There have been no fewer than five heroes who have gone by the moniker Captain Mavel
The first and most famous of the heroes called Captain Marvel was published by
Fawcett Comics and first appeared in Whiz Comics #2in February 1940. Captain Marvel
was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.
Captain Marvel was in fact Billy Batson, a orphan who worked as a newsboy. One night, Billy
is lead into an abandoned subway tunnel by a mysterious stranger. The two travel down the long
abandoned tunnel on a driverless car, which stops before a long hallway. Along one side of the
hallway are images of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man: Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Selfishness,
Laziness, and Injustice.
Once they reach the end of the hall, the stranger vanishes, but Billy finds an old man seated on a throne in the room at the end of the hall.
Hanging above the man by a fraying thread is a huge stone slab. The old man introduces
himself as the wizard Shazam and Billy sees written on the wall behind the wizard the names of
Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Shazam tells Billy to say his
name, which Billy does. A bolt of lighting appears with a peal of thunder and Billy Batson is
transformed into a muscular man. Shazam explains that he now has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength
of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, and the speed of Mercury. Shazam tells Billy
that he is to fight evil with these new powers and then tells him to say the wizard's name again.
When Billy repeats the name, he is transformed back into his own form, but the resulting bolt of
lightning breaks the thread, sending the stone slab crashing down on top of the old wizard.
So begins the adventures of the original Captain Marvel. Over the years, he encounters many
enemies like the evil genius Dr.Thaddeus Silvana, the ancient Egyptian powerhouse Black Adam,
to the bizarre menace of Mr. Mind, a catepillar with a bad attitude and telepathic abilities.
Captain Marvel did not fight these menaces alone, for soon, a whole group of heroes or as they
are often called the Marvel Family was introduced. They include Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel,
Uncle Marvel and even Hoppy Marvel or the Marvel Bunny.
In the 1960's, after the Fawcett hero Captain Marvel was no longer being published, M.F. Enterprises
published a short-lived hero called Captain Marvel. The hero was created by Carl Burgos and
first appeared in his own comic in April 1966. This new Captain Marvel was a robot from a long
dead world with immense strength and the ability to fly. His most unique power, however, was the
ability to have his limbs and head split from the trunk of his body and act independent of each other.
This was accomplished by him yelling Split!. His comic was not well recieved and only lasted
six short issues.
Three years later in 1967, Marvel Comics created their own Captain Marvel. Created by Stan
Lee and Gene Colan, the Captain Marvel was an alien from the planet Kree (whose real name was
Mar-Vell) who was on Earth
as a spy. Eventually he became an ally of humanity and renounced his connection with his own
people. Armed with his nega-bands (two bracelets that allowed him to fly through space and
shoot bolts of energy) and his cosmic awareness (a sort of Zen, one with the universe thing), Captain
Marvel fought many cosmic foes. He eventually became linked to Rick Jones, the former
partner to Captain America and the harmonica-playing teen who was responsible for the creation
of the Incredible Hulk. The two would change places by tapping the bands together.
In the 1970's as this Captain Marvel's popularity waned, Marvel killed him off in a graphic novel
known as The Death of Captain Marvel. The character was killed, not in battle but by cancer.
In the early 1980's, Marvel created a new Captain Marvel. Monica Rambeau was a harbor cop in New Orleans when she was
involved in preventing a group of criminals from gaining access
to a interdimensional rift. During the conflict, Monica
destroyed the rift, linking herself with it, giving her the
power to transform herself into any type of energy. Due to
the unstable nature of the link, she initally was in danger of
exploding, but with the help of Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic
the link was stablized. During her initial adventure, she was
given the name Captain Marvel.
She became a member of the Avengers and served for a time as
chairperson of the group. During one of their missions, Captain
Marvel came into contact with the ocean while in an electrical
form. This shunted a good deal of her mass, robbing her of
a good deal of weight and seemingly of her powers. After
many months of recovery, Monica discovered that her powers were
not lost, only altered. She now had super-strength, the ability
to fly at super-sonic speeds, and an aura that gave her a degree
of invulnerability. During this time, she worked with the Avengers again and during one
of their missions regained her original powers.
In the mid-1980's, DC Comics gained the rights to Fawcett Comics
version of Captain Marvel. The introduced the heroes into their
Crisis on Infinite Earths story, and after the Crisis, Captain
Marvel joined the DC Comics cast of characters. He became a member
of the Justice League.
In the last few years, Marvel Comics has brought the name Captain Marvel back to the
forefront. In the Avengers Forever mini-series, Captain Marvel's son
Genis was introduced as a future Captain Marvel. Monica Rambeau renamed herself
Photon and gave Genis the use of the name. He and Rick Jones currently share their
existence as Rick and the original Captain Marvel had.