Monday, April 4, 2016

C: Captain Marvel


Here's my latest entry in this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. My oh-so-specific theme: Golden Age Comic Book Characters with the Same Name As Modern-Day Characters.

The red-suited gent above is the original Captain Marvel, who first appeared in Fawcett Comics' Whiz Comics #2, in 1940. The Captain was really Billy Batson, news announcer for -- what else? -- WHIZ Radio. Billy became Captain Marvel by shouting the magic word, "SHAZAM!"

Fawcett Publications was sued by Superman's owner, National Comics Publications, who claimed that "The Big Red Cheese," as Cap was known, was a rip-off of Superman. The lawsuit ran on and on, until Fawcett settled in the early 1950s and agreed to stop publishing comics whose sales were on a downswing anyway.

A few years later, what we now call the Marvel Comics Group started up, and a few years after that, they came up with their own Captain Marvel (in Marvel Super-Heroes #12, 1967).


Several people have donned the costume and assumed the name of Captain Marvel since then, but here's the latest, Carol Danvers, who became Captain Marvel in  Captain Marvel #1, 2012.


BUT... It gets more interesting. In the early seventies, DC Comics themselves decided to license the rights for the original Captain Marvel, and publish him along with all their other titles.


The problem? Marvel Comics now had the name "Captain Marvel" trademarked. So DC put out a comic named Shazam! -- featuring "the original Captain Marvel" -- and that's why a lot of people, to this day, think that Shazam is the name of the character, Captain Marvel!

Next up? The letter "D."

Thanks for your time.

25 comments:

  1. One roundabout play of events. I've been known to still cal him Captain Marvel instead of shazaam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As well you should! That's his real name. Shazam is both the magic word and the old wizard.

      Delete
  2. There was a TV show in the 70s called Shazam! The word became very popular.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A fun and interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. I hope you're having fun with the blog challenge.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly am! Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. I had a friend who was fond of screaming Shazam before our pillow fights...got the context now, a few decades on! Comics never held my interest much as a child (except Tintin and Asterix) because there were just not enough words, too many pictures! Exasperating to my 10 year old self! :D

    Best,
    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would depend on which comics you read. Some of them could be pretty wordy.

      Delete
  5. Wow :D I am always amazed by comic book politics. I knew some of this, but not all of it. Thank you for clearing it up! :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's interesting about the trademark and Shazam.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I could see how the confusion might arise.

    I should shout out "Shazam" and see what I transform into.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How interesting and a little confusing too. I had no idea the word shazam was associated with comics.

    @WeekendsInMaine
    Weekends in Maine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's where it started. Gomer Pyle used to say it, but he got it from the comics. (Or should I say, the writers of the Gomer Pyle show did?)

      Delete
  9. I like the original Capt. Marvel in his red suit more than the hunky beefcake. Great to read this

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ambitious theme!
    I went with something a little easier.
    Visiting from A to Z
    gvpeasachantrant.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll check out your blog later. Thanks for visiting mine.,

      Delete
  11. Funny enough in current comics that is his name, which is all kinds of confusing considering the Wizard is supposed to be Shazam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. It's those damned trademarks at the root of it, I think.

      Delete
    2. Probably so. Though Marvel and Dc love to go back and forth with that stuff.

      Delete

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