Monday, March 20, 2017

Captain Marvel's Character: Industry

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

What is industry?  Here are some brief thoughts and definitions that will help frame industry for this article:
  • Diligence in an employment or pursuit; especially: steady or habitual effort
  • The habit of working hard and steadily
  • "Industry, to be most successful, must be steady, persevering, and wisely directed." B. B. Comegys
  • "Lose no time.  Be always employed in something useful.  Cut off all unnecesary actions." Ben Franklin
An example of Captain Marvel's industry is displayed on the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #12.  In the story, "Captain Marvel Joins the Army" we find Captain Marvel has enlisted in the Army undercover as Private M. R. Vell.  Cap and his friend Whitey Murphey have been assigned the task of ditch digging!  Cap uses his powers and quickly gets the job done in a matter of minutes and that leads Whitey to say, "Good!  Now we can loaf the rest of the day, huh?"  Captain Marvel, the paragon of industry, replies with a hearty "Nothing doing!"  Cap doesn't goof off but instead looks to train Whitey to be a better soldier.

Does Captain Marvel's industry pay off?  Yes, it does!  Because Cap didn't loaf but invested his time in making his pal Whitey a better soldier, Whitey is promoted!

Captain Marvel's industry is clearly seen through his actions in both digging ditches and training his friend.  There are many other examples throughout the pages of Cap's comics, but this stands out to me as one of the better examples.  Captain Marvel is a hero who exemplifies industry, and that's just one more reason he's been my hero and a hero to countless others!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Comic of the Week

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #119.  This comic featured "52 pages of thundering action" with the following stories:

"Captain Marvel and the Strange Settlers"

"Golden Arrow and the Battling Sheepherder"

"Lance O'Casey and the Pan American Bull Session"

"Ibis the Invincible and the River of No Return" 

This comic was published on January 6, 1950* with a cover date of March 1950.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Comic of the Week

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Captain Marvel Adventures #134.  This comic offered the following three Captain Marvel stories:

"Captain Marvel Battles Sivana's Capsule Kingdom"

"Captain Marvel and Mr. Tawny's Bouncing Shoes"

"Captain Marvel and the Lost Island of Ice"

This comic was published on May 2, 1952* with a cover date of July 1952.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

General Shazam, Captain Marvel, and Private M. R. Vell

Captain Marvel Adventures #12 (published June 26, 1942) tells us information about Cap and Shazam's efforts during World War 2!  This happens in the story, "Captain Marvel Joins the Army!"  I'm not going to write about the entire story, but instead I want to focus on what the story reveals about Shazam and Cap's actions to support the Allies against the Axis.

The story tells us that Billy Batson wanted to join the Army but was turned away because he was to young.  So Billy transforms into Captain Marvel and assumes the alias of M. R. Vell who passes all the entrance tests with flying colors!  M. R. Vell is offered a commission, but he declines and requests to go to boot camp like all the other soldiers.  Captain Marvel joins the Army and is now known as Private M. R. Vell!!

At the end of the adventure, Private M. R. Vell has been summoned to General Headquarters.  Upon entering the office, Private M. R. Vell meets the General - and to his surprise (and mine!!) it is none other than the wizard Shazam!  Shazam is a General in the Army and is supporting the Allies to defeat the Axis.

While Private M. R. Vell would be a super soldier, General Shazam explains that he has plans for Captain Marvel that far exceed what any soldier could do and Cap will see more fighting action than any soldier will.  Then, Billy Batson sums it up for us by explaining, "So that's why Captain Marvel isn't in an Army uniform!  But he's in the scrap, shoulder to shoulder with the Army, the Navy, the Marines!"

This story was a fantastic adventure that gives us more information about the wizard Shazam as well as Captain Marvel's exploits during WWII.  It also gives us a glimpse at Captain Marvel's patriotic and humble character.  I'm sure it gave a morale boost to the men and women serving in the armed forces during the war and to the boys and girls back home.

General Shazam and Captain Marvel joined forces with the Allies during World War 2, and for a moment so did a little known Private - M. R. Vell!!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

C. C. Beck's Appearances in Captain Marvel Comics

C. C. Beck is the beloved artist who brought Captain Marvel to life in Cap's golden-age comics.  I found a few instances where Beck made some guest appearances in Cap's comics!  Here are the ones I have found so far.

The first appearance I found was when I was researching the origin of Captain Marvel Jr and ran across a story in Master Comics #22.  In this story, Sir Clarence Beck has become a victim of Dr. Eternity - partner in crime with Captain Nazi!  (Peter Costo in the picture below was probably Becks assistant, Peter Costanza.  Costanza also made a few cameo appearances as I mentioned in my article here.)

Beck next appears in Captain Marvel Adventures #18.  In this appearance, C. C. asks a question in the The Mental Marvel Quiz.  His question is, "Who is Captain Marvel?"  The answer comes from Freddy Freeman (Captain Marvel, Jr) who says Captain Marvel is "the world's mightiest mortal!"  I think it's pretty funny how Billy and Freddy respond to C. C.'s question!

The final appearance I've found is in Captain Marvel Adventures #97.  I'm basing this information from a notation on that comic in Comic Book Plus that states it's a cameo appearance by Beck.  It's a great appearance as the story is about Captain Marvel saving the world from an evil artist with a magic eraser that can destroy the world!  Please note that the features of the artist in the picture below are very similar to the Beck in Master Comics #22 listed above!!

Beck made an appearance in the '70s Captain Marvel comic series in Shazam! #4 which I wrote about here.  And C. C. Beck made a guest appearance in Shazam! Convergence as drawn by Doc Shaner!

These are the only golden-age comic appearances that I'm aware of, but be sure I will update this article as I find more.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Marvel Family Timeline

As I've been writing a series of articles on the Marvel Family, I thought it would be helpful to include a timeline showing when each family member made their appearance in Captain Marvel's comics.

Here's the timeline for when each family member appeared, the cover of the comic, and the date of publication (according to Mike's Amazing World of Comics).

1.  Captain Marvel 

The world's mightiest mortal first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 published December 1, 1939.

2.  The Lieutenant Marvels

Tall Billy, Fat Billy, and Hill Billy became the Lieutenant Marvels in Whiz Comics #21, published on August 8, 1941.

3.  Captain Marvel, Junior

Freddy Freeman becomes Captain Marvel, Junior in Whiz Comics #25 and published on November 28, 1941.

4.  Mary Marvel

Mary Batson, Billy's twin sister, becomes Mary Marvel in Captain Marvel Adventures #18 which published on November 13, 1942.

5.  Uncle Marvel

Uncle Marvel meets Mary Marvel in Wow Comics #18, published on September 15, 1943.

6.  Freckles Marvel

Freckles Marvel, niece of Uncle Dudley, made her debut  with Mary Marvel in Wow Comics #35 which published on March 23, 1945.

7.  Tawky Tawny

Mr. Tawny - the talking tiger - first met Captain Marvel on September 26, 1947 when Captain Marvel Adventures #79 published.

Although each Marvel Family member may not have super powers, they each contribute to the depth and unique character of Captain Marvel's comics.  Cap's adventures just wouldn't be the same without the contributions of each Marvel Family member!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Showcase of Captain Marvel's Powers!

Captain Marvel Adventures #144 (published March 4, 1953) does something very unique and spectacular for Captain Marvel fans.  In the story, "Captain Marvel and the Stolen Shazam Powers!" all of Captain Marvel's powers are purposely put on display!  While you can typically see Cap using his Shazam powers throughout all of his adventures, in this story the comic writers intentionally show Cap using each power, one by one, to defeat Sivana.  It also gives us fans a little bit more insight into these powers.  This article will take a look at each of the powers put on display for us in CMA #144.  

Solomon's wisdom is the first power displayed.  Billy received a letter with a tip that Sivana was going to attack but the letter was only signed by "A Friend."  Billy transforms into Captain Marvel and uses the wisdom of Solomon to properly determine that the letter was a ruse by Sivana to keep Cap busy in the city while he attacks a dam in the country!

Hercules' strength is the next power Cap must use as Sivana's bomb has struck the dam!  But using the strength of Hercules, Captain Marvel shoves the crack in the dam together and prevents the water from bursting out!

Atlas' stamina now is called upon as Captain Marvel must bear the weight of millions of tons of concrete on his shoulders for an hour as workmen repair and shore up the damaged dam.

Zeus' power is displayed by Cap when he catches up with Sivana and gets blasted by a nuclear rocket!  But the power of Zeus makes Captain Marvel indestructible and impervious to all harm!

Achilles' indomitable courage is needed next as Captain Marvel catches up with Sivana at one of Sivana's secret hideouts.  Sivana releases a huge monstrous gorilla to smash the world's mightiest mortal.  Empowered by the courage of Achilles, as well as being endowed with Achille's fighting skills, Captain Marvel makes a monkey of Sivana's attack ape.

Mercury's speed is the final power showcased, as Cap feels the need for speed to catch Sivana in the stratosphere as he tries to make his escape!  We also learn that Captain Marvel gains his ability to fly through Mercury as well!

The six Shazam powers given to Captain Marvel have just been used one by one to defeat another wicked plot by Dr. Sivana!  This was such an entertaining way to showcase Cap's powers, I'm really glad they did this.  I also learned some new things from this comic.  For instance, it explains how Captain Marvel is able to fly - he gets that from Mercury.  I also learned that Cap's fighting skills come from Achilles and that it is the power of Zeus that makes him indestructible!  

Captain Marvel's powers are what make him the world's mightiest mortal and it was entertaining and informative to have all his powers on display in one story!