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.