Monday, June 19, 2017

Captain Marvel's Character: Grit

Grit is another aspect and trait of Captain Marvel's character that draws me to him as a hero.  In this article I want to illustrate the grit of Captain Marvel.

What is grit?  Here are some brief thoughts and definitions that will help frame grit for this article:

  • Firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger (Merriam-Webster)
  • Firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck
  • "Grit is passion or perseverance for very long-term goals.  Grit is having stamina."  Angela Lee Duckworth
  • "Individuals high in grit are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods of time despite experiences with failure and adversity.  Their passion and commitment towards the long-term objective is the overriding factor that provides the stamina required to 'stay the course' amid the challenges and set-backs." (Unknown)

Just reading those definitions and quotes make me think that Captain Marvel is truly grit personified!  An example of Captain Marvel's grit is displayed on the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #78.  Captain Marvel comes up against Mr. Atom who turns out to be one of his toughest foes to fight and defeat.  Captain Marvel not only has to stop the rampaging robot, he also needs to come up with a clever way to incarcerate this atomic ne'er do well!  Cap suffers a short-term set back in his first encounter with Mr. Atom, but his grit allows him to put that aside and come up with a plan to defeat Mr. Atom.  And, by the end of the story, Captain Marvel prevails thanks to his indomitable grit.

Captain Marvel's grit is clearly seen through his actions in defeating Mr. Atom.  While there are many other examples throughout the pages of Cap's comics, this one stands out to me as the best example.  Captain Marvel is a hero who exemplifies grit, and that's just one more reason he's been my hero and a hero to countless others!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Did You Know...

Did you know that the villains IBAC and Mr. Banjo made their first appearance in the same comic?

In Captain Marvel Adventures #8 (published February 6, 1942*) we are introduced to IBAC in the story "Captain Marvel and the Curse of IBAC!"  In this story we learn how a criminal named Stinky Printwhistle becomes the super-villain IBAC and is ultimately defeated by Captain Marvel.

The very next story in the comic is "Captain Marvel and the Amazing Case of the Code in Music!"  This adventure introduces us to Mr. Banjo, a "master criminal, an ingenious plotter of crimes" who uses his banjo as a weapon of sabotage against the war efforts of the United States.  Captain Marvel beats Banjo, thus defeating this malevolent maestro!

Both IBAC and Mr. Banjo made their first appearance in Captain Marvel Adventures #8 in different stories.  They both appeared throughout Cap's golden-age comics and have even shown up in some present day ones as well!

*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Comic of the Week - Whiz Comics #100

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #100.  This comic celebrated the 100th issue of Whiz Comics and contained the following stories:

"Captain Marvel and the Hundred Horrors!"

What I like about this story is the number 100 is woven throughout the complete adventure!!

Golden Arrow in "Jailed"

Ibis the Invincible in "The Forbidden Pool"

This story has a pretty cool villain!!

This comic was published on June 4, 1948* with a cover date of August 1948.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Billy Batson's Faux Family

From the very first Captain Marvel comic, we learned that Billy Batson was an orphan.  As time went on, we learned he did have a twin sister - Mary.  Mary is the only blood relative that Billy has.  However, as Billy's fame as a radio announcer grew, there were occasions where people sought out Billy thinking that they were true blood relatives.

Here are the examples I've found so far:

1.  Captain Marvel and His Country Cousin.  This story was published in Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (published June 30, 1943).  Willard Batson from Arkansas tracks down Billy Batson and introduces himself as Billy's cousin!  However, Billy finds out that there is no relationship at all.

2.  Captain Marvel and the Last of the Batsons!  This adventure comes to us from Captain Marvel Adventures #51 (published November 28, 1945).  Billy meets 'Wild Bill' Batson who claims to be the last of the Batsons from out West and Billy is his long-lost grandson!  But by the end of the story, Captain Marvel discovers Wild Bill's true long-lost grandson.  Once again, Billy meets a Batson that is not a blood relative!

These are the only examples I've found so far.  As I discover more, I'll update this article!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Comic of the Week - Captain Marvel Adventures #104

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Captain Marvel Adventures #104.  This comic featured an awesome cover of Captain Marvel and Tawky Tawny - with Tawky in a Captain Marvel uniform!  This comic was a 'big 52 pages' and contained the following stories:

"Captain Marvel and the Space Dragon!"

"Captain Marvel Fights the Hypnotic Trap"

"Captain Marvel and the Missing Atom"

"Captain Marvel and Mr. Tawny's Masquerade"

This comic was published on November 2,1949* with a cover date of January.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Friday, May 26, 2017

Captain Marvel Gets Struck by Lightning!

We know from Whiz Comics #125 that it is magic lightning thrown by Zeus that transforms Billy Batson into Captain Marvel and transforms Cap back to Billy.  So what would happen if Captain Marvel was struck by non-magical lightning?  We get the answer in Captain Marvel Adventures #142*! 

In the story "Captain Marvel Battles the Red Lightning Blitz" we find Cap has flown to investigate a strange phenomenon happening in the midst of the Korean war.  During his investigation, Cap is zapped by lightning from a lightning gun created by the villain the Red Crusher!   What happens?!?  Nothing!  The lightning doesn't transform Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson!

Based on this story and also based on the information in Whiz Comics #125, it appears that non-magical lightning has no effect on Captain Marvel and does not trigger any transformation!  I would also have to assume that if Billy was struck by non-magical lightning the results would be the same for any human struck by lightning!

I must note that I have seen two examples from golden-age Captain Marvel comics where Cap was transformed back to Billy by the electricity of a giant electric eel.  There's also an example of Billy being transformed into Captain Marvel from a regular bolt of lightning.  I have only seen screenshots of these so I don't know the entire story or context.  (I'm trying to find what comic they came from so I can read the full story.)  Additionally, in the 1970's Shazam! comics, there are two incidents where Billy and Cap both transformed after being struck by a form of magical lightning(Shazam! #15 and #31).  Therefore, based on the burden of evidence, I have to conclude that the electric eel and regular lightning incident are errors or gaps in Cap's continuity.  Who knows, maybe Zeus saw Billy was about to be struck by regular lightning and threw a magic lightning bolt at him to save him!!

Throughout Cap's comics, there are many times where it clearly states that it is the magic lightning that transforms Billy into Captain Marvel and back again.  And, based on Captain Marvel Adventures #125 and #142, I can safely say that the only type of lightning that has any impact on Captain Marvel is the magic lightning thrown by Zeus!  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World, this comic published on January 2, 1953.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Comic of the Week - Captain Marvel and the Good Humor Man

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Captain Marvel and the Good Humor Man.  This comic was a one-shot, 32 page comic featuring Captain Marvel and promoted the movie, 'The Good Humor Man.'  The cover featured Cap, actor Jack Carson, and boys from the Captain Marvel Club.

The premise of the story is Captain Marvel is invited to the set of The Good Humor Man movie to act as a technical advisor for the Captain Marvel Club sequences filmed for the movie.  And, as you can imagine, there are all sorts of hijinx and adventures throughout the story.  There are also several ads for the movie as well!

This comic was published on June 2, 1950.*    

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics