Monday, November 2, 2015

The Elements of Style - Captain Marvel Style That Is! (Part 2)

I had posted an article that looked at the elements of Captain Marvel's uniform and stated that I had not found anything written by Cap's creators that offered confirmation of some of my conjectures. (You can read the article here.) Well, after doing some more research I just came upon something significant and very exciting!  I found a brief article written in 1983 by C. C. Beck entitled "Those Darned Armbands and Cape Loops."  Here is what C. C. had to say, in his own words, about Captain Marvel's uniform.

"While Superman's costume was essentially the old-time circus strongman's outfit of tights and long cape, Captain Marvel's was an operetta-style soldier's uniform.  He wore a sash, a jacket-like top, tight pants (not tights), and had a small, braid-trimmed cape flung over one shoulder when he first appeared.  Such a costume was often worn by drum majors, doormen, or ushers.  It wouldn't have been out of place even on the streets in those days.  

Captain Marvel's so-called 'armbands' were his Captain's sleeve marks, showing the rank of Captain.  Few people - artists, editors, or publishers - ever understood this or the fact that the decorations on Captain Marvel's cape were the ornamental buttons and braiding used on military outfits...

The Marvel Family characters were originally designed to be as different as possible from all of comic books' other tights-wearing strongman characters, who were also often hooded or masked.  The Marvel Family were supposed to look more like high school or college athletes."

Holy Moley - this was exactly what I was looking for and pretty much confirms some of my conjectures from my previous article.  I have to admit, I felt a bit like Indiana Jones uncovering some treasure when I came across the above mentioned article!  It also sheds some light on how they wanted the Marvel's appearance to be youthfully athletic - which really separated them from other superheros of their time.  I'm so thankful to have come across this information and hope you've enjoyed reading it!

I found C. C. Beck's article on page 30 in a book titled Fawcett Companion: The Best of FCA edited by P. C. Hamerlink (Copyright 2001, TwoMorrows Publishing).  You can order a digital edition of the book here.

1 comment:

  1. It just occurred to me as I was reading your article on the N52 version of the Good(or maybe-not-so-good)Captain that his costume now features a hood-something that his creators worked so hard NOT to feature on their new hero.

    Personally,I believe that the new cape,complete with hood was intended to evoke the feel of a holy man or monk,but whatever the reason,the addition of the hood brings the Captain to a certain state akin to a full circle.