Captain Marvel (DC Comics)

Captain Marvel (DC Comics)

Captain Marvel is a fictional comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and later by DC Comics. Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, the character first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940). With a premise that taps adolescent fantasy, Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a youth who works as a radio news reporter and was chosen to be a champion of good by the wizard Shazam. Whenever Billy speaks the wizard's name, he is struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six archetypal figures. Several friends and family members, most notably Marvel Family cohorts Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., can share Billy's power and become "Marvels" themselves.

Hailed as "The World's Mightiest Mortal" in his adventures, Captain Marvel was nicknamed "The Big Red Cheese" by arch-villain Doctor Sivana, an epithet later adopted by Captain Marvel's fans. Based on sales, Captain Marvel was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, as his Captain Marvel Adventures comic book series sold more copies than Superman and the other competing books of the time. Captain Marvel was also the first comic book superhero to be adapted to film, in a 1941 Republic Pictures serial titled Adventures of Captain Marvel.

Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, due in part to a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters and returned them to publication, acquiring all rights to the characters by 1991. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe, and have attempted to revive the property several times with mixed success.

Because Marvel Comics trademarked their Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the original Captain Marvel's Fawcett years and DC years, DC has used the trademark Shazam! to promote the property since 1972, instead of the name "Captain Marvel". Consequently, Captain Marvel himself has often been referred to as "Shazam", leading to DC to rename the character as such with their New 52 relaunch in 2012.

Captain Marvel was ranked as the 55th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Captain Marvel as the 50th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that Captain Marvel will always be an enduring reminder of a simpler time. UGO Networks also placed him as one of the top heroes of entertainment quoting, "At his best, Shazam has always been Superman with a sense of crazy, goofy fun".

Read more about Captain Marvel (DC Comics):  Powers and Abilities, Other Versions, Supporting Cast, Collected Editions

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