Wednesday, June 08, 2016

In honor of C. C. Beck : Captain Marvel Day

Today we pay homage to the main artist on the adventures of Captain Marvel who has captivated, enchanted and inspired whole generations going as far as doing their own version of the world´s mightiest mortal.


Although to tell the truth, I didn´t know any of this and the first Captain Marvel I read about was an alien in a green and white costume and his name was Captain Mar - Vell. He was drawn by the great Gene Colan ( at first ) and appeared as the backup story in Williams Verlag´s DIE RÄCHER.


Now the first time I encountered the real Captain Marvel ... was not in SUPERMAN 276 because the guy on the cover was a Captain Marvel knockoff by the name of Captain Thunder. The stories about why this issue was made are conflicting with some people saying it was a test to see if readers were interested in Captain Marvel without really making this a Captain Marvel story ( so that if this didn´t work out they could say it was not the REAL Captain Marvel ) while others say this was Elliot S Maggin´s attempt to integrate Captain Marvel in the DC universe proper.


I don´t think I knew very much about Captain Marvel when I read this story so for a long time I thought this was how Captain Marvel was. I learned many years later that the name of his secret identity was Billy Batson, not Willie Fawcett, that he changes into the world´s mightiest mortal by shouting the name of the wizard " Shazam ! " and not by rubbing the symbol on his belt buckle ( which looks perverted ) and shouting " Thunder ! " and that he has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury instead of the power of the tornado, the speed of the hare, the bravery of Uncas, the wisdom of nature, the toughness of the diamond, the flight of the eagle and the tenacity of the ram. Oh boy.


As a little side note : while this was the first and last appearance of the DC Captain Thunder ( unless he has appeared in CONVERGENCE which I wouldn´t put past DC ) there was another Captain Thunder later on in a sadly shortlived series by Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas and E. R. Cruz from Hero Comics. Which my readers may recall me mentioning in this post .


Eventually the real Captain Marvel was introduced to the DC universe alongside the entire Marvel family where he most often was treated as the poor man´s version of Superman when he was so much more. Here´s an issue that enforces the argument from DC´s lawsuit against Fawcett Comics that Captain Marvel is just Superman with another dress which led to them acquiring the rights for the Shazam ! character in the first place.


Shazam also teamed up with the All - Star Squadron and the association with DC´s legacy characters would later be carried on as he became a member of the Justice Society of America. He was one of their big guns.


After CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Captain Marvel was one of the key players the LEGENDS miniseries by Len Wein, John Ostrander and John Byrne ( which was just reprinted this month as the series celebrates its 30th anniversary ). The purpose of the series was to establish the new status quo and integrate Captain Marvel into the new Justice League.


The reason for bringing in Captain Marvel was so nobody would feel the absence of Superman but he was used mostly for comedic relief and nobody took him seriously. Once again his potential was squandered.


That changed dramatically when Jerry Ordway helmed the brilliant THE POWER OF SHAZAM ! series. While he only did the art on a few issues and resigned himself to writing duties on the rest this was a wonderful series that incorporated all the wonderful things of the original comics. And he launched the book with a fully painted hardcover graphic novel that is an absolute must read even if you never heard of Captain Marvel or Shazam.


Sadly the series only lasted 48 issues ( way to shoot it in the kneecap before issue 50 came around, DC ) and Captain Marvel went back to being a background character in Justice League of America one more time.


There were a few exceptions like KINGDOM COME where a writer used Captain Marvel brilliantly but the rivalry with Superman mostly fell in favor of Superman. And although I´m a big Superman fan this never made sense to me because Captain Marvel is as powerful as Superman but doesn´t have his vulnerability to kryptonite or magic. In the real world Captain Marvel would be like the improved version of Superman.


One last highlight was Jeff Smith´s four part prestige format mini series THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL which really recaptured the spirit of sheer youthful innocence of the characters. There were a few series aimed at kids that followed but I never read any of them so I can´t tell you if they equaled this in quality. I would say you can´t go wrong with Jeff Smith but so far I haven´t felt any inclination to check out his RASL series. I guess I have to wait until he tackles a subject I find interesting.


Since Captain Marvel has a huge fan following they have made him one of the big players in the NEW 52 but as usual they had to write the character " edgy " and " realistic " which means they couldn´t come up with good ideas and wrote him as the typical snot nosed spoiled brat that is for some strange reason so omnipresent in entertainment Today. I don´t know but somebody who always only watches out for himself is hardly what I call a hero. Now some people may say that just because you have powers doesn´t mean you have to be a hero. Which basically makes you a villain and I don´t want to read about villains. Which is something DC seems to have realized at last since they are backpaddling wildly from their previous dark and gritty universe with the REBIRTH relaunch now.


At least the art by Gary Frank is spectacular even if he will probably not be on any new series involving the Marvel Family. Thankfully all the back up material from JUSTICE LEAGUE has been collected in one hardcover.


Chronological speaking DC COMICS ANNUAL 3 should be further above but it´s the last story with Shazam I read as part of the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN - GIL KANE hardcover. I didn´t want to deprive my readers of the great art in this special where the Marvel Family not teams up with one Superman but the Supermen of two worlds to defeat the evil Dr. Sivana who has gained the powers of Captain Marvel and keeps going up in rank from Captain Sivana to Major Sivana through the entire story.


And last but not least : since I mentioned Marvel Comics Captain Marvel by Gene Colan he DID get his chance to draw the Shazam Captain Marvel in this comission, inked by Tom Palmer where he takes on Dracula.


Sadly I can´t go into the complete history of Captain Marvel but why should I when iFANBOY already did that ? Which brings us to the links of all the people who made the post possible. First of I want to thank the websites which provided the pages from Superman 276 which are the DIRTY RIVER tumblr and THE BREVOORT HISTORY OF COMICS tumblr .

While not essential for making this post the following links might be interesting for my readers : SHAZAMCAST, Earth´s Mightiest Captain Marvel Podcast has an episode on Superman 276, over at FLASHBACK UNIVERSE Captain Thunder makes Jim Shelley´s list of the Top 10 Most Powerful Pre - Crisis Superman Foes and COHENCENTRIC : LEONARD COHEN CONSIDERED has the post Leonard Cohen : Comic Book Fan, Captain Thunder Aspirant . Thanks, guys, for all the hard work.

Today´s spring chicken in the birthday section is buxom 34E bombshell Samantha Saint who is only 29. The green - eyed stunner who began her career in the adult entertainment industry as a glamor model for Suze Randall and Holly Randall started performing in hardcore movies in 2011 and was nominated for an AVN Award for Best New Starlet in 2012. Samantha was the Pet of the Month in October 2012 and enjoys outdoor activities like camping, mountain climbing, and white water rafting.


I don´t know much about Kanye West not even if he´s still together with Kim Kardashian since I never watched Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I´m only taking his 39th birthday as an excuse to post this picture of Kim.


Lexa Doig who turns 43 on the other hand was the only reason to suffer through Andromeda. Is it just me or is Kevin Sorbo unbearably dull on every tv show. Lexa was also on the sci fi shows Tek War, The 4400, Stargate SG1 ( she´s married to Michael Shanks ), Eureka, V, Primeval : New World and Continuum. She also had a small role on Smallville


SIMPLY RED frontman Mick Hucknall celebrates his 56th birthday on this day which gives me the opportunity to post another video from The Voice.



Scott Adams who does the brilliant Dilbert cartoon has his 59th birthday and there is an more than hour long video on YouTube but I chose this one which is much shorter. If you have watched this and still want more you can find the other video easily. Anyway, the best parts are always the ones with Dilbert´s boss and you can see that Scott knows how bosses think.



And we are staying with the great humorists of the 20th century as Jürgen von der Lippe celebrates his 68th anniversary. To people of my generation he´s the guy from Gebrüder Blattschuß who had big solo success in the german charts with such mega hits like Guten Morgen liebe Sorgen or Sie müssen nur den Nippel durch die Lasche ziehen. Today´s tv audience knows him better from his gigs hosting such game shows like Extreme Activity on which german über MILF Verona Pooth was a constant guest.


Here she is on a team with rock centerfold Jeanette Biedermann and Britt Hagedorn who is the only one who was naked in the german PLAYBOY although the other two don´t have to hide their light under a bushel.


Especially singing Busenwunder Jeanette Biedermann has shown her porn star qualities pretty openly in countless gentlemen´s magazine spreads, music videos not apt for viewing before midnight or television movies.


Back to Extreme Activity, Verona was without any question so often on the show because she guaranteed a high rating with the male viewers and I guess her audience friendly cleaveged corsage served its purpose here.



Speaking of guaranteeing a high rating among male viewers, Colin Baker who celebrates his 73th birthday " inherited " the stunning Nicola Bryant as a companion from the previous Doctor, Peter Davison who was eclipsed in his tragic regeneration scene by Nicola Bryant´s supple cleavage.


Colin Baker was not as popular as Doctor Who as his predecessor so a knockout like Nicola on the show who could divert the audience´s attention away from his garish outfit and unnerving personality was definitely a plus. I guess it´s one of the reasons why she wore so much spandex. In any way, Nicola sure did what she was supposed to do even if she had nothing more to do then breathe hard in some of the scenes.


But since it´s Colin Baker who celebrates his birthday and not Nicola here is the next part of Stripped for Action which takes a look at all the Doctor Who comics. What I can´t understand is how any man with a functioning libido could exchange a sexbomb like Perry for a penguin. A shapeshifter - I can definitely see the possibilities if she can look like every woman you have ever lusted after from Janet Jackson to Yaya Han - but a penguin ?



And since this posts celebrates Captain Marvel here is a trailer ( of course it´s made by a fan and looking better than anything Hollywood produces ) from one of the few awesome stories where they tapped his full potential.



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