Sunday, June 03, 2012
Number 1168: Last of the Marvels
You especially like the fun Captain Marvel and related comic books: The Marvel Family, and Captain Marvel Jr. You pick up a copy of Captain Marvel Adventures #150, thumb through, see the funny pictures of Captain Marvel with Sivana's head. A good one, you think. You just don't know that when you go looking for the next issue you won't find it. Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Jr. had ended their long runs with issues dated June, 1953, numbers 155 and 118 respectively. The Marvel Family #89, which you will pick up in November, will be its last issue, dated January 1954.
Bummer. You're puzzled as to why you're not seeing the familiar comic books. You don't know that Superman, whom you think is stodgy compared to Captain Marvel, finally beat Captain Marvel down and sent him packing. They'd been battling, not with thundering blows in combat, but in court. A judge decided that Captain Marvel was just too much like Superman, so Captain Marvel's publisher, Fawcett, decided to cut its losses and canceled their whole comic book line.
You have a long wait until the next issue, until 1973, when DC—the company that put your favorite comic book character out of business—brings Captain Marvel back. But the name "Captain Marvel" has been taken over by Marvel Comics for a science fiction hero. So the new DC Captain Marvel book actually comes out with the title Shazam!
You're glad to see your old friend, Captain Marvel, back again, but it's not really the same. It's pretty good, drawn by the original Captain Marvel artist, C. C. Beck, but it's been twenty years since that last issue of Captain Marvel Adventures, and you're not nine anymore. While he looks the same and has the same powers, some of the old magic of the Golden Age Captain Marvel is gone. Oh well. At least you have your old issues of the original Captain Marvel Adventures in a box at home, and DC comes out with reprints of the older stories which you can look at any time you want. You can see what made Captain Marvel so special to you at that time, at that age.
So can we. From Captain Marvel Adventures #150 (1953):