Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2nd Year Anniversary of The World's Mightiest Mortal Blog!

Two years ago, on October 18, 2015, I wrote my first article for this Captain Marvel blog.  I never imagined that two years later I would have written 117 articles about the World's Mightiest Mortal!!

So on this two year anniversary of my blog, I want to say thank you for every person that has taken a moment to read it.  I know your time is precious, so I thank you for allowing me to take a few minutes of your day to tell you a little about Captain Marvel and his many adventures.

I sincerely hope this blog has informed you, entertained you, encouraged you, and inspired you. Thank you!! 

Jeff


Saturday, October 14, 2017

If Captain Marvel Met the New 52 Billy Batson

What would happen if the golden age Captain Marvel met the Billy Batson and Captain Marvel (aka 'Shazam') of the New 52 (N52)?  That's something I've been thinking about and thought I'd write what I think would happen from that encounter!  (Let me make a disclaimer here!  While I'm not a big fan of N52 'Shazam' and Billy Batson, I know there are a lot of comic fans that like him.  This article has no intention of bashing any fan, whether it's fans of classic Cap or fans of the N52 version.)

New 52 Shazam trade paperback


The Billy Batson and Shazam/Captain Marvel of the New 52 as I encounter them in the pages of the Shazam trade paperback are quite different from their golden age counterparts.  N52 Billy is a brat.  He's rude and has an attitude!  The N52 Cap capitalizes on his heroics for cash.  Here are a few examples.






However, I must say that N52 Billy isn't all bad - he does stand up against bullies and N52 Cap is truly heroic at times.  But by the end of the story and from the few things I've seen of them in other comics, they are still a far cry from classic Captain Marvel and Billy Batson.

So now let's look at the answer to my question  -  how would golden age Captain Marvel handle N52 Billy Batson and Shazam?  I base my answer on how golden age Cap handled a similar character by the name of Roughneck Ryan in Captain Marvel Adventures #29.  

Roughneck Ryan has some similar traits as N52 Billy Batson and Shazam.  He's rude, has an attitude, and seems to have no endearing personality traits whatsoever.  He does all he can to disrupt the meetings of the Captain Marvel club, calling club members 'sissies', and he even seriously injures a club member by knocking down the club house.  Captain Marvel tells the club members to keep an eye out for Roughneck, but not for vengeance!  Cap believes that Roughneck can be made into a productive citizen.  Cap even tells the club members, "That's the Captain Marvel spirit!  Give a fellow a chance to do right!"  By the end of this story we find Captain Marvel doing all he can to give Roughneck Ryan a chance to do right and make things right with those he's wronged.







Cap's statement that the Captain Marvel spirit is to "give a fellow a second chance to do right" is exactly how I thing golden age Captain Marvel would handle an encounter with N52 Billy and Shazam.  He wouldn't punch them out of publication or harangue them with a moral diatribe.  He would make them own up to their wrongs and give them a chance to do right!  He would be in their corner to encourage them to be a better version of themselves.  Yes, golden age Captain Marvel would be the best friend and influence N52 Billy Batson and Shazam could ever hope to have! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Comic of the Week - Whiz Comics #140


The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #140.  This comic contained the following stories:

"Captain Marvel Becomes President of the U. S. A.!"



Golden Arrow in "Dynamite Trail"



Lance O'Casey in "The Pearl Pirates"



Ibis the Invincible in "The Zombie Master"


This comic was published on October 5, 1951* with a cover date of December 1951.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Monday, September 25, 2017

Captain Marvel's Magic Lightning Facts

I've discovered some amazing facts about the magic lightning that transforms Captain Marvel as I've been reading through his comics.  Here are the facts that I've discovered so far.

1)  Vulcan* creates and Zeus throws the magic lightning that transforms Billy Batson into Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel into Billy Batson.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #50, Whiz Comics #125, *Shazam #12)



2)  Hippolyta creates and throws the magic lightning that transforms Mary Batson into Mary Marvel and Mary Marvel into Mary Batson.  (Mary Marvel #1)

3)  If the magic lightning strikes someone other than Billy Batson, they will transform into Captain Marvel!  (Captain Marvel Adventures #73)



4)  There are several types of magic lightning bolts:

🗲A lightning bolt that only gives Shazam powers (Mary Marvel #28 Note: Uncle Marvel doesn't transform, he only receives power!)



🗲A lightning bolt that is extra powerful (Mary Marvel #1)



🗲A lightning bolt that transforms Billy into Captain Marvel and gives him Shazam powers (Captain Marvel Adventures #50)

🗲A lightning bolt that gives no powers but transforms Captain Marvel into Billy Batson (Captain Marvel Adventures #50)



These are the facts on the magic lightning according to Captain Marvel comics!


Monday, September 4, 2017

Captain Marvel and the Twisted Powers


In Captain Marvel Adventures #50 (published October 24, 1945*) we have an awesome adventure for Billy and Captain Marvel.  We also learn a little bit more about the magic lightning bolts that transform them!  In the story "Captain Marvel and the Twisted Powers" Billy somehow ends up with Cap's powers while Captain Marvel is powerless.  How did this happen?  Let's take a look at the story!

The story begins with Billy taking a vacation at Pine Valley Hotel.  Billy's hoping to have a quiet week away from station WHIZ and from the pressures of his celebrity status as boy newscaster.  Billy's sadly mistaken as he has barely made it to his room before he hears a cry for help.  Billy says the magic word, "Shazam!" and is transformed into Captain Marvel who rushes to the scene of a robbery at the hotel lobby.  But unbeknownst to Captain Marvel, there's a problem with the magic lightning bolt that transformed him.  



Cap confronts the hotel hoodlums but soon learns that while he has transformed into Captain Marvel, he isn't the world's mightiest mortal as he has no powers! He can't punch, he can't take a punch, and he can't fly!  Bystanders soon think Cap is an overrated fake.  Even Captain Marvel himself is perplexed by his missing powers!  Cap says the magic word and is transformed back into Billy Batson.  However, once again we are shown that in the realm of the gods, they are trying to get Zeus' attention about a problem with the magic lightning bolts!




Billy is just as perplexed as Cap is and doesn't even notice that when he kicks a large rock, he sends it flying.  That's our first clue about what's happening with the powers of Captain Marvel!



In their hideaway in the woods, we soon learn that the crooks that robbed the hotel have cooked up a new plan - a plan to get rid of Captain Marvel.  The leader, Joe Bloe, figures that since Cap is always around Billy Batson, if they bother Billy, Cap will show up.  And since Cap is powerless, they'll take care of him for good!  The mob makes their move and sneak in to Billy's hotel room and toss him to the ground several floors below - but Billy hits the ground unharmed!  Billy says the magic word, transforming himself into Captain Marvel.  But since Cap is now powerless, the crooks capture him and are now ready to deal him a death blow.



Captain Marvel has figured out what has happened with his powers and now he transforms back to Billy.  Billy has also figured out that he has Cap's powers, and sure enough, bullets bounce off of him, he has a powerful punch...and he can fly!!  In short order, Billy captures the crooks.




The scene shifts to the realm of the gods where we learn what caused the mixup giving Billy the powers of Shazam.  Vulcan** tells Zeus that the magic lightning bolts were defective because they transformed Billy into Captain Marvel as they should have, but they didn't contain the powers of Shazam!  The lightning bolts that transformed Cap back to Billy were the ones that contained the magic powers, that's why Billy was having Cap's powers and Captain Marvel was powerless!  


Billy says "Shazam!" once more and this time Zeus throws a corrected lightning bolt, transforming Billy into Captain Marvel and giving him his powers.  Billy closes the adventure by letting us know that he was able to enjoy the rest of his vacation and got a kick out of having Cap's powers, but he doesn't think Captain Marvel enjoyed the little adventure!

Holy Moley what a great story!  It was great to have a role reversal with Billy being powerful and Cap having lost his powers.  It also gave us a little more insight into the magic lightning that transforms them.  Based on this story we learn that there are different magic lightning bolts that Zeus uses:  one bolt transforms Billy into Captain Marvel and gives Cap his powers, and another bolt transforms Cap into Billy but does not give Billy any powers!  All in all this was a tremendous story and has become a new favorite of mine.


*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics

**Shazam! #12 (February 19. 1974) references this story and gives the name of Vulcan to the character that creates the magic lightning

Monday, August 28, 2017

Did You Know...

Did you know that in The Marvel Family #17 (published on September 24, 1947*) we discover a little bit of the history of one of Billy and Mary Batson's family members?  I had written previously that there have been occasions when people thought they were related to Billy simply because they had the last name of Batson.  But what we have revealed to us in The Marvel Family #17 is a true relative from seven generations ago, and his name was William Batson.

We learn about this in the story "The Marvel Family Curse!" where Freddy happens to find the diary of William Batson who recounts his encounter with the Salem Witch!  William found the witch casting a spell on his best heifer.  He captures the witch and ties her up while he goes to get his neighbors, but on his return to the barn he finds the witch has accidentally set the barn ablaze.  The witch dies in the flames but not before casting a curse on the Batson family of the seventh generation!




While we have had stories of Billy's faux family, this was a true story of Billy's distant relative.  And, it appears, taking decisive action in the fight against evil runs in the Batson blood!



*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics


Monday, August 14, 2017

DC Millennium Edition: Whiz Comics #2

Whiz Comics #2 gave us the origin of the world's mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel!  It was published on December 1, 1939* with a cover date of February 1940.  Unless you're independently wealthy, finding an affordable copy of this comic is nearly impossible.  That's why I'm so glad that DC published a copy of Whiz Comics #2 as part of their Millennium Edition series.  The DC Millennium Edition:  Whiz Comics #2 published on January 26, 2000* and was the 14th edition in the series.



The cover has the gold embossed DC Millennium logo on the upper left and shows the cover of Whiz Comics #2. (Please note that it is not the original cover - see my article here for an explanation!)

Inside Front Cover


Inside Back Cover


On the inside front and back covers, there is a brief history of Captain Marvel's comics.  They even mention that in the golden age of comics, he surpassed Superman in sales!  The article touches briefly on Cap's return in the 1970s and mentions that Captain Marvel is now part of the DC family.



The comic wonderfully reproduces the pages of Whiz Comics #2 in full color!  Not only does it give us Captain Marvel's origin, it also includes all the stories first published in that comic (Ibis, Spy Smasher, etc.)  It even includes the Lucky Seven Cash Contest that was on the last page of the original comic! 

I highly recommend this fantastic edition to Captain Marvel fans.  It is a high quality comic that can still be found at an affordable price.  I hope you can add it to your Captain Marvel collection!!  



*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Captain Marvel Comic Cover Conundrum

Have you ever noticed that there are two different versions of the cover of Whiz Comics #2?  A few months ago I noticed some differences in what was being shown as the cover of Whiz Comics #2 on different websites.  As a Captain Marvel fan I thought it was important that I know what the true and original cover was. You can see the differences by taking a look at the two examples below.

Example #1

Example #2

Notice that in Example #1, the words 'Gangway for Captain Marvel!' are missing from the bottom right, and on the left-hand side it only shows one bad guy near the car.  In Example #2, it has the words 'Gangway for Captain Marvel!' on the lower right and has two bad guys near the car!  This made for a Captain Marvel comic cover conundrum - which one is the real and original cover to Cap's first comic?  (Note:  There are a couple of other minor differences, but I just wanted to capture the major differences!)

I've discovered that the original cover to Whiz Comics #2 is Example #2 above.  I determined that as I was doing some research on the differences and came across an auction for an original copy of the comic.  Below is a picture of the item that was up for auction.


As you can see, this is an original copy of Whiz Comics #2 and it clearly displays both the words 'Gangway for Captain Marvel!' and the two bad guys by the car!  That solved the mystery of which cover was the original and put an end to my comic cover conundrum!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Did You Know...

Did you know that Mary Marvel was once sent an extra powerful lightning bolt to get her out of a trap set by Sivana?  We learn about this in Mary Marvel #1 (published November 14, 1945*) where Sivana tricked her into wearing earrings that prevented her from gaining the Shazam powers.

We know that when Mary says the magic word, "Shazam!" she is transformed into Mary Marvel by a magic lightning bolt.  We learned in Whiz Comics #125, it's Zeus that throws the magic lightning that transforms Mary's brother Billy Batson into Captain Marvel (you can read about that here)!


In Mary Marvel #1, we find that Mary calls out to her patron goddesses to help her out of Sivana's trap and they respond!  Minerva orders Hippolyta to fashion an extra powerful lightning bolt to help Mary.  Hippolyta prepares the bolt and throws it from the heavens!  The powerful magic lightning defeats Sivana's trap and transforms Mary into Mary Marvel and restores the Shazam powers to her.  


So now we know that Zeus throws the magic lightning to transform Billy into Captain Marvel, and it's Hippolyta that throws the magic lightning that transforms Mary into Mary Marvel!



Monday, June 26, 2017

Captain Marvel Creates Marvelium!

The Periodic Table of Elements
You may have studied the periodic table of elements in school and may have had to memorize some of them.  The periodic table lists chemical elements like helium, titanium and gold.  New elements are added to the table as they are discovered by science.  However, in the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #100 (published July 1, 1949*) we find that the periodic table of elements gets updated by Captain Marvel!  No, it's not scientists that update the periodic table, it is the World's Mightiest Mortal who has just created the world's mightiest element - Marvelium!

In fact, a total of three new elements are discovered or created.  They are Sivanium, Shazamium, and Marvelium.

Sivanium is the first new element.  It was created by Doctor Sivana, which he named in honor of himself!  Sivanium is living metal which can be "fashioned into human shape, duplicating every organ."  Sivana uses it to build an army of duplicate Sivanas!



Shazamium is the second element.  This element is still shrouded in mystery and all we know about it is from the wizard Shazam. He explains that it is an element unknown to earthly science!  With his bracelet made of Shazamium, the wizened wizard is able to adopt ethereal form and go back and forth from earth to the Rock of Eternity!  Not much else is known of this mysterious element, I presume it was created by Shazam himself!




Marvelium is the final new element added to the periodic table.  Marvelium was created by Captain Marvel himself and he uses it in this comic to foil the plot of Sivana.  Captain Marvel creates Marvelium in a lab using a cyclotron, the wisdom of Solomon, an atomic pile, and a mechanical brain machine.  In just a matter of moments, the World's Mightiest Mortal has created the world's mightiest element that can only be molded and shaped by him!



Not only does Captain Marvel create a new element, he even takes the time to update the periodic table of elements!  (I think it's pretty funny that he almost says "Shazam" when writing down Shazamium.  He catches himself and keeps from accidentally transforming back into Billy Batson!!)



Let me make a historical note concerning the periodic table that Captain Marvel has updated.  Cap makes Sivanium, Shazamium, and Marvelium numbers 97, 98 and 99 respectively on the periodic table.  Number 96 on the table, Curium, was discovered in July of 1944 at the University of California, Berkeley but was not made known to the public until November of 1945.  That's why Captain Marvel could assign the three new elements with the numbers 97 through 99.  It also must be noted that scientists created other elements in the 1940s (plutonium for example) using cyclotrons - just as Cap used a cyclotron to create Marvelium!  This gives me a greater appreciation for this comic and the obvious research done to bring some realism and current events to this whimsical adventure!

So now when one of your kids or family members need to study about the periodic table of elements, you can let them know about the three new elements introduced to us here in Captain Marvel Adventures #100!!

*According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics


Monday, June 19, 2017

Captain Marvel's Character: Grit

Grit is another aspect and trait of Captain Marvel's character that draws me to him as a hero.  In this article I want to illustrate the grit of Captain Marvel.

What is grit?  Here are some brief thoughts and definitions that will help frame grit for this article:

  • Firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger (Merriam-Webster)
  • Firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck
  • "Grit is passion or perseverance for very long-term goals.  Grit is having stamina."  Angela Lee Duckworth
  • "Individuals high in grit are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods of time despite experiences with failure and adversity.  Their passion and commitment towards the long-term objective is the overriding factor that provides the stamina required to 'stay the course' amid the challenges and set-backs." (Unknown)

Just reading those definitions and quotes make me think that Captain Marvel is truly grit personified!  An example of Captain Marvel's grit is displayed on the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #78.  Captain Marvel comes up against Mr. Atom who turns out to be one of his toughest foes to fight and defeat.  Captain Marvel not only has to stop the rampaging robot, he also needs to come up with a clever way to incarcerate this atomic ne'er do well!  Cap suffers a short-term set back in his first encounter with Mr. Atom, but his grit allows him to put that aside and come up with a plan to defeat Mr. Atom.  And, by the end of the story, Captain Marvel prevails thanks to his indomitable grit.







Captain Marvel's grit is clearly seen through his actions in defeating Mr. Atom.  While there are many other examples throughout the pages of Cap's comics, this one stands out to me as the best example.  Captain Marvel is a hero who exemplifies grit, and that's just one more reason he's been my hero and a hero to countless others!