Friday, June 10, 2011

The SECRET Captain Marvel!

You know the guy who says SHAZAM...
You know the numerous Marvel Comics characters who've used the name...
 But do you know this guy?
In an era where Sean Connery was James Bond 007, Adam West was Batman, and A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S. were all the R.A.G.E., a number of companies leaped into the fray to compete against Marvel and DC for entertainment dollars...
One of them was M.F. Enterprises, named after it's publisher, Myron Fass, a former comic book artist!
In 1966, Fass took a look to see what already-established names for comics characters were no longer being used, and discovered several were no longer trademarked...including the Golden Age Captain Marvel, whose last appearance had been in 1954, and whose trademark had expired!
Just as Stan Lee had done at Marvel Comics with the name "Daredevil", Fass decided to create a new character using the title, reworking certain elements (like yelling a word that triggered a transformation) and adding new ones (The hero is an alien robot).

The writer/artist who handled the character was Carl Burgos, creator of the Golden Age Human Torch (also an android), The White Streak (also an android), The Iron Skull (also an android) it just me or is there a pattern here?
Besides Captain Marvel, Fass also used the names of several other Golden Age characters, including Plastic Man and Dr Fate as new characters (but, they were villains)!
Captain Marvel lasted thru five issues of his own title as well as a one-shot Captain Marvel presents the Terrible Five before M.F. Publications gave up on color comics and concentrated on b/w magazines including Golden Age horror and sci-fi reprints under the Eerie Publications imprint!
That was the end of this Captain Marvel, but not the end of...Captain Marvel!
In late 1967, Marvel Comics took their reprint title Fantasy Masterpieces, retitled it Marvel Super-Heroes and added new stories to the front of the book.
The first new story featured a totally-new character, an alien named Mar-Vell, a captain in the Kree spacefleet.
Guess how the humans he met mispronounced and misspelled his name...
Awww, you guessed!
Mar-Vell received his own title, went thru a costume and format change...
...but eventually was cancelled.  He continued to appear as a guest-star in other titles to maintain the trademark.
In 1973, DC Comics revived the Golden Age Captain Marvel...
...but though they could call him "Captain Marvel" on the inside, they couldn't use the name as the book's title, so they called it SHAZAM!
Marvel Comics, meanwhile, revived Mar-Vell in his own comic, cancelled it, killed him off, used the "Captain Marvel" name for several different characters (and their books) since, and brought him back as a disembodied spirit.
That's a story for another time...

We'll be presenting more of the FIRST Silver Age Captain Marvel's never-reprinted adventures, so bookmark us!

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