Monday, December 28, 2015

Captain Marvel's Character: Integrity

Integrity.  This is another aspect of Captain Marvel's character that draws me to him as a hero.  In this post I will look briefly at Cap's integrity.

What is integrity?  Here are some thoughts and definitions to help frame integrity for this article:

  • A firm adherence to a code of moral and ethical principles
  • Incorruptibility
  • "Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain." 
  • "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching."  C. S. Lewis
An example of Captain Marvel's integrity is found in Captain Marvel Adventures #62.  In this adventure Captain Marvel is facing Oggar, the world's mightiest immortal.  Oggar is trying to take over the world and Cap is there to stop him.  They are both evenly matched in fighting, so Oggar calls for a truce to talk and Cap agrees to a temporary halt in their fight.

Immediately Oggar tells Cap, "Look, Captain Marvel, you and I can go far together!  Why not join me?"  Oggar then presents Captain Marvel with a bribe of gold!  Cap's incorruptibility comes through as he exclaims, "I don't want a penny of it!  You can't buy me off, Oggar!"

Oggar switches his bribe and places a crown on Marvel's head and tells him he can be king of the earth - second only to Oggar of course!  Captain Marvel brushes this bribe aside as well!  In both instances Captain Marvel could have become the richest man in the world and the second most powerful man in the world, but with his incorruptible integrity Captain Marvel refuses.  

The integrity of Captain Marvel is just another aspect of his character that makes him a true hero.  It's just another reason why he has been around for 75 years and I'm sure for many years to come.  In today's dark and gritty comic world it is refreshing to have a character that has integrity and provides us with wholesome entertainment and a good example to follow!

Did You Know...

Did you know Captain Marvel Adventures had an advisory board to help them "maintain high standards of wholesome entertainment" in their comics?  At one time, the distinguished board consisted of such noteworthy people as Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States and Admiral Richard Byrd, famed aviator and explorer of the Antarctic.

While members of the advisory board would change over time, the wholesomeness of Captain Marvel's adventures did not!  That is just part of the reason that Captain Marvel has maintained his popularity over the last 75 years!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Captain Marvel's Character: Humility

One thing that draws me to Captain Marvel is his character.  His character comes through in the pages of Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures in unmistakable ways.  One aspect of Cap's character that I want to look at briefly is his humility.  Captain Marvel is a humble hero.

You can define humility in many ways.  Here are a few thoughts to consider:

  • "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." C. S. Lewis
  • "Pride is concerned with who is right.  Humility is concerned with what is right."  Ezra Taft Benson
  • In various dictionaries, humility is defined as freedom from pride and arrogance, a modest estimate of one's self.

There are two examples that showcase Captain Marvel's humility from the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures.  In Captain Marvel Adventures #41, Cap mistakenly believes he is being nominated to run for President of the United States.  Without getting into the entire plot, I want to emphasize Cap's reaction to even being considered for such a high honor.  

Captain Marvel is truly humbled at the prospect of being elected to our nation's highest office.  He doesn't become conceited or even think he has the right to this office as he is, after all, the world's mightiest mortal!  No, Captain Marvel remains true to his character and remains a humble hero.

The second example comes from Captain Marvel Adventures #69.  In this adventure we have Captain Marvel being given the honor of becoming a Knight of the Golden Stocking from the country of Grafstan.  When Cap first hears of this honor, he wants to humbly turn it down!  But when he sees that it would be a great affront to the King of Grafston, he humbly accepts the honor.

These are just two examples that showcase Captain Marvel's humble hero character.  Though he is the world's mightiest mortal, he never insists on being honored or lifted up.  He puts others before him and serves Fawcett City - and the world - with a true servant's heart.

Humility, that is just one of Captain Marvel's character traits.  It is his humility that draws many fans - regardless of generation - to him as their hero.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that Dr. Sivana, the world's maddest scientist, invaded the Rock of Eternity?  If you read 2014's Thunderworld adventure, you may have thought that that was the first time Sivana stepped foot on the Rock of Eternity.  But you may not have known that the first time Sivana invaded the Rock was in Captain Marvel Adventures #100!  I didn't know that until I read that issue!!

In Captain Marvel Adventures #100, Sivana tricks Shazam into giving him the shazamium bracelet - thus allowing Sivana the abilities only the wizard Shazam has!  Sivana quickly goes to the Rock of Eternity where he plans to rule not only the world, but the universe as well!

I thought the only time Sivana invaded the Rock of Eternity was when I read Thunderworld!  But now I know that Sivana invaded the Rock in the golden age of Captain Marvel in issue #100 of Captain Marvel Adventures!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Captain Marvel Club Code

I previously wrote a brief article about the Captain Marvel Club which you can read here.  As a member of Cap's club, you received a membership card with Captain Marvel's Secret Code on the back!  

The code allowed club members to send coded messages to each other and also decode messages from Captain Marvel and Billy Batson in Cap's comics.

Interestingly, the Captain Marvel Club Code made a comeback in Jeff Smith's 2007 Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil and in issue #1 of Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! (2008).  I don't have any screen shots of how they used the code but I do know Jeff Smith used the code in the titles of each issue.

While doing some research on this I found a great resource on the Marvel Family Web.  They created a way to create and decipher messages using the Captain Marvel Club Code!  Holy Moley what a fantastic resource!!!  Simply click here and then scroll to the bottom of the page and follow the directions!

I plan on using the Captain Marvel Club Code on occasion on Twitter and here on the blog - just to try and bring back some of the golden age shine of our hero, Captain Marvel!

Let me give a special thanks to Carl (@LetsTalkShazam on Twitter) for the Captain Marvel Club graphics at the top of this article.  And thanks to the Marvel Family Web for putting together the decoder!!!


Monday, December 7, 2015

The Son of Shazam?

Whiz Comics #105 raised an interesting and troubling question - does Shazam have a son?  I wasn't quite sure where the story would lead when I started reading it!

Cap's adventure begins with Billy Batson reporting on Fawcett City's museum unpacking a shipment of Egyptian artifacts.  As one urn is opened, a man appears from it.  Billy Batson says the magic word, "Shazam!" and Captain Marvel appears to confront the man that has come forth from the urn.  Is it a genie or an evil spirit?  No!  Holy Moley, the man claims that he is the son of the wizard Shazam!!  The son of Shazam even calls forth Shazam's spirit and Shazam orders Captain Marvel to obey his son in all things.  Captain Marvel bows before Shazam, Jr. and tells him he is at his service.

Captain Marvel is then ordered to fly Shazam, Jr. to a location where he will build a temple.  The temple isn't for worship but will be home to a hospital, charity ward and will provide food for the poor.  But to build this temple, they will need money so Captain Marvel is ordered to be the chief fund raiser.  Captain Marvel can no longer fight crime as he finds funds for the new temple!

Crime begins to run rampant as Captain Marvel is ordered by Shazam, Jr. to not get involved.  Captain Marvel makes a trip to the Rock of Eternity to find out from Shazam himself if he does indeed have a son.  When asked, Shazam tells Cap, "Why, yes, I do have a son!" but before he can explain Captain Marvel heads back to Fawcett City feeling foolish for being suspicious of Shazam, Jr.

Shortly after his arrival back in Fawcett City, Captain Marvel soon discovers that Shazam, Jr. is a sham - he is really Magico the Magician who used his trickery to fool Cap momentarily.  Magico makes a full confession and Captain Marvel assures him that all the money raised by him will go to charity.

Captain Marvel now faces the final conundrum of the story,  Old Shazam had tried to call him back but he didn't hear him.  What was it that Shazam needed to tell Captain Marvel?  Shazam wanted to tell him that he - Captain Marvel - was his son!

I enjoyed this story and honestly didn't know where it would end.  I didn't know if Shazam would have a son or if this was just another one of Sivana's plots.  It turns out that Magico the magician used Captain Marvel's servant heart against him to try and scam money for his own use.  I've noticed that in many of Cap's adventures, his kindness and good heart is used as a weapon against him.  But as in all Captain Marvel adventures, the end of the story has Captain Marvel triumphing over the villain.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Captain Marvel and the Cape-Less Caper

Something happens to Captain Marvel's uniform in Whiz Comics #11 and #12 - his cape is missing!  

From Whiz Comics #11 - Cape-Less Captain Marvel!

No, Sivana didn't take it, nor was it part of the story line in each comic.  Interestingly, Cap was cape-less for legal reasons stemming from the lawsuit between Fawcett Comics and National Comics which published Superman.

From Whiz Comics #12

On page 43 of The Fawcett Companion it states that "...Captain Marvel is deliberately shown capeless as an experimental concession to DC to eliminate similarities to Superman. However, when Fawcett’s lawyers discovered Superman’s defective copyright technicality, Captain Marvel’s distinctive cape returned to him after disappearing for only two issues (Whiz Comics #11 and 12)."  (Fawcett Companion, ed. P.C. Hamerlinck (Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001))

I'm glad they kept Captain Marvel's cape as it is an integral part of his uniform.  His cape is just as important and significant as the lightning bolt on his chest and captain's rank on his sleeves!!  While Captain Marvel's cape-less caper lasted only two editions, ultimately National Comics/Superman would win the legal battle.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know the wizard Shazam's original name was Shazamo?  I didn't know that until I read it in Captain Marvel Adventures #62!  

The wizard Shazam was the leader of seven heroes and derived his name from the first letters of each of the seven heroes' names.  Those heroes were Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and Oggar.  (You can read more about Oggar in my post here.)

Oggar tells his story to Captain Marvel

However, Oggar the Mighty rebelled against Shazamo and was banished to the mortal world.  Shazamo also struck the letter 'O' for Oggar from his name and from that point forward became known as Shazam!

Holy Moley was I surprised when I read this!  It added a twist to the back story of Shazam which I never would have imagined.  Needless to say I am happy that he stuck with the name Shazam - Shazamo seems a bit corny to me!

Did you know the wizard Shazam was originally name Shazamo?  You do now!!  I hope you've enjoyed this article!

Introducing Oggar, the World's Mightiest Immortal

Captain Marvel Adventures #61 introduced us to Oggar, the World's Mightiest Immortal!  His back-story was told by Oggar himself in Captain Marvel Adventures #62.

Oggar was one of the wizard Shazam's heroes along with Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.  As one of Shazam's heroes they did great work among mortal man.  Shazam taught Oggar both wizardry and magic during his time in ancient Egypt.  There was great camaraderie among the heroes - but that wouldn't last.  (See my related post here.)

One day Oggar was given a mission by Shazam to go help a tiny nation that was being attacked by a powerful conqueror.  Oggar rebelled and refused to go.  He accused Shazam of being old, weak, and unfit to lead the seven mighty heroes.  Shazam gave Oggar an opportunity to prove his strength, but Oggar failed.  For his rebellion, Shazam banished Oggar to wander the world of mortal men, no longer to return to the home of Shazam and the heroes.

Oggar's attempt to rule the world and get his revenge on Shazam is told in the six-part serial "The Cult of the Curse" which began in Captain Marvel Adventures #61 and concludes in #66.  

Captain Marvel spends much of his time in this serial trying to defeat Oggar.  Billy Batson visited Shazam to tell him of Oggar's arrival and to learn how Captain Marvel can defeat him.  Shazam could only tell Billy that Captain Marvel must know that Oggar has one weakness and he must discover what that one weakness is.  Armed with that knowledge, Captain Marvel can then defeat Oggar! At the end of the serial, Cap does indeed discover Oggar's one weakness and it does end to Oggar's demise.

Interestingly, Oggar set up his own temple on top of the Rocky Mountains.  His temple was complete with his own version of the seven deadly enemies of man.  Oggar's version was the seven deadly enemies of Oggar and they included some familiar names - Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, and Captain Marvel!

I really enjoyed reading the "Cult of the Curse" serial.  It had lots of plot twists and turns and some parts that just had me laughing out loud.  It's a typical whimsical adventure for Captain Marvel.  It shines some more light into the wizard Shazam's past and gives us even more reasons to love Captain Marvel - the World's Mightiest Mortal!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Introducing Black Adam

Black Adam was literally a one-hit-wonder villain making only one golden age appearance in Captain Marvel comics.  The wizard Shazam himself tells us Black Adam's story in Marvel Family Comics #1.      

Over 5,000 years ago in Egypt, the wizard Shazam chose a man named Teth-Adam to be his champion.  Shazam told Teth-Adam, "The world needs a powerful champion to combat the evil which infests it!"  Because Shazam thought Teth-Adam's soul was good and pure, he picked him to be that champion.  When Teth-Adam spoke Shazam's name, he transformed into Mighty Adam and was to go and fight evil in the world.  (Note:  This comic was published in 1945, so 5,000 years from that time places this event in 3055BC!)

However, after discovering his mighty powers, Mighty Adam decided he would be the ruler over all mankind.  He stormed into Pharaoh's palace and killed him by breaking his neck and took Pharaoh's place on the throne.  He immediately made plans to send out armies to conquer the world in his name.  Shazam appears and confronts Mighty Adam.  He tells him, "You have turned evil, Mighty Adam! I change your name to Black Adam!  You must be punished."  And punish Black Adam he did!  Shazam banished Black Adam from the earth and hurled him through space to the farthest star in the universe!  Black Adam vowed to return and get his revenge on Shazam as he was being cast into the darkness of the universe.

Black Adam does return to the earth after flying for 5,000 years across the universe.  He not only lands back on earth, he lands in Fawcett City, home of the mighty Marvel Family!  Black Adam makes his intentions known as he proclaims, "The world is certainly different today from what it was when I last knew it!  But I will conquer and rule it!"  Black Adam then squares off in a fight against Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain Marvel.  Realizing he needs to rethink his plans, Black Adam hides in the crowd while Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain Marvel decide to visit Shazam for insight into Black Adam.  They change back into Freddy Freeman and Billy Batson before their meeting with Shazam.

Unbeknownst to Freddy and Billy, they are being followed by Black Adam.  Black Adam captures Freddy and Billy, preventing them from changing into Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr.  Meanwhile, Mary Marvel and Uncle Dudley decide to visit Shazam as they realize both Billy and Freddy have gone missing.

A tremendous battle between Black Adam and the Marvel Family ensues!  While the battle rages, Uncle Dudley summons Shazam and asks how they can defeat Black Adam and Shazam tells him that he must get Black Adam to speak Shazam's name.  Uncle Dudley tricks Black Adam into saying, "Shazam!" and immediately the magic lightning strikes Black Adam, transforming him back into Teth-Adam.  Captain Marvel gives Teth-Adam a mighty punch before he can say the magic word and transform back to Black Adam!  Teth-Adam ages 5,000 years in an instant and is turned to dust and bones, thus destroying the villainous Black Adam!

Here's a few things to ponder about Black Adam and his story.  

  • Mighty Adam was to fight evil as Shazam's champion but he became corrupted by the power he had.  Shazam bestowed the Black Adam title on him as he no longer deserved the champion's name of Mighty Adam.
  • Mighty Adam was decidedly different than Captain Marvel.  While the uniforms of both were pretty much the same except for color, Mighty Adam was never given a regal cape such as the one Captain Marvel wears!
  • Black Adam's pride was his downfall.  As soon as he reached the farthest star where he was banished, he immediately set out back to earth to conquer it and get his revenge on Shazam.
  • Good came out of the wizard's 'most terrible mistake.'  Realizing he chose the wrong person, Shazam waited 5,000 years before choosing a new champion.  This time he did not choose an adult but instead chose an orphan boy named Billy Batson.  When Billy speaks Shazam's name, he transforms into Captain Marvel and has been commissioned as Shazam's new champion in the fight against evil.

That is the story of Black Adam as told by Shazam in Marvel Family Comics #1. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that the way Shazam is able to transform into ethereal form and to travel back and forth from the Rock of Eternity is by way of a bracelet he wears?  In Captain Marvel Adventures #100 we find Tawky Tawny and Billy Batson speaking to Shazam.  Tawky asks Shazam how he can exist in spirit form.  Shazam then tells him that it is through his bracelet made from an element unknown to earthly science called shazamium.   

The shazamium bracelet allows the wearer to adopt ethereal form, whisk back and forth between the Rock of Eternity in the wink of an eye, and without the bracelet, Shazam will fade away into nothingness in 24 hours!

Did you know how Shazam is able to transform into ethereal form and instantaneously go back and forth from the Rock of Eternity?  Now you know that it is because of his bracelet made from the wonder element shazamium!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Did You Know....

Did you know that the Captain Marvel Club was an unexpected hit with his fans?  In an interview with Roscoe Fawcett (son of Captain Billy Fawcett - founder of Fawcett comics) I learned that the club was an overnight success!  Here's a brief portion of the interview as published on page 12 of the Fawcett Companion.

"Fawcett Collectors of America: What about the Captain Marvel Club and all of the merchandise produced at that time... were you involved with any of that?
Roscoe Fawcett: Oh yes! We had to go out and rent an entire building just for the Captain Marvel Club... overnight! I couldn’t believe the response we got; we were flooded with mail... all of those dimes, quarters and dollars that came in! We had to hire six women who did nothing but open envelopes and empty out the money. We must have had between 30 to 35 employees hired solely for the handling of the Captain Marvel Club."

Holy Moley - they had to rent an entire building just to handle the demand for the Captain Marvel Club!  They also had up to 35 employees that did nothing but work on handling the club!  This is a great testament to how much fans of all ages love the Captain Marvel character.

Did you know the Captain Marvel Club was an unexpected hit with his fans?  You do now!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Captain Marvel vs Fear

America and the world were only a few years removed from the end of the second world war when Captain Marvel Adventures #89 was published in 1948.  The world was at peace but the nuclear age had dawned and with it new fears would arise.  I want to highlight one story out of Captain Marvel Adventures #89 against that historical backdrop.  That one story is 'Captain Marvel Faces Fear!'

While this story has its whimsical elements, as most of Cap's stories do, there is a deeper element to it than what you might see on the surface.  This story not only gives us a new adventure for Captain Marvel, it also provides kids and adults with a practical life lesson on something we all face at one time or other and that is fear.  In this story Cap comes face to face with Fear itself!

The story begins simply enough with a young boy tasked with the delivery of an atomic engine.  But before he can walk too far from the building, Fear has influenced him to think he's carrying an atomic bomb.  Sure enough, the boy spreads the news and the entire city begins to evacuate under the fear of an atomic bomb detonating soon.  The paper's headline shouts, "Atom Bomb on the Loose! Delivery Boy's Tale of Terror Shocks City!"  Yes, Fear has done his job well and has all too easily attained his dastardly desired results.

But where is Captain Marvel in all the clamor as the panic-stricken public attempts to flee the city?  Cap is there and he springs into action, trying to be a calming influence on the citizens.  Cap is starting to get things settled down when Fear decides to step up his game and throw things back into a turmoil. Captain Marvel catches a glimpse of Fear and pursues him.  Captain Marvel catches Fear and looks straight into his face....and then "for the first time in his career, Captain Marvel knows the full terrible meaning of...FEAR!" 

Fear's impact is only temporary as the World's Mightiest Mortal quickly shakes of Fear's effect.  Shortly, Cap catches up with Fear once again and this time he vanquishes him - even putting some fear into Fear!

Now this is a great story that was wonderfully written and drawn.  But if you just stop there you are missing a golden nugget of truth, the truth that fear can be faced and must be faced.  Fear can't be allowed to create chaos in our life or in our communities.  Thinking about what people were facing when this comic was first published, I wonder if they were trying to help kids come to grips with their world and give them some tips on how to handle their fears.  Regardless of the times, there are some timeless lessons presented in this periodical.

Here are the life lessons I pulled from the pages of this comic.  Some of these are direct quotes from the comic itself!

1.  "The tiny voice of reason is lost in the clamor of fear."  What started out as a small misunderstanding soon escalates into pure turmoil.  Captain Marvel and Billy Batson try to reassure Fawcett City that there is no atomic bomb, their voices are lost in the ocean of fears.  Today we are bombarded with information from the web, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc. and most of the time what we hear is negative.  When you become fearful about what you've heard, take a few minutes and really think about what you heard.  Bring that news into reality and ask yourself is it something you should be afraid of or is it something that you should be concerned about?  Is it just a case of Chicken Little reporting - the sky is falling - is it just hype?  Look for a voice of reason - even if it's small!

2.  Even the Best of Us Can Be Hit By Fear!  Captain Marvel experienced fear for the first time in his career and it gave him a temporary set back.  He shook it off and went back to his task at hand.  We need to do the same.  If we fall victim to fear don't let it get you down.  Learn a lesson from it and then press on! 

3.  Fear Fades in the Face of Firmly Held Facts!  Captain Marvel stuck to the facts when confronting fear - and Fear faded away.  Even Fear himself said, "Since the beginning of time I have existed only in the minds of people who have not known the truth.  For those who know the truth...I don't exist at all!"  Fear cannot stand in the face of truth.  

Not only was this a great adventure story, it also provides us with some life lessons on how to face fear in our life and world today.  "Captain Marvel Faces Fear!"  -  and so can we!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know how Dr. Sivana got his name?  Dr. Sivana was the very first villain Captain Marvel faced (Whiz Comics #2).  C. C. Beck disclosed how Sivana got his name in an 1980's interview.  Beck said, "He (Bill Parker, Fawcett comic writer) created the word “Sivana” by combining the name of the Indian god Siva with the word Nirvana."  So there you have it - combine Siva and Nirvana and you get the scheming scientist Sivana!!!  I had no idea that that is how Sivana got his name!  It's always very interesting to me to learn these behind-the-scenes facts about Captain Marvel and his cast of supporting characters.

Did you know how Dr. Sivana go his name?  Now you do!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Billy Batson? Captain Marvel?

Is Billy Batson also Captain Marvel?  We know Billy transforms into Captain Marvel by saying the magic word, "SHAZAM!"  But does Billy stay Billy - just an older and more muscular version?

Billy Batson is not Captain Marvel.  Billy Batson transforms into Captain Marvel - they are two different people! 

The illustration shows the classic magic lightning bolt coming down after Billy Batson says, "SHAZAM!" It tells us that it is the "magic lightning that changes Billy to his other mighty self -- Captain Marvel!" 

Another proof is found in Captain Marvel Adventures #41.  (I wrote about this edition previously in another post.)  Here we have Billy Batson opening a letter given to him by the wizard Shazam.

Did you notice something about the envelope and the letter?  Notice who the envelope is addressed to - it is addressed to Billy Batson and Captain Marvel!  Did you notice what the letter says?  It says, "Billy Batson: For four years you and Captain Marvel have fought evil..."  Shazam addressed the letter to two different people, Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.  They are two different people!

Captain Marvel Adventures #69 tells the story of the King of Grafstan who wants to make Captain Marvel a knight. (I'll be writing an upcoming post about this edition!)  Billy Batson gets the message from Mr. Morris and says, "Captain Marvel will have to decide about this himself."

Why can't Billy decide?  Because Captain Marvel is a different person! If Billy Batson is Captain Marvel, there would be no need to transform, he could make the decision himself!

Finally, let me share once again the very first time Billy calls down the magic lightning from Whiz Comics #2.

"As Billy speaks the magic word he becomes Captain Marvel!"  Billy Batson becomes - is transformed into - Captain Marvel!!

Is Billy Batson also Captain Marvel?  No, Billy Batson transforms into Captain Marvel.  Billy and Cap are two different people.  

I hope you've enjoyed this article and found it informative - thanks for reading!

(NOTE: The idea that Billy Batson stays Billy Batson but older and with muscles when he says, "SHAZAM!" is a new twist to the Captain Marvel origin that started in 1987 (Shazam: A New Beginning) and has continued with the Shazam character of DC's 'New 52' comics.)

Captain Marvel's Moniker

I've read several articles and posts where it seems the conventional wisdom is that since most people now know the original Captain Marvel by the name 'Shazam' then we might as well call him that.  In other words, everyone knows him as Shazam, so there's no reason to refer to him as Captain Marvel.  At first I agreed, but now I don't.  

In my opinion, and based on research, referring to Captain Marvel as Shazam is a fairly new phenomenon, not one that goes back years and years ago.  And the premise that most fans know him as Shazam and not Captain Marvel isn't as precise a premise as it seems at first.  Allow me to present some facts from my research.

Fact 1:  All fans going back to the 1940's know that the Wizard's name is Shazam and Captain Marvel is his champion to fight evil.  (See my previous article here: Shazam? Captain Marvel?)  I won't get into the lawsuit between DC and Fawcett in this article and the impact it had on Captain Marvel's name, but you can read some fantastic articles about them on the Shazamcast here and here. (Please also give a listen to the Shazamcast podcast featuring Carl and Jeff as they go into depth on this issue!)

Fact 2:  When DC brought Captain Marvel back in 1973, the title of the comic was 'With One Magic Word...Shazam! The Original Captain Marvel" (Edition 1, Feb 1973).  On the inside leaf it states, "After 20 years...The triumphant return of the World's Mightiest Mortal...The Original Captain Marvel."  In future editions they would show the Wizard Shazam and Captain Marvel.  

Fact 3:  In the 31st edition of Legion '91 (September 1991) Captain Marvel is referred to as...Captain Marvel!

Fact 4:  In the Power of Shazam series that ran in the late '90s, the character is named Captain Marvel.

Fact 5:  In the August 2000 edition of Superman in Action Comics, the character is referred to as Captain Marvel.

Fact 6:  In Jeff Smith's 2007 edition of Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil it is Captain Marvel, not Shazam!

All these facts prove that fans, Fawcett and DC called Captain Marvel by his true name for over 70 years.  He has been Captain Marvel for over 7 decades!

So when did he lose the Captain Marvel moniker for the Shazam sobriquet?  That happened in 2011 when the New 52 Shazam was introduced. According to Shazam! A Celebration of 75 Years, on page 366 we are told, "For the first time there would be no mention of "Captain Marvel" and the World's Mightiest Mortal would be referred to solely by the name already used by many fans - Shazam." (Emphasis added)  That just doesn't add up for me.

Let's say, for arguments sake, that the last time DC published Captain Marvel with the name Captain Marvel was in 2007.  DC would have us believe that in the 4 years from 2007 to 2011 fans suddenly referred to Captain Marvel as Shazam - reversing over 70 years of both fans and DC calling him Captain Marvel??

I implore DC to return Captain Marvel's name to him.  It's been our beloved character's name for 75 years, a name he was given by the wizard Shazam, a name he has earned, and truly the name already used by many fans.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that Captain Marvel can time travel?  That's exactly what he does in Captain Marvel Adventures #79.  (Note:  I've also read other editions where Cap does this but I failed to get the edition number - I'll update this once I find them!)

Captain Marvel exceeds the speed of light to escape the known universe and arrive at the Rock of Eternity (Note: He thus proves Einstein's theory!!).  Upon reaching the Rock, Cap uses his 'amazing abilities' to follow the time-line into the past and accurately reach the exact point in time he was looking for!  The World's Mightiest Mortal doesn't need a time machine or high-tech DeLorean to time travel!  

Did you know Captain Marvel can time travel?  I didn't until I read this edition of Captain Marvel Adventures!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day

I want to offer my sincerest thanks to each and every veteran on this Veteran's Day 2015.  Thank you for your service and sacrifice on our behalf.  You are our defenders and have made our freedom possible.  Thank you and God bless you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that Captain Marvel once traveled back in time to clear Shazam's name from a crime he didn't commit?  I didn't know that until I read it in Captain Marvel Adventures #79!

While Billy Batson was reading a book on ancient Egypt, he came across a story that said Shazam had stolen gold and jewels from Pharaoh.

Billy just knew this couldn't be true and so he calls upon Captain Marvel to travel back in time to solve this perplexing problem involving the wizard Shazam.  And as only he can do, the World's Mightiest Mortal cracks the case and reveals the true criminal, thus clearing Shazam of any wrongdoing!

Did you know that Captain Marvel once traveled back in time to prove Shazam innocent of a crime?  I didn't, but I do now!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Introducing Mr. Atom

Mr. Atom was introduced to us in Captain Marvel Adventures #78, and interestingly it is Mr. Atom himself who tells us his origin.  As I read through this story I couldn't help but think of Mr. Atom as an atomic version of Frankenstein.

Dr. Charles Langley created Mr. Atom when he focused an atomic energy ray onto a robot he had built.  A huge explosion leveled Langley's lab and Mr. Atom came to life out of the wreckage.  Captain Marvel rescues Langley from the debris while Mr. Atom begins to walk around Fawcett City gaining a lot of attention.

We soon catch up with Mr. Atom at the United Nations where he begins to threaten the world with force but is interrupted by a confrontation with Captain Marvel.  In this first fight between Cap and Atom, Cap is a bit surprised that Mr. Atom can stand up to his punches.  The fight ends when Mr. Atom punches Cap right out of the building!

No, Mr. Atom didn't win the fight!  Instead, Captain Marvel realized that he needed to develop a plan to deal with Mr. Atom so he allowed him to think he had defeated Cap. Then, using the wisdom of Solomon, Cap devises a fool-proof plan.

With his plan in place, Captain Marvel re-engages Mr. Atom in combat and with one final mighty blow, Mr. Atom is defeated. 

Mr. Atom says, "Captain Marvel was too much for me--that time!  But he could not finally destroy me.  Like the atom that gave me birth, I exist forever."  Mr. Atom then gives us a final warning, followed by some closing comments by Billy Batson.

I really enjoyed this story and especially the artwork showing Captain Marvel and Mr. Atom delivering their mighty punch.  I also liked the fact that Captain Marvel used his wisdom to devise a plan that would fully deal with Mr. Atom - he just didn't trade punches with him all day long!  

Mr. Atom would return and try to rule the world in Captain Marvel Adventures #81 but that would be the last appearance for Mr. Atom in Captain Marvel's golden age adventures.  

That is the origin of the nuclear nightmare known to Captain Marvel fans as Mr. Atom!