This is a story about three comic book
companies. Marvel Comics
, DC Comics
, and Fawcett Comics
which doesn't exist no more. A long long time ago (1938
), in a galaxy
exactly like this one, DC came out with a superhero
. Superman was good. Very very good. So good in fact, that everybody wanted to make carbon copies of him. Within a couple years, there were literally hundreds of superheroes
based loosely on old Supes. One little known guy was Wonder Man
who was published by Fawcett Comics
but he only lasted one issue, because DC threatened legal action since it was so uncannily
like Supes as to be practically the same comic book. Issue two never saw the light of day. Remember the name Wonder Man. That comes up again briefly a bit later.
Not to be outdone, Fawcett went back to the drawing board. The result in 1939 was SHAZAM! Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel wasn't anything like Superman. Now granted, they could both fly. They both had super strength. However! Superman had a Red S on his chest over a yellow background. Captain Marvel had a yellow lightning bolt on his chest over a red background. Superman was red and yellow and blue. Captain Marvel was red and yellow and white. Superman said "up, up and away!" Captain Marvel said, "Shazam!" During World War Two Captain Marvel expressed a strong anti-Nazi and anti-Japaneze sentiment, while at the same time Superman expressed a strong anti-Nazi and anti-Japaneze sentiment. Superman had incredible wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed, while Captain Marvel on the other hand had Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury which gave him incredible wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed. Superman hailed from the imaginary city of Metropolis, while Captain Marvel lived in the imaginary Fawcett City. Superman had powers above and beyond those of mortal man, while Captain Marvel was the world's mightiest mortal. Captain Marvel had stylized artwork while Superman had ..stylized artwork. Superman's alter-ego was Clark Kent who was a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet. Captain Marvel's alter-ego was the mild-mannered Billy Batson, who couldn't hold down a job. Captain Marvel had the Marvel Family with Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Uncle Marvel, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny while Superman had just Supergirl, Superboy and Krypto the superdog. See the difference?
Me either. Still, from 1939 to 1953 these guys fought one another month after month on newsstands all across America. For awhile, The Big Red Cheese even outsold Supes. Despite their success, in 1953 Fawcett bit the big one, and DC survived. Probably because DC was still suing Fawcett for everything it was worth. Meanwhile, there was this other comic book company that was elbowing its way through all the other comic book companies that by this time were dropping like flies because of the Comics Code Authority. It's name? You guessed it: MARVEL Funny coincidence, that, eh?
Marvel Comics came out with their own Captain Marvel. Only they called him Captain Mar-Vell in a vain attempt to avoid copyright litigations. Captain Mar-Vell was nothing like Fawcett's Captain Marvel or Superman. Captain Mar-Vell didn't have a cape. He was blonde. He spent all of his time out in space with the Kree and while Superman still hadn't kissed Lois Lane and Captain Marvel was still little Billy Batson who hung out with talking tigers and thought girls had cooties, Captain Mar-Vell was getting it on with the luscious and stacked Una. Still, DC and Marvel went to court because by this time, DC had bought the rights to Fawcett's Captain Marvel and wanted to publish new stories. This brings us up to about the year 1972. DC was able to publish new stories, but had to publish them under the comic book title Shazam! because technically Marvel Comics held the rights to the Captain Marvel name as a comic book title.
By the way, remember Wonder Man? Well, Marvel attempted to produce a character named Wonder Man but he wore a jacket and had thick shades and was a Hollywood type. Nothing like anybody, really. He crashed and burned though cuz he just flat sucked. Throughout this time period, other comic book companies had also attempted to steal Superman's thunder, in several ways. Many of these superheroes were so alike it was just flat absurd. In fact as an inside joke, at one point Superman went up against a character named Captain Thunder who was almost just like Captain Marvel but not really. Boy that probably ticked somebody off. Superman has had many people trying to knock him off his title of King of the Hill, but we're talking about Captain Marvel here.
By 1976, Captain Marvel and Superman finally did meet in the comic book title Justice League of America, and in the courts, DC met Marvel, with yet another court order. Marvel Comics was forced to kill off their Captain Marvel, or suffer further legal litigation. They attempted to bring Captain Marvel back in the middle 1980s as a woman, but that didn't work too well either.
By 1987, DC started publishing Captain Marvel comic books under the name Captain Marvel. So that's how DC owns Captain Marvel, and Marvel owns squat. I hear Marvel Comics has come out with yet another incarnation of Captain Marvel, but had to rename him Genis. Ouch. That's gotta hurt.
Oh, one more thing. In the years from 1987 to today, DC has successfully accomplished in retelling the origin and chronicles of Captain Marvel, to accomodate for the modern-day, and they have successfully completely removed any chance of this character ever being remotely interesting or redeemable in the future. So the moral of this story is, if someone tries to steal your thunder, get a bunch of lawyers to sue them into debt, wait until their company has been destroyed in the courts, buy up the rights to what was causing you such turmoil in the first place, and completely and effectively ruin the original source of your personal torment.
Excuse me while I go throw up.