-dated Feb.1940) It was published by Fawcett, written by Bill Parker and drawn by C.C.Beck.
America it seems shared my interest and it was at that time the USA's most popular comic superhero too.
DC Comics put a stop to that.
The war had just ended and we kids didn't see many American comics bur there was some choice.
The way I remember it, Batman was going through a stage of dodgy drawing and writers preoccupied with giant sized everyday objects. Seven or eight years old and I thought them silly.
Superman I thought of as 'scientific', in as much as, given the original premise of his abilities derived from an extraterrestrial origin, the means he found to solve problems made sense - putting forest fires out with some convenient iceberg for instance, using friction to create heat, that kind of class room science. He was an adult who was busy getting things done.
By contrast, i n Captain Marvel comics Billy Batson was a boy not much older than myself who by magic could become a super-power endowed hero. Imagine how appealing that was. Great.
In 1972 DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett. In 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. They subsequently, and I quote, " integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe" and "attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success".
They muffed it.
C.C. Beck's Captain Marvel was a big man but didn't look like someone who tried to win cups at body building contests.. Bill Parker's Captain Marvel was kind and avuncular. He was the centre of a family. A nice guy.
With magic powers.
Parker's Captain Marvel had the innocence of the best children's stories, something akin to fairy tales.
DC Comics - trying to incorporate Captain Marvel into the same setting and with the same assumptions as Superman and all the other troubled heroes in their gritty world of 'reality' - worked at, and managed, to lose all the charm of the original.. The early Captain Marvel had something in common with the Wizard of Oz movie, Superman was to become 'Metropolis'.
Both terrific but not compatible.
The world finished up with a Captain Marvel who isn't Captain Marvel and somebody called Shazam. Hollywood are now making movies of both and I would be curious to see at least one of them. To satisfy my curiosity I would risk the heart break of seeing what they make of Billy Batson.

There is an essay on the appeal of Captain Marvel at -
http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/bill-parker-c-cb...

Brief history - https://steemit.com/captain-marvel/@goldenage/golden-age-superheroes-cap...

Comments

Hi Arthur,

Wow! Someone needs to explain 'Stranger Danger' to Billy! If ever there was a shifty-looking character, the fella in the trench-coat is it!

So,when they stopped with those Captain Marvels, Arthur, what did you do?Move on to something else, or did you discover Marvelman? The story behind that creation is one I know well because it ties into the eventual masterpiece that is Miracleman (love that name) by Alan Moore! Have you read it? There are some sites on the internet with an archive of comics for your enjoyment (readcomiconline(dot)to) if you ever find the time.

Have you seen all the DC revivals? What's your take on the Jerry Ordway-penned "Power of Shazam" series from the 90s? I've seen some of it, looks good and competent.

I have an issue with anything after that whole New 52 fiasco DC pulled,and the influence of Geoff Johns.

Of course we all know that with Marvel Comics owning the copyright on the word 'Marvel',despite using it later than the creation of Captain Marvel, DC can't call him, well, couldn't call him by his name on the covers of their publications.

Let me go on a tangent here a bit, and talk about a character you probably know, the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott! He was in a quandary within the DC universe, because he had the same name as another character within that universe! Of course I'm referring to Green Lantern Hal Jordan,who, it could be said was more well-known for having that name and the specific powers! So, at some point,this was in the 90s sometime,Alan Scott was given back his youth, I think his powers became a part of him and he lost his vulnerability to wood. He was given a new name! He became Sentinel.

Now back to the character originally conceived as Captain Marvel. When Geoff Johns, whom I consider a hack of the first order, did yet another of his inexplicably popular reboot origin stories, the character of Captain Marvel's name was changed! To... Shazam! "What?" you might say! "But that's his magic word!"! And you'd be right! But they came up with an explanation for that so silly I won't even get into it here!

My question is,why didn't they just give the character a ******* new name?Are they so creatively bankrupt that they failed to see the absurdity of such an action? Oy...

Anyway,comics!

Specifically,modern day DC Comics. I roll my eyes!

Best

Bheki

Hullo Bheki,

at that time for boys of my age the next big thing was The Eagle comic in the '50s and that more or less eclipsed American comics for most of us.
Marvelman and Miricleman were a good while later.

Don't recall when Green Lantern made himself known to me but I was never a big fan.
Odd the things that make a difference to wether a character clicks with one or not. In this case for some reason I didn't care for the idea of carrying a lantern about.
I have trouble with the fact that a concept, a character and a story are taken out of the hands of their creators and passed to whoever happens by.
With luck, sometimes the originals are still available.

All the best,
Arthur

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