Friday, September 9, 2016

Captains Marvel



I can understand why they finally made the change, but I still think it's too bad that the original Captain Marvel no longer goes by that name and now calls himself Shazam.  If they had to change the name, I always preferred something like Captain Thunder. At any rate, on this blog Billy Batson's superheroic persona will always be Captain Marvel.

33 comments:

AirDave said...

Thank you for that!
Captain Marvel all the way!

Richard Fuller said...

Didn't the She-Thing in the Fantastic Four also call herself Ms. Marvel?

William Eastep said...

This is truly Marvelous!

Alaric Shapli said...

Yay!

And, yes, I personally think calling him Shazam takes a lot out of the character concept. I wish there were some reasonable way the name could be shared.

Richard Fuller- Yes, she did (in fact, she used that name before she was turned into a Thing), but these are all people who have specifically used the name Captain Marvel, not variants. (I think there were a few more Captains Marvel from Marvel, though, but including them all would probably make the team a bit too Marvel- heavy.)

Mateus Honrado said...

Even the writer of the Origin Story fanfic says that Billy Batson is the rightful holder of the superhero name as he is critical of Carol Danvers, especially her jerkass behavior before becoming Captain Marvel.

Cary Comic said...

I agree with the rest of you. Even if DC were to officially sanction an alternative like "Capt. Shazam," it still wouldn't have quite the same ring to it. But, the fact remains, Marvel Comics copyrighted the name at the right time. As in, back when the Fawcett version was still in corporate limbo.

That being said: I commend you, Ross, on your biggest archeological find, yet! I, myself, only learned of the indie android version of Capt. Marvel from re-reading a tag sale copy of Jeff Rovin's ENCYCLOPEDIA Of SUPERHEROES (copyright 1991).

Thanks for doing him such great artistic justice.

Bob Greenwade said...

Magnificent! I know that the Fox Publications Captain Marvel has always had a place reserved in your heart for this blog, Ross, and it's great to see him finally appear -- not as an afterthought, but as the apparent team leader! And I thank you for this cover, not just for that but for so very much more.

I agree with you re: cutting the Captain Marvel name and calling him Shazam. When DC first started publishing him in the 70s, the comic's title was "Shazam! featuring the Original Captain Marvel." With all due respect to the others (Monica Rambeaux is my personal favorite), he's really the grandfather of the lot, and I too will always think of him as Captain Marvel. And, as you say, changing the name to Captain Thunder would have been preferable to calling him Shazam; that name should remain with that blue-robed wizard who gave Billy his powers. And it also disrupts Freddy Freeman's place as the only superhero in comics who doesn't dare say his own name (though Stan Lee's version of Shazam did have the same handicap).

Ross said...

Appreciated, Bob!

Sonofjack Well said...

Ross, thank you, thank you and thank you for including the android "split" version of Captain Marvel. He had the goofiest powers this side of Matter-Eater Lad and has thus always held a special place in my heart. You don't know how long I've waited to see this cover.

As several others have already mentioned, I also hate the fact that the character is now called Shazam. Unfortunately, that's just one more example of DC ruining a classic character....

Keep up the stellar work!

Richard Fuller said...

I'm not familiar with the character NOW being called Shazam or SHAZAM if we must, as he was still called Capt. Marvel in '85's Crisis, the '90s Justice League titles and in Alex Ross' series Kingdom Come, so this sounds like nothing more than an alleged 'reboot' which will be 'rebooted' again in about fifteen years and he'll 'return' to being Captain Marvel, or some "open-minded" writer will want to emphasize his title is not militarily affiliated and simply call him Marvel, more than likely, as calling him MISTER Marvel will be offensive to those who don't identify under such a label. We know he can't be Marvel Man or Marvel Boy, both already used. Maybe he'll become Marvellex?

Regardless, I grew up with '74's Shazam Saturday morning show and enjoy watching it now, discovered the BRILLIANT movie serial several years back and enjoy it and have even grown to delight with the '81 Captain Marvel Saturday morning cartoon, which I detested back then.

Ross said...

I'll try, Sonofjack!

ELS said...

Ross, I will chime in that A) this is a great idea, and B) I HATE DC for giving up on the Captain Marvel name. That's just stupid.

One addition - I might have added Mary Marvel, because in DC's Power of Shazam strip, when she got her powers, she had the white outfit and referred to herself as Captain Marvel also - which, of course, NO OTHER WRITERS paid attention to. Ah, DC, how you screw yourselves into the ground...

Again, this is a swell cover. Bravo.

Matthew Baugh said...

Great cover! I'm glad you included the loopy android Captain Marvel.

I have to agree about Billy Batson/Cap. I don't have any problem with Marvel also having a Captain Marvel, but to give Billy's character a new name just feels wrong.

I haven't read any of the Carol Danvers/Cap stuff. I hear it's pretty good and I have no her problem with her taking the name... though I wish they'd let Monica Rambeau keep it. I loved her since her debut. She was (initially at least) well-written, an interesting personality, and beautifully designed, plus, I loved that Marvel was willing to give such an iconic name to a black woman. Sadly, the company didn't give her much of a push.

Alaric Shapli said...

Personally, if it were up to me, I'd probably give Monica Rambeau the superhero name Captain Photon- it honors her first two superhero names, and it fits her. I like the idea of Carol Danvers taking the Captain Marvel name after all this time- but, then, I still miss Mar-Vell. I just wish the original Fawcett character were still called Captain Marvel, as well.

Anyway, this cover makes me feel good. Just looking at it, I get a huge smile on my face, and I just want to yell, "yay!"

Scott Cummins said...

Captain Thunder is the partner of BlueBolt from Heroic Comics. I have always known him as Shazam not Captain Marvel. My first exposure to him as a child in the 70's was the Shazam/Isis show and later saw him team up with Superman. So going by Shazam is not a big deal for me.

Cary Comic said...

@ELS: LOL! Well said.

Mickey said...

As a kid, I thought his name was Shazam also. But then I learned from the Saturday morning show that it was Captain Marvel. Also, my dad, who read comics in his youth, told me that it was Captain Marvel and that he just said "Shazam" to transform. After having read his comics as well as those in Marvel Comics about the Kree of the same name (of sort), I saw no reason why both publications could not use the name. Of course, back then I was not familiar with copyright laws. I understand the "why" of all this, but I still think it sucks that the name could not be shared, especially, as this cover shows, there have been multiple great characters bearing this name. Nevertheless, Ross, great cover as usual.

Anonymous said...

@SCott Cummins: Captain Thunder was originally going to be the name for the Golden Age Capt. Marvel @ Fawcett Comics. And, in fact, that's the name of the special guest-star that appeared in a 1970's issue of Superman prior to the reintroduction of Billy Batson and company!

Except, in the origin backstory, it was a (rather stereotypically Tonto-like) Native American shaman who gave the proto-Billy his powers.

Cary Comic said...

Actually, Anon, Capt. Thunder was created by Elliot Magin and Curt Swan for SUPERMAN v.1/#276, which hit news stands in 1974. A year _after_ the Big Reintro ("And still only 20 cents")!

Anonymous said...

@ Scott, Anon, and Cary: actually, all three of you are right!

"Capt. Thunder" was fully intended to be the character's name. But, creator-author Bill Parker found out from Fawcett's legal department that the name had already been copyrighted by Heroic Comics! Heroic went out of business after World War II, however, just like Fawcett and so many others did. And, since then, a lot of Golden Age characters have entered the public domain!

Maybe Capt. Thunder and Blue Bolt are among them.

Anonymous said...

@ Second Anon: actually, Capt. Thunder was a swashbuckling British army officer of the 19th century copyrighted by Fiction House. But, you're right about the public domain aspect.

Mateus Honrado said...

I agree with you. DC and Marvel could've shared the ownership of the Captain Marvel name. After all, they do share the "superhero" trademark.

Kelvin Green said...

I did something similar a few years ago; I should probably do an update!

Cary Comic said...

@ 2nd Anon & Scott: And there were two different Blue Bolts. The Golden Age original, who's now in the public domain. And the 1990's revival who is the _only_ one with a super-powered Capt. Thunder for a sidekick!

Anonymous said...

@Bob Greenwade: the android Marvel was M.F. Enterprise. A Silver Age indie. Fox was one of the Golden Age publishers who went belly up circa the late Forties.

Bob Greenwade said...

Anon #3: You're quite right -- M.F. Enterprises. There's my faulty memory going. Thanks for the correction.

Tales of the Boojum said...

Here's what should have happened: A mini-series called "Billy Batson goes to Washington." Billy volunteers as an intern for an idealistic young congresswoman from Fawcett City and goes to the nation's capital where he discovers nefarious doings underway. He says the magic word, takes care of said nefarious doings. Realizing there is still more work for him to do in Washington in both of his identities and that he has a special responsibility to Truth, Justice and the American Way, Billy decides to stay in Washington and change his name to...

Wait for it...

Captain DC.

Problem solved forever, You're welcome.

Bob Buethe said...

Just to clarify: Nobody has copyrighted the name "Captain Marvel." Character names cannot be copyrighted. Marvel Comics has trademarkedthe name "Captain Marvel," though, which means that DC cannot use it on covers, on licensed products, in ads, or on packaging. They can still use the name "Captain Marvel" inside of their comics (and on the TV show, as long as it wasn't used in the title), which is what they did for forty years until someone at DC decided that they didn't want to do that anymore.

mko said...

They should call him Major Marvel.

dfqueally said...

I find it fascinating that even Marvelman/Miracleman had naming issues. Just copying the concept carried the curse!

Big Ulf said...

Totally agree with your point on name change. Captain Thunder would have been way way better if they had to do it.

Nice catch on the SPLIT CM

TC said...

So, if I understand correctly, proper names are trademarked, while concepts and ideas are copyrighted?

As Bob Buethe pointed out, DC could use the name "Captain Marvel" in the strip itself, but not on covers or in merchandising. So, the DC comic books starring the character were titled "Shazam" and, later, "Power of Shazam."

I've read that DC renamed him Shazam because they thought it would confuse readers if the main character's name were different from the book title. Maybe they think today's fans are less intelligent than the kids in the 1970's and earlier, who were buying Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Detective Comics, and World's Finest Comics. (Or the TV viewers who watched Star Trek, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza.)

Lightning Comics advertised an upcoming "Captain Shazam" comic, written by Otto Binder and drawn by C.C. Beck, in 1966. But the company went out of business, and, AFAIK, it was never published.

And I would prefer even the MF ("Split!") Captain Marvel to DC's current Shazam comic, in which Billy Batson is a foul-mouthed street punk.

Bobby Tony said...

I miss the name Captain Marvel as it emanates from an era where military-titled characters were plentiful and part of the national identity, and also denotes that this is a character who is good at everything, i.e., a marvel. DC has screwed him up by over-focusing on the magic element instead of making him like the Fawcett Captain Marvel - a two-fisted, alpha-male-archetype, modern-day Hercules, courageous and wise, solving over-sized problems in a fantastic world. But the Ideal Man aspect is too threatening to Superman. In fact, their history in the 1940s is one of the characters one-upping each other with feats in their respective titles, each character gaining more powers over the years to keep abreast/ahead of the other guy. Since DC got control, they have rarely given the Captain his due. The newest incarnation is the worst yet and I have fears of the Shazam! movie becoming a Black Adam showcase, with Cap, if he's in it at all, being based on Geoff Johns' Shazam squad version - blech! Anyway, thank the gods and elders we'll always have the real Cap on Super-Team Family!

Support STF: The Lost Issues!