Monday, March 27, 2017

Did You Know...

Did you know Billy Batson's friend, Whitey Murphy, was a character that had his origin outside of Captain Marvel comics?

The Whitey Murphy character was introduced in the 1941 Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial in which Whitey was a friend of Billy Batsons.  Murphy was played by actor William Benedict.

Whitey makes his first appearance in Whiz Comics #22 (published September 5, 1941) in the story "Captain Marvel and the Temple of Itzalotahui."   Whitey stops by Billy's office at W.H.I.Z. and the two young men are reunited after working on the Captain Marvel movie together and go on a wonderful adventure!

Billy and Whitey would have further adventures in the pages of Captain Marvel's comics.  For example, Cap helps Whitey get a promotion in Captain Marvel Adventures #12.

Even though Whitey Murphy was first introduced to us in the Captain Marvel movie, I'm glad they incorporated him into Cap's comics.  He's a great friend of Billy's and a great character who appears now and then on the pages of both the golden-age comics and the Shazam! comics of the 70s.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Captain Marvel's Character: Industry

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

What is industry?  Here are some brief thoughts and definitions that will help frame industry for this article:
  • Diligence in an employment or pursuit; especially: steady or habitual effort
  • The habit of working hard and steadily
  • "Industry, to be most successful, must be steady, persevering, and wisely directed." B. B. Comegys
  • "Lose no time.  Be always employed in something useful.  Cut off all unnecesary actions." Ben Franklin
An example of Captain Marvel's industry is displayed on the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures #12.  In the story, "Captain Marvel Joins the Army" we find Captain Marvel has enlisted in the Army undercover as Private M. R. Vell.  Cap and his friend Whitey Murphey have been assigned the task of ditch digging!  Cap uses his powers and quickly gets the job done in a matter of minutes and that leads Whitey to say, "Good!  Now we can loaf the rest of the day, huh?"  Captain Marvel, the paragon of industry, replies with a hearty "Nothing doing!"  Cap doesn't goof off but instead looks to train Whitey to be a better soldier.

Does Captain Marvel's industry pay off?  Yes, it does!  Because Cap didn't loaf but invested his time in making his pal Whitey a better soldier, Whitey is promoted!

Captain Marvel's industry is clearly seen through his actions in both digging ditches and training his friend.  There are many other examples throughout the pages of Cap's comics, but this stands out to me as one of the better examples.  Captain Marvel is a hero who exemplifies industry, and that's just one more reason he's been my hero and a hero to countless others!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Comic of the Week - Whiz Comics #119

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Whiz Comics #119.  This comic featured "52 pages of thundering action" with the following stories:

"Captain Marvel and the Strange Settlers"

"Golden Arrow and the Battling Sheepherder"

"Lance O'Casey and the Pan American Bull Session"

"Ibis the Invincible and the River of No Return" 

This comic was published on January 6, 1950* with a cover date of March 1950.  

*Based on Mike's Amazing World of Comics

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Comic of the Week - Captain Marvel Adventures #134

The Captain Marvel comic of the week is Captain Marvel Adventures #134.  This comic offered the following three Captain Marvel stories:

"Captain Marvel Battles Sivana's Capsule Kingdom"

"Captain Marvel and Mr. Tawny's Bouncing Shoes"

"Captain Marvel and the Lost Island of Ice"

This comic was published on May 2, 1952* with a cover date of July 1952.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

General Shazam, Captain Marvel, and Private M. R. Vell

Captain Marvel Adventures #12 (published June 26, 1942) tells us information about Cap and Shazam's efforts during World War 2!  This happens in the story, "Captain Marvel Joins the Army!"  I'm not going to write about the entire story, but instead I want to focus on what the story reveals about Shazam and Cap's actions to support the Allies against the Axis.

The story tells us that Billy Batson wanted to join the Army but was turned away because he was to young.  So Billy transforms into Captain Marvel and assumes the alias of M. R. Vell who passes all the entrance tests with flying colors!  M. R. Vell is offered a commission, but he declines and requests to go to boot camp like all the other soldiers.  Captain Marvel joins the Army and is now known as Private M. R. Vell!!

At the end of the adventure, Private M. R. Vell has been summoned to General Headquarters.  Upon entering the office, Private M. R. Vell meets the General - and to his surprise (and mine!!) it is none other than the wizard Shazam!  Shazam is a General in the Army and is supporting the Allies to defeat the Axis.

While Private M. R. Vell would be a super soldier, General Shazam explains that he has plans for Captain Marvel that far exceed what any soldier could do and Cap will see more fighting action than any soldier will.  Then, Billy Batson sums it up for us by explaining, "So that's why Captain Marvel isn't in an Army uniform!  But he's in the scrap, shoulder to shoulder with the Army, the Navy, the Marines!"

This story was a fantastic adventure that gives us more information about the wizard Shazam as well as Captain Marvel's exploits during WWII.  It also gives us a glimpse at Captain Marvel's patriotic and humble character.  I'm sure it gave a morale boost to the men and women serving in the armed forces during the war and to the boys and girls back home.

General Shazam and Captain Marvel joined forces with the Allies during World War 2, and for a moment so did a little known Private - M. R. Vell!!