Sunday, March 27, 2016

Captain Marvel's Powers: The Power of Zeus!

The wizard Shazam gives Billy Batson the powers/abilities of six gods.  Billy gains them by uttering the magically mystic word, "Shazam!" which transforms him into Captain Marvel - the World's Mightiest Mortal!

I want to examine Captain Marvel's power, which he gets from Zeus, in this article.  Who was Zeus?  What is power and when has Captain Marvel displayed this power?  I will answer those questions below!

Zeus is a character from Greek mythology who was the king and ruler of the Olympian gods.  His weapon of battle was the thunderbolt and at his command thunder would sound and lightning would flash from the sky!

According to mythology, the Cyclopes gave Zeus his thunderbolts as weapons.  One of his great displays of power was when he fought the monster Typhon.  Typhon hurled mountains at Zeus but he repelled them - knocking them back with the power of his thunderbolts!  (As I wrote in a previous article, it's Zeus that throws the magic lightning, transforming Billy Batson into Captain Marvel!)

Zeus was the most powerful god, and Captain Marvel gets his power from him.  When we think of power, we need to distinguish it from strength.  Power is similar to strength, but it has the added dimension of speed.  Power is the combination of speed and strength, or as one web site put it, "power can be seen as the explosive force exerted." (  Or, to put it more simply, Captain Marvel's strength let's him pick up a car, and his power gives him the ability to throw the car!

The power of Zeus also makes Captain Marvel indestructible!  Cap is impervious to all harm because of the power he gets from Zeus.

There are many examples of Captain Marvel's power that can be seen throughout the pages of his comics, I'll give a few examples.

The first example comes from the cover of Whiz comics #2 and I hinted at it above!  Here we have Cap using his power to throw a car!

Another example of Cap's power comes from Captain Marvel Adventures #137 where he fights Kull.  We see Cap's powerful punch knocking Kull off his feet!

One of my favorite examples of Cap's power is in his classic battle with Mr. Atom.  Mr. Atom is an atomic powered robot, but as you can see, he was no match for the power of Captain Marvel!  Cap's power allows him to throw Mr. Atom and Cap's powerful punch ultimately defeats him.

The last example of Cap's power comes from Captain Marvel Adventures #148 where a huge comet is plunging towards earth.  Cap uses his mighty power to push the comet back into space and into the sun - saving the earth from sure disaster!

Finally, we learn from Captain Marvel Adventures #144 that it is the power of Zeus that makes Cap indestructible.  Here we see Cap survive the blast of a nuclear rocket, sent special delivery from Dr. Sivana!

The fourth power Shazam gives Captain Marvel is the power of Zeus and we see Cap display this power throughout his adventures.  Captain Marvel's power allowed him to throw a car, knock Kull of his feet, defeat Mr. Atom, and to save the world from disaster!  The power of Zeus also makes Captain Marvel utterly indestructible!  Captain Marvel's power truly makes him the World's Mightiest Mortal!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Captain Marvel's Achilles Heel

We all know Captain Marvel has the courage of Achilles, but does our hero also have an Achilles heel - a weakness that his enemies can use to defeat him?  That's what we find out in Captain Marvel Adventures #19 in the story, "Captain Marvel and His Achilles Heel."

The story begins with Nazi henchman cursing Captain Marvel for all the spies he's captured.  They then conceive a plot that surely no one has thought of - since Captain Marvel has the courage of Achilles, he must have the same weakness of Achilles!  Now the Nazi's put their nefarious plan into action, and they will use a Hitler look-a-like as part of their plan.

Billy intercepts a Nazi coded message and transforms into Captain Marvel to decode it.  With the wisdom of Solomon, it's easy as pie for Cap to crack the code.  The message is to the Nazi spies in America to let them know that Captain Marvel has a weakness!  

The Nazi spies kidnap Billy, knowing that he has a connection to Captain Marvel which they want to exploit.  Billy speaks the magic word, "Shazam!" and Captain Marvel appears.  The Nazi spy-master orders his men to subdue Cap so they can find his Achilles heel.  Cap devastates his opponents, then decides to pretend to be weakened so that he can capture Hitler.  Now the Nazi's go right to the task of trying to determine Cap's weakness!

The Nazi's remove Cap's boots and shoot flames at one heel and then the other.  Cap feigns weakness and that he's losing power.  They then drop him into a concrete mixer, into a whirling propeller, run over him with a tank, and finally shoot him with the tank's cannon.  At the same moment the cannon strikes Captain Marvel, he says the magic word, transforming back into Billy Batson who quickly exclaims, "Oh!  You've destroyed Captain Marvel! He's gone!"

Just then, the fake Hitler walks in the room announcing he's arrived to boost the morale of the spies as they've been thwarted by Captain Marvel so many times.  Billy transforms back into Captain Marvel who quickly dispatches the Nazi henchman and captures the fake Fuehrer - all the while letting them know he has no Achilles heel!

This was another great adventure for Billy and Captain Marvel.  There were parts of the comic, especially when they Nazi's are trying to find Cap's weakness, that had me laughing out loud.  It was a fast paced story that highlighted various aspects of Cap's powers.  On a final note, I noticed a new nickname for Cap in this story.  I've seen him called The Big Red Cheese many times, but in this story he is called The Red Terror - a fitting appellation for the World's Mightiest Mortal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Did You Know...

Did you know Billy Batson had a royal doppelganger?  In Captain Marvel Adventures #137 we have the story of "Captain Marvel and the Royal Riddle" in which we are introduced to Tommy Archer.  Tommy is a shoe shine boy and friend of Billy Batson.  Not only do Billy and Tommy look alike, they are also both orphans!  

As the story unfolds, it turns out the Tommy Archer is actually King Alfreed, monarch of a small nation in Europe.  Tommy is brought back to his nation by an evil Prime Minister who plots to kill him so he can take the crown.  Tommy is saved by Billy and Captain Marvel and is installed as the new boy king!  Holy Moley - from shoe shine boy to king in just a matter of days!

Did you know Billy Batson had a doppleganger that was a King?  I didn't until I read this story in Captain Marvel Adventures #137!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Comic Book Research Tool

I wanted to share a fantastic research tool that I've been using for writing my comic blogs.  It's been a huge time-saver for me and has been a tremendous help.

The resource is called The Grand Comics Database, and you will find it at  There is a lot of different information on their site, but I'm going to focus on their search functionality.  The search bar is located at the very top of their site.

As you can see in this screen shot, I've entered tawky tawny as my search criteria.

Once I hit enter, the screen below pops up.  It gives me a list of 167 references where I can find something about Tawky Tawny!!

The list gives me all the story titles and comics where Tawky Tawny is mentioned - from the golden age to the modern era.  I can click on any of the hyperlinks for more information about that particular comic.

How would you use this?  Let's say you want to research all of Tawky Tawny's appearances in Captain Marvel's golden-age comics.  You could either read every issue (over 300!!) or use this resource to show you which particular comics Tawky appeared in.  Or, if you want to see where Tawky appeared in only the 1970's Shazam! comics, you'll find them all listed there as well.  

I hope you find this resource useful - and please know that it works on any comic subject, not just ones about Captain Marvel!!