- CAPTAIN MARVEL
- US COMIC-book character. Created and initially drawn by C.C. Beck, CM first appeared in 1940 in Fawcett's Whiz Comics (1940-53) and then contemporaneously in Fawcett's Captain Marvel Adventures (1941-53); Jack KIRBY and Mac Raboy were among its many illustrators. Foremost among its scriptwriters was Otto Binder (Eando BINDER), who developed CM's distinctive whimsical humour. Newsboy Billy Batson, on speaking the magic word "Shazam!" - an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury - becomes CM, an invincible SUPERHERO. CM was successful enough in the late 1940s to be given a whole Marvel Family, including CM Jr, Mary Marvel (CM's sister), Uncle Marvel and even Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.CM bore some resemblance to SUPERMAN, and thus became the subject of a lawsuit brought by National Periodical Publications (later DC COMICS); this was contested until, for financial reasons, Fawcett capitulated in 1953. In the UK the reprints of CM published by L. Miller had been sufficiently successful to warrant continued independent publication under a new name, Marvelman (346 issues, 1954-63), drawn by Mick Anglo Studios; the hero had a new crew-cut hairstyle and a new magic word, "Kimota!" ("Atomik!" backwards). The series was reprinted in the first 5 issues of Miracleman (beginning 1985). Artists included Don Lawrence, Ron Embleton and George Stokes. Under this new name, the character much later ran into difficulties when Quality Communications obtained permission to resurrect him in Warrior, with an adult script by Alan MOORE (1984). MARVEL COMICS threatened legal action because of the use of the word "Marvel" in the title. So Marvelman was renamed Miracleman, otherwise continuing unchanged and subsequently appearing in the USA from Eclipse, for whom he is currently (1991) scripted by Neil GAIMAN.Earlier a small company called Lightning Comics had tried to revive the original CM character but, owing to National's assumed ownership of the copyright, had found it necessary to rework the concept, first as Todd Holton, Super Green-Beret (1967; magic word turns boy into soldier) and then, more amazingly, as Fatman the Human Flying Saucer (1967; magic word turns boy into UFO), this latter being drawn by C.C. Beck, who had created the original CM. Neither character lasted long; however, the incident served to apprise both DC National and Marvel that there was a dilemma. Marvel quickly created another Captain Marvel in Marvel Superheroes \#12 (1968); this was a more conventional superhero. As long as Marvel continued to publish the exploits of this character, Marvel reasoned, DC could not revive their own 1940s CM without causing an undesirable confusion. However, this prospect did not deter DC, who resurrected the original CM in a comic called Shazam! (1972-8), later continued as Shazam: The New Beginning (1987). Nevertheless, Marvel Comics continue to maintain a token CM simply in order to stop DC publishing a comic book with the word "Marvel" in the title; thus, even though Marvel's CM was killed off in the GRAPHIC NOVEL The Death of Captain Marvel (graph 1982) written and drawn by Jim Starlin, yet another CM was created to replace him.There was, very briefly, a further CM. Captain Marvel Presents the Terrible 5 (MF Enterprises 1966) was one of the worst comics of all time. This CM's magic word was "Split!", the saying of which caused a part of his body to detach itself. Needless to say, writs flew.RT
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.