Captain Marvel tagged posts

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

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In case any readers out there still remember what a newspaper is, today is National Newspaper Carrier Day.

Standard bearer for the day will be Billy Batson, aka Captain Marvel.

Not that Captain Marvel.

The one who starred in Shazam.

Captain Marvel was created by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. Fawcett Comics debuted The Big Red Cheese on the cover of Whiz Comics issue 2 and within a couple years was the best-selling super hero of the 1940s. Even more so than Superman.

Captain Marvel is the alter ego of newsboy Billy Batson. A wizard bestowed the ability to gain the combined best attributes of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury by saying his name: Shazam.

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Design of Captain Marvel was based on the late actor Fred MacMurray. Whiz Comics issue two was published in late 1939 with the Captain as the headliner. His main foil, Doctor Sivana also premiered in this issue.

In 1941 Republic Pictures presented a serial, the Adventures of Captain Marvel.

Detective Comics, better known as DC Comics today, filed a lawsuit against Fawcett in 1941 citing Captain Marvel was too similar to their bread winner, Superman. It wasn’t until 1948 the case actually saw the inside of a courtroom. Captain Marvel was found to be a near clone, but DC was also found to have been negligent in copyright laws allowing Superman, and his concept, to fall under public domain.

Fawcett won the decision passed down in 1951.

DC appealed and the initial verdict was overruled. The Captain Marvel character was not found to be an infringement, though certain of his characteristics could be considered infringements. The matter would have to be retried.

Rather than continue the endless litigation, Fawcett settled with DC out of court. In 1953, they agreed to cease publication of super hero comic books and paid $400,000 in damages.

Fawcett closed its doors that same year.

DC obtained the rights to Captain Marvel and, under the leadership of Carmine Infantino, brought him back to the four-colored page in 1972. Marvel Comics had grabbed the unused Captain Marvel moniker meaning DC now had to use Shazam as the book’s title.

Initially, the book was called Shazam! with the sub-title The Original Captain Marvel, but the cross-town rival took umbrage and filed a cease and desist order. The subtitle was changed to The World’s Mightiest Mortal with issue 15.

Though never regaining the popularity he enjoyed in the 1940s, Marvel and family have endured through each of DC’s crises and incarnations. Most recently the good Captain starred in own self-titled movie that grossed $364 million world-wide. A sequel is in production.

To celebrate today, add something special for your carrier’s delivery route.

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Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

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Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

Ya know what? This is just cute.

Sometimes it’s just nice to get back to something simple. A quick read for the bathroom or before bed. MSH Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 2018 is fun. No pretense. No drama. Clever story telling, told in a simple fashion.

“Sanctum Spooktorum” showcases Marvel’s current cinematic stars on an uninvited and ill-advised trip to Doctor Strange’s house.

Next up is “Spidey’s Super-Scary Stories,” which are anything, but scary.

Quitting the quips for a bit, Spider-Man becomes a story teller to a trio set on Halloween hijinks. Spidey spins three tales aimed more at the funny bone than the neck’s hackles.

Also included are the Daily Bugle funnies, Spider-Man maze and Iron Man coloring page.

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Captain Marvel (2014) 11

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Captain Marvel has one day on Earth. Good thing it’s for the holidays so she can save Santa Claus and Christmas.

Maybe.

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Depends on how you read the story.

Carol Danvers does return to Earth for 24 hours. During that time she visits a dear friend and mentor in the hospital. At least until she’s abducted, restrained and held with Santa Claus.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy. Not sure if it’s Christmas magic that turns a down-and-out Mr. Kringle into the real thing or not. All that’s certain is he’s trussed up like Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. And, the gimp is coming.

All is well by book’s end and Captain Marvel is ready to return to her duties.

The issue is called “A Christmas Carol Part Two of Two,” but part one is just a vehicle to get Carol back home for the holidays.

It’s probably better if you’re a regular reader of the title. There’s enough history to keep someone like me clicking to Wikipedia for some background. Still, a nice Christmas tale.

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Captain Santa?

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Captain Marvel stuffs DC hero stockings before the big day.  DC’s 2003 holiday card featuring artwork by Jeff Smith.

Captain Marvel Christmas

 

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From DC to You

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DC proudly proclaimed its present to readers for December 1972:  Shazam!

The awkward moment comes with the blurb, “Watch out Superman! Here comes the original Captain Marvel.”

Captain Marvel, aka Shazam, first appeared in Whiz Comics issue two cover dated February 1940. Throughout much of that decade Billy Batson’s alter ego outsold even the mighty Superman. DC took notice of the sales figures and filed a copyright infringement suit against publisher Fawcett alleging its character was too similar to Superman. The suit was finally settled in 1953 when the company promised to cease publication of all Captain Marvel titles as well as to never publish the character again.

DC finally licensed the character in 1972 and brought him into the DC universe. Shazam never regained the popularity he enjoyed in the 1940s and has kicked around in various self-titled incarnations and been a team player with the Justice Society and Justice League at times.

Shazam!

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Christmas With the Super-Heroes (C-34)

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Limited Collector’s Edition C-34

Limited Collector’s Edition C-34

They say you never forget your first. That’s true – at least with Christmas comic books.

If my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, Christmas With the Super Heroes was peeking seductively from behind the white faux fur of my stocking top, dressed in a wanton fushia-pink and sporting a low-cut wreath hinting at what lay within.

These were the days of only the best toy line ever made, Mego’s World’s Greatest Super-Heroes. Eight-inches of plastic driven by pure imagination.

In addition to this over-sized representation of holiday cheer and muscles, 1974 was probably the first Christmas I received a Mego World’s Greatest Super Hero:  Batman.

Christmas 1974 as a two-fer

Two of my all-time favorite holiday stories appear in this issue: Silent Night, Deadly Night, reprinted from Batman 239 in the 52-page giant and The Teen Titan’s Swingin’ Christmas Carol, reprinted from Teen Titans (vol. 1) 13; both of which I would later pick up in their original form.

Also collected are Christmastown U.S.A. from Action Comics 117, Billy Batson’s X-Mas from Captain Marvel Adventures 58 and The $500,000 Doll Caper starring Angel and the Ape.

I would note this was my first exposure to Angel and the Ape. Gotta admit, the idea of a gumshoe gorilla moonlighting as a comic book artist intrigued me. Especially when teamed with a bombshell blond who doubles as detective and model in the O’Day and Simeon Detective Agency.

Anyway, in addition to the reprints the editorial staff tossed in extras like a calendar for 1975, Christmas cards, what super villains have to say about Christmas and other assorted goofiness.

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