Sunday, February 7, 2010
70 years of Captain Marvel
This month marks the 70th Anniversary of Captain Marvel. Cover dated Feb. 1940, Whiz Comics #2 arrived on news stands next to the recent crop of super-heroes that debuted the prior year. Fawcett Publications wanted to join National Publications (DC Comics) and Timely (Marvel Comics) and get into the super-hero/comic book game.
Their most popular character was Captain Marvel. Created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, Cap was really young orphan Billy Batson who when he shouted the name "Shazam" (the old wizard who gave him his powers), took the combined powers of six gods and became the World's Mightiest Mortal.
The name Shazam was an amalgam of the six elders that help forge the mighty hero:
S - Solomon - for wisdom
H - Hercules - for strenght
A - Atlas - for stamina
Z - Zeus - for power
A - Achilles - for courage
M - Mercury - for speed
Billy Batson became a radio reporter for station WHIZ and this helped him to be on top of the dangers that threatened the city (First New York, then Fawcett City) where he lived.
Captain Marvel was one of the most popular super-heroes of the Golden Age of Comics. His comics sold into the millions and many months outsold Superman. Captain Marvel Adventures was the only title to be sold twice a month for a period in the mid-1940's.
As this month goes on, I'll write more on the history of Captain Marvel and Fawcett. I'll post about The Marvel Family, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and the other Fawcett heroes. I'll also write about the long standing lawsuit that DC Comics had against Fawcett claiming that Captain Marvel was a rip-off of Superman.
Plus I'll post more artwork of Cap and the rest of the Fawcett Heroes that I've done.
Happy Birthday, Captain Marvel! Let the Magic of Shazam help us to celebrate of one the greatest Super-Heroes of all!