Monday, November 13, 2017

Introducing the Red Crusher

The Red Crusher was a villain first introduced to us in the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #139 (published October 3, 1952).  

The Red Crusher was a brutal commander of communist North Korean forces during the Korean War and was greatly feared!  He is described as having a "mind of scientific genius but a soul of blackest evil."  Not only did he have a great scientific mind, he also was a bulking brute with great physical power.

Captain Marvel faced off against the Red Crusher three times, and each time Cap soundly defeated the Crusher!  The first time Cap met Crusher was in CMA #139 where the Red Crusher used jet powered spike balls in an effort to defeat American and United Nation's forces in the Korean War.  

Then, in Captain Marvel Adventures #142 (January 2, 1953) the Red Crusher used a lightning gun that almost turned the tide of the war.  

Finally, in Captain Marvel Adventures #144 (March 4, 1953) the Red Crusher captures an American secret weapon that creates a blinding fog that halts the advance of the soldiers.  Captain Marvel destroys the Red Crusher's plane but the Red Crusher escapes by parachute landing safely among his own troops.  

While the Red Crusher only appeared in a few Captain Marvel comics, he has become one of my favorite villains.  He has the genius of Sivana and the bulking strength of IBAC, but those attributes do not make him mightier than the world's mightiest mortal - Captain Marvel!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2nd Year Anniversary of The World's Mightiest Mortal Blog!

Two years ago, on October 18, 2015, I wrote my first article for this Captain Marvel blog.  I never imagined that two years later I would have written 117 articles about the World's Mightiest Mortal!!

So on this two year anniversary of my blog, I want to say thank you for every person that has taken a moment to read it.  I know your time is precious, so I thank you for allowing me to take a few minutes of your day to tell you a little about Captain Marvel and his many adventures.

I sincerely hope this blog has informed you, entertained you, encouraged you, and inspired you. Thank you!! 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

If Captain Marvel Met the New 52 Billy Batson

What would happen if the golden age Captain Marvel met the Billy Batson and Captain Marvel (aka 'Shazam') of the New 52 (N52)?  That's something I've been thinking about and thought I'd write what I think would happen from that encounter!  (Let me make a disclaimer here!  While I'm not a big fan of N52 'Shazam' and Billy Batson, I know there are a lot of comic fans that like him.  This article has no intention of bashing any fan, whether it's fans of classic Cap or fans of the N52 version.)

New 52 Shazam trade paperback

The Billy Batson and Shazam/Captain Marvel of the New 52 as I encounter them in the pages of the Shazam trade paperback are quite different from their golden age counterparts.  N52 Billy is a brat.  He's rude and has an attitude!  The N52 Cap capitalizes on his heroics for cash.  Here are a few examples.

However, I must say that N52 Billy isn't all bad - he does stand up against bullies and N52 Cap is truly heroic at times.  But by the end of the story and from the few things I've seen of them in other comics, they are still a far cry from classic Captain Marvel and Billy Batson.

So now let's look at the answer to my question  -  how would golden age Captain Marvel handle N52 Billy Batson and Shazam?  I base my answer on how golden age Cap handled a similar character by the name of Roughneck Ryan in Captain Marvel Adventures #29.  

Roughneck Ryan has some similar traits as N52 Billy Batson and Shazam.  He's rude, has an attitude, and seems to have no endearing personality traits whatsoever.  He does all he can to disrupt the meetings of the Captain Marvel club, calling club members 'sissies', and he even seriously injures a club member by knocking down the club house.  Captain Marvel tells the club members to keep an eye out for Roughneck, but not for vengeance!  Cap believes that Roughneck can be made into a productive citizen.  Cap even tells the club members, "That's the Captain Marvel spirit!  Give a fellow a chance to do right!"  By the end of this story we find Captain Marvel doing all he can to give Roughneck Ryan a chance to do right and make things right with those he's wronged.

Cap's statement that the Captain Marvel spirit is to "give a fellow a second chance to do right" is exactly how I thing golden age Captain Marvel would handle an encounter with N52 Billy and Shazam.  He wouldn't punch them out of publication or harangue them with a moral diatribe.  He would make them own up to their wrongs and give them a chance to do right!  He would be in their corner to encourage them to be a better version of themselves.  Yes, golden age Captain Marvel would be the best friend and influence N52 Billy Batson and Shazam could ever hope to have! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Comic of the Week - Whiz Comics #140

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #140.  This comic contained the following stories:

"Captain Marvel Becomes President of the U. S. A.!"

Golden Arrow in "Dynamite Trail"

Lance O'Casey in "The Pearl Pirates"

Ibis the Invincible in "The Zombie Master"

This comic was published on October 5, 1951* with a cover date of December 1951.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Monday, September 25, 2017

Captain Marvel's Magic Lightning Facts

I've discovered some amazing facts about the magic lightning that transforms Captain Marvel as I've been reading through his comics.  Here are the facts that I've discovered so far.

1)  Vulcan* creates and Zeus throws the magic lightning that transforms Billy Batson into Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel into Billy Batson.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #50, Whiz Comics #125, *Shazam #12)

2)  Hippolyta creates and throws the magic lightning that transforms Mary Batson into Mary Marvel and Mary Marvel into Mary Batson.  (Mary Marvel #1)

3)  If the magic lightning strikes someone other than Billy Batson, they will transform into Captain Marvel!  (Captain Marvel Adventures #73)

4)  There are several types of magic lightning bolts:

🗲A lightning bolt that only gives Shazam powers (Mary Marvel #28 Note: Uncle Marvel doesn't transform, he only receives power!)

🗲A lightning bolt that is extra powerful (Mary Marvel #1)

🗲A lightning bolt that transforms Billy into Captain Marvel and gives him Shazam powers (Captain Marvel Adventures #50)

🗲A lightning bolt that gives no powers but transforms Captain Marvel into Billy Batson (Captain Marvel Adventures #50)

These are the facts on the magic lightning according to Captain Marvel comics!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Captain Marvel and the Twisted Powers

In Captain Marvel Adventures #50 (published October 24, 1945*) we have an awesome adventure for Billy and Captain Marvel.  We also learn a little bit more about the magic lightning bolts that transform them!  In the story "Captain Marvel and the Twisted Powers" Billy somehow ends up with Cap's powers while Captain Marvel is powerless.  How did this happen?  Let's take a look at the story!

The story begins with Billy taking a vacation at Pine Valley Hotel.  Billy's hoping to have a quiet week away from station WHIZ and from the pressures of his celebrity status as boy newscaster.  Billy's sadly mistaken as he has barely made it to his room before he hears a cry for help.  Billy says the magic word, "Shazam!" and is transformed into Captain Marvel who rushes to the scene of a robbery at the hotel lobby.  But unbeknownst to Captain Marvel, there's a problem with the magic lightning bolt that transformed him.  

Cap confronts the hotel hoodlums but soon learns that while he has transformed into Captain Marvel, he isn't the world's mightiest mortal as he has no powers! He can't punch, he can't take a punch, and he can't fly!  Bystanders soon think Cap is an overrated fake.  Even Captain Marvel himself is perplexed by his missing powers!  Cap says the magic word and is transformed back into Billy Batson.  However, once again we are shown that in the realm of the gods, they are trying to get Zeus' attention about a problem with the magic lightning bolts!

Billy is just as perplexed as Cap is and doesn't even notice that when he kicks a large rock, he sends it flying.  That's our first clue about what's happening with the powers of Captain Marvel!

In their hideaway in the woods, we soon learn that the crooks that robbed the hotel have cooked up a new plan - a plan to get rid of Captain Marvel.  The leader, Joe Bloe, figures that since Cap is always around Billy Batson, if they bother Billy, Cap will show up.  And since Cap is powerless, they'll take care of him for good!  The mob makes their move and sneak in to Billy's hotel room and toss him to the ground several floors below - but Billy hits the ground unharmed!  Billy says the magic word, transforming himself into Captain Marvel.  But since Cap is now powerless, the crooks capture him and are now ready to deal him a death blow.

Captain Marvel has figured out what has happened with his powers and now he transforms back to Billy.  Billy has also figured out that he has Cap's powers, and sure enough, bullets bounce off of him, he has a powerful punch...and he can fly!!  In short order, Billy captures the crooks.

The scene shifts to the realm of the gods where we learn what caused the mixup giving Billy the powers of Shazam.  Vulcan** tells Zeus that the magic lightning bolts were defective because they transformed Billy into Captain Marvel as they should have, but they didn't contain the powers of Shazam!  The lightning bolts that transformed Cap back to Billy were the ones that contained the magic powers, that's why Billy was having Cap's powers and Captain Marvel was powerless!  

Billy says "Shazam!" once more and this time Zeus throws a corrected lightning bolt, transforming Billy into Captain Marvel and giving him his powers.  Billy closes the adventure by letting us know that he was able to enjoy the rest of his vacation and got a kick out of having Cap's powers, but he doesn't think Captain Marvel enjoyed the little adventure!

Holy Moley what a great story!  It was great to have a role reversal with Billy being powerful and Cap having lost his powers.  It also gave us a little more insight into the magic lightning that transforms them.  Based on this story we learn that there are different magic lightning bolts that Zeus uses:  one bolt transforms Billy into Captain Marvel and gives Cap his powers, and another bolt transforms Cap into Billy but does not give Billy any powers!  All in all this was a tremendous story and has become a new favorite of mine.

*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics

**Shazam! #12 (February 19. 1974) references this story and gives the name of Vulcan to the character that creates the magic lightning

Monday, August 28, 2017

Did You Know...

Did you know that in The Marvel Family #17 (published on September 24, 1947*) we discover a little bit of the history of one of Billy and Mary Batson's family members?  I had written previously that there have been occasions when people thought they were related to Billy simply because they had the last name of Batson.  But what we have revealed to us in The Marvel Family #17 is a true relative from seven generations ago, and his name was William Batson.

We learn about this in the story "The Marvel Family Curse!" where Freddy happens to find the diary of William Batson who recounts his encounter with the Salem Witch!  William found the witch casting a spell on his best heifer.  He captures the witch and ties her up while he goes to get his neighbors, but on his return to the barn he finds the witch has accidentally set the barn ablaze.  The witch dies in the flames but not before casting a curse on the Batson family of the seventh generation!

While we have had stories of Billy's faux family, this was a true story of Billy's distant relative.  And, it appears, taking decisive action in the fight against evil runs in the Batson blood!

*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics