Thursday, October 29, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that there was a tie-in between the Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial and Whiz Comics?  Whiz Comics #22 has the story of Captain Marvel and the Temple of Itzalotahui (I love that title!!).  In this story, Cap and Billy team up with two characters featured in the movie: Professor Malcolm and Whitey Murphy.  Betty Wallace is another character from the movie who was featured in Cap's comics, but she does not appear in Whiz Comics #22.

Holy Moley - this really blew my mind!  I had previously posted how the movie serial had changed Cap's origin and now to read that Billy worked on making the movie just adds a whole new level of excitement...and confusion!  It's pretty incredible to me that they would tie-in the comic with the movie and even more so when the origin of Captain Marvel has been changed.

That's my 'Did You Know' for this post - hope you've enjoyed it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Captain Marvel Comic of the Week

My Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #93.  This is one of my favorite Cap comics.  I like the story of Cap becoming a hobo to find a man and return him to his family.  It shows several admirable facets of Cap's character, facets that are hard to find in today's more gritty and dark comics.

The premise of the story is a man's house catches fire and the man thinks his wife and daughter were trapped inside and died.  The man runs away, not knowing that Captain Marvel has rescued them.  The wife tells Cap that her husband has probably returned to his life as a hobo thinking that his family is now gone.  She pleads with Cap to find him, and he agrees.  Using the wisdom of Solomon, Cap determines the best way to track him down and has quite an adventure doing so.  I won't go into detail but will say that it ends happily!

Through the story we see Cap's determination to help despite multiple setbacks.  We also see him backing down from a fight with a bunch of hobos - not because he couldn't win, but because the fight wasn't necessary.  I really enjoy seeing these good characteristics in a comic book hero.

There are also stories about The Golden Arrow and Ibis the Invincible in this comic.  These were pretty entertaining as well!

I enjoyed this comic so much that I purchased a copy on ebay (see photo above).  It's a complete edition (all the pages are there) but it's definitely showing its age!

You can read this comic online here.  I hope you enjoy reading this edition as well!


Captain Marvel 2.0?

(Spoiler Alert!  This post contains spoilers for the 1941 Adventures of Captain Marvel serial - if you haven't watched it, continue reading at your own risk!)

I thought that the origin of Captain Marvel (as told in Whiz Comics #2, 1940) hadn't been tampered with or tweaked until 1973 and after with the multiple reboots and reintroductions of Cap.  That thought was dashed when I watched all 12 episodes of the Adventures of Captain Marvel.  Holy Moley - they tampered with Cap's origin in episode 1 and in episode 12!  I won't go into all the details of the plot, etc., but below are the details of how Cap's origin was changed.

In episode 1, we find Billy Batson with the Malcolm Archaeological Expedition in Siam trying to discover the lost Scorpion Dynasty.  It is here that Billy meets Shazam.  Shazam tells Billy that it is his duty to see that the curse of the Scorpion doesn't fall on innocent people.  He, as Captain Marvel, is to protect the golden scorpion from falling into evil hands.  Shazam declares, "It is the duty of Captain Marvel to protect the innocent from its evil use. You must never call upon this power except in the service of right.  To do so would bring the Scorpion's curse upon your own head."  Billy says, "Shazam!" and turns into Captain Marvel and Shazam disappears.  

Episode 12 is the final episode in the serial.  Here we have Captain Marvel destroying the golden scorpion by throwing it into a volcano.  Once it has been destroyed, you hear a deep voice say, "Shazam!" and Captain Marvel turns back into Billy Batson - never to become Captain Marvel again!  Captain Marvel could only be around while the golden scorpion existed and now that it has been destroyed, there is no need for Cap!  

I was simply amazed that they had altered the origin of Captain Marvel so soon after he was introduced in Whiz Comics #2!  I wonder if there was any outcry from fans because of this?  As a fan of the original Captain Marvel I'm often disappointed at the various iterations that have been printed about Cap's origin post 1973.  But now I see that it isn't a new thing - it's been tweaked from the very beginning!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Elements of Style - Captain Marvel Style That Is!

All superheros have costumes and uniforms that have meaning to them (think of the 'S' on Superman or Captain America's uniform).  Captain Marvel is no exception and I hope that through this article I can share some of the elements of Cap's uniform.

The genesis for this post comes from a discussion I saw on Twitter, so thanks to @LetsTalkShazam (Twitter) for getting me interested in this!  Please note that after hours of research I've not been able to come up with a lot of hard facts and information, nor have I been able to find articles/information from Captain Marvel's creators to substantiate some of my conclusions.  This leads me to state up front that this post is based on some facts, scant information and conjecture on my part.  (I will identify those things which are facts and those which are based on conjecture.)  If anyone has information that will supplement what I have here, please let me know!  

Captain Marvel from Whiz Comics #2

Captain Marvel is indeed a Captain.  This is a fact based on Whiz Comics #2, where he is commissioned Captain Marvel by Shazam (see page 7).  Additionally, in Captain Marvel Adventures #69 on page 5, a man calls him "General Marvel."  Captain Marvel corrects him and says, "Captain Marvel is my name."    

That brings me to the first element of Captain Marvel's costume and that is his Captain's rank located on his sleeves.  Below are pictures of the sleeve insignia for Captain in the Egyptian Navy (left) and US Navy (right).

Notice the similarity with Captain Marvel's uniform? On Twitter, @LetsTalkShazam  had also noted that that is Captain Marvel's rank on his sleeve.  They aren't gauntlets or bracelets, they are his Captain's rank!  (Just a note that in Whiz Comics #2, Cap originally had 6 stripes, but eventually he was drawn with 5.)

Now I want to consider Captain Marvel's cape.  The conjecture is that his white collared cape with gold trim is based on the ceremonial cape worn by English nobility.  After some research, I found the picture below of British nobleman Sir Thomas Innes (Lord Lyon).  Notice his cape is short and draped over his left shoulder - just as Captain Marvel wears his! Further conjecture is that the design on Captain Marvel's cape is the "fleur-di-lis."  

"Thomas Innes of Learney" by Boven at en.wikipedia

Finally, I want to consider the sash and bib front on Cap's uniform.  There is conjecture that elements of his uniform were based on Egyptian uniforms.  The picture below is of some old Egyptian army uniforms.  Notice the sash and the bib front?  It could be that these were considered when Cap's uniform was created.

(Please note that Cap's bib front didn't last long in the comics of the '40s and '50s and eventually his uniform no longer featured it.)

There you have it - the elements of Captain Marvel's style!  It's been fun trying to put these pieces together, but it's also been frustrating trying to research something and coming up with only few pieces of information here and there!

If you'd like to review some of the sites where I found bits of information for this post, please see these:

Captain Marvel Jr and Elvis  (Now this would make a fantastic post in and of itself!)
DC Debuts New Darker, Magical Look for Shazam (Look in the comments section)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know that according to Captain Marvel Adventures #41, Captain Marvel was to report to Shazam every leap year?  I didn't know that until I read it!

In Captain Marvel Adventures #41, in the story "Captain Marvel Battles the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man" we find Billy Batson opening a letter given to him and Captain Marvel from Shazam.  The year is 1944, just four years after Billy met Shazam and was given the ability to become Captain Marvel.  Shazam tells Billy and Captain Marvel to report to the underground cavern where they first met.

When Billy meets with Shazam, he transforms into Captain Marvel and Shazam asks him to give an account of what he has been doing the last four years.  As Cap recounts what he's done, Shazam interrupts and let's him know that he's proud of Cap and his accomplishments.  Shazam then proceeds to explain that every four years the seven deadly enemies of man meet together and plot evil against the world.  And, as a matter of fact, they are meeting as Shazam and Captain Marvel speak!

Captain Marvel must now find these seven deadly enemies and bring them to justice.  But before he leaves, Shazam commands him report to him every leap year with their next meeting in 1948!

Now just so you know, Captain Marvel does find and foil the seven deadly enemies.  I won't spoil the details but here's one picture of Cap in action.

So there you have it.  Every leap year Captain Marvel was to report to Shazam. I haven't had a chance to research if these future meetings were captured in the comics, but if they did I'll be sure to update this post.  This was an interesting little fact I didn't know about Captain Marvel and I'm glad to have discovered it while reading through one of his comics.  This is just one more thing that makes me like this character!

Comic of the Week - Captain Marvel Adventures #132

I'm going to try and highlight a Captain Marvel comic every other week - hopefully I'll be consistent with this!  For this week I want to highlight Captain Marvel Adventures #132.  I absolutely love the cover and consider it one of the best for Cap.  You see Cap straining to hold back the flood waters by trying to keep the sandbag wall from collapsing.  You can see the fear and desperation in the eyes of the men around him while you see the determination to stand on Cap's face.

This issue features three Captain Marvel stories.  First, Captain Marvel Battles Flood!  I'm wondering if this was supposed to be like a public service message for the Red Cross or was in response to some major flooding in the US at that time.  

The next Cap story is The Man Who Never Saw Captain Marvel in which a blind man helps Cap catch crooks and finally has his dream come true of seeing Captain Marvel with his own eyes.

The final story is The Dizzy Dervish Day.  Billy Batson and his boss, Mr. Morris, are on a vacation cruise and stop in the land of Turkestan.  They meet the last sultan, Abba Dabba Babba who plays magical music that makes everyone who hears it dance a whirling dervish!  How will Captain Marvel save the day?  He does, but you'll have to read about for yourself.  (You can read it here!)

The comic also includes some other stories with characters like Freddy Freshman and Captain Kid.

My favorite aspect of this comic is the cover and the more serious flood story.  The Dizzy Dervish Day story is a more typical whimsical story we see in other Captain Marvel stories.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Did You Know....

Did you know that according to an interview with C. C. Beck, Shazam was drawn to look like an aged Captain Marvel?  I didn't know that until I read the interview!  Here's what C. C. said, "After giving his powers to Billy, old Shazam disappeared for good in the original story. Later, Shazam was revived, appeared in spirit form or was seen in flashback scenes. When drawn by other artists, he sometimes appeared evil and threatening, or like a madman. Nobody seemed to realize that I had drawn him as Captain Marvel as an old man. He had the same features, just altered by old age."

Here's Shazam and Captain Marvel from Whiz Comics #2.  As I look at both characters and compare their features, I can see a resemblance - especially in the eyebrows!!  I thought that was an interesting bit of information and it's added another dimension to why I like this character.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Captain Marvel Comics

Captain Marvel appeared in several comics in the '40s and '50s but I'd like to briefly look at the two main ones.  The primary periodicals for Cap were Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures.

Captain Marvel made his premier in Whiz Comics #2 in February of 1940.  He starred in Whiz Comics up until the final issue published in June of 1953.

Captain Marvel Adventures premiered in March of 1941 and issued it's final comic in November 1953.

There was a fundamental difference between Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures.  In Whiz Comics, there was typically just one Captain Marvel story followed by stories featuring other heroes such as The Golden Arrow and Ibis the Invincible.  In Captain Marvel Adventures, there were typically four stories all featuring Captain Marvel.  Now if I was a kid in the '40s and '50s I'd probably put my money down on Captain Marvel Adventures and get more stories for my money!

If you've never read any of these comics, don't despair!  I've found two sites where you can read both Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures - free!  The two sites are Comic Book Plus and The Digital Comic Museum.  

Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures provide us with over 300 stories and adventures of Captain Marvel.  Holy Moley that's a lot of adventures!!  My plan is to feature an issue of either Whiz Comics or Captain Marvel Adventures each week giving an overview of the issue.  In the mean time I hope you check out a few issues for yourself!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Shazam? Captain Marvel?

Who is Shazam?  Who is Captain Marvel?  Is Shazam the same person as Captain Marvel?  These are questions you might have if you are a new fan of Captain Marvel - or you might have them as a fan of many years!!  I hope to use this post to make a clear distinction in the characters.  (For a more in-depth look at the history behind this, please read here.)

In the picture above the character on the left is Shazam and the character on the right is Billy Batson.  Shazam is the wizard who gives Billy Batson the power to become Captain Marvel.  When Billy Batson says, "SHAZAM!" he becomes Captain Marvel!

Captain Marvel is Shazam's champion to defend the poor and helpless and to defeat evil.  And when Captain Marvel says, "SHAZAM!" he turns back into young Billy Batson.  

So there you have it - I hope you've found this helpful!!


Thank you for visiting my blog.  I wanted to set the tone for this blog by telling you what it is all about!

This blog is meant to be a supplement and compliment to other Captain Marvel/Shazam blogs, web sites and podcasts.  It is not meant to compete with them or take their place.  At one time I felt that I was one of the few Captain Marvel fans in existence but I soon found on Twitter and other social media that there is a very strong fan base for this beloved character.  And I also found that there is a strong fellowship among Captain Marvel fans, making for a tremendous base of support, sharing and learning.

My goal is to share bits of information as I can.  Some posts will be long and others will be short - but it is my goal that each post is informative and entertaining.  I want to talk about Captain Marvel, his character and influence, his supporting crew (Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, Tawky Tawny, etc.), and even look into such things as some of his epic battles against evil!

So here we go!