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).
  
Generic-Navy-O7-sleeve.svg

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)


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