Real Name: Billy Batson
Identity/Class: Magically transformed human
Occupation: Radio broadcaster
Affiliations: Captain Marvel Jr; Shazam, Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, rest of Marvel Family; (DC incarnation can add) Superman, JLA
Enemies: Dr Sivana, Black Adam, Water Man
Known Relatives: Mary Batson (sister)
Aliases: The Big Red Cheese; Shazam, Captain Thunder (see comments)
Base of Operations: Fawcett City
First Appearance: Whiz Comics #2 (Fawcett Comics, February 1940)
Comments: Created by C.C. Beck
Captain Marvel has one of the most convoluted real-world histories of any comic character. Both the title he first appeared in, and the character's name, changed shortly before they first appeared. Whiz Comics was intended to be called Flash Comics, but DC beat Fawcett to the newsstands by a few days with their own title of that name. After considering and rejecting Thrill Comics because it was too close the the already existing Thrilling Comics, a decision was made to go with Whiz Comics. Issue One of Whiz Comics was what they call an Ashcan, not meant for public distribution, but rather a dummy issue put together to show advertisers, and to specifically to gain the trademark on a brand new character - Billy Batson, a.k.a. Captain Thunder...
Hang on, Captain Thunder? Yep. Originally the character was called that, but again Fawcett were pipped at the post. Fiction House produced a Captain Thunder (Captain Terry Thunder of the British Army) in Jungle Comics #1, just ahead of Fawcett. Again, a name change was in order. Thus Captain Marvel was born.
But that wasn't the end of the name saga....
Real Name: Billy Batson
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: The Comics Buyer's Guide #16, 1982
Comments: DC Comics had acquired the Fawcett characters when that company went bust. In the 1970's Roy Thomas proposed relaunching Captain Marvel in the DC Universe, but since Marvel Comics now had a character of that name (Mar-Vell of the Kree) he suggested renaming the character Captain Thunder, and in a move towards equalisation, making both Billy Batson and Captain Thunder black. This version of the character never got past the drawing board, although he was mentioned in a comics journal, complete with illustrations by Jerry Ordway. Roy would go on to use the Captain Thunder name for another, very different character a decade or so later.
Real Name: William "Willie" Fawcett
Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic.
Occupation: Works for WHAM-TV
Enemies: The Monster League of Evil
Known Relatives: None known
Aliases: None known
Base of Operations: Metropolis of an alternate Earth
First Appearance: Superman #276 (DC Comics, 1974)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength and invulnerability, able to fly, superfast, etc. Basically the same as Captain Marvel.
History: Young Willie Fawcett is given a magic belt buckle by Merokee, the last medicine man of the Mohegan tribe, which when activated will transform him into the heroic Captain Thunder. The belt is activated when he says thunder, which calls on the spiritual powers of Tornado (for power), Hare (for speed), Uncas (for bravery - a text box informs us that Uncas was an outstanding warrior chief of the Monegan tribe), Nature (for wisdom), Diamond (for toughness), Eagle (for flight), and Ram (for tenacity). Captain Thunder would go on to battle Superman.
Comments: DC did decide to use part of Roy's idea, creating Captain Thunder, a hero from an alternate Earth. Other than being black, Roy's original proposal for Captain Thunder was actually closer in terms of secret identity and costume to his source than this one was.
Real Name: Unknown
Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic
Affiliations: The Justice Society
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: Elseworld's Finest "Supergirl and Batgirl" (DC Comics, 1998)
Powers/Abilities: Same as the original Captain Marvel.
History: Apparently the successor to Billy Batson's magical powers, this Captain Marvel was a member of the Justice Society in a world where BatGirl and Bruce Wayne ran Gotham City as a fascistic state with no superpowered beings allowed to enter it's borders.
Captain Marvel has also appeared several times in live action series, and at least once in his own cartoon. Although each interpretation has been memorable, they've all also been reasonably faithful to the comics, and so don't merit distinct entries. He's been seen in:
The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941), a Saturday matinee serial, where Tom Tyler played the superhero and Frank Coughlin Jr. was Billy
Shazam (1974), where Cap was played by Jackson Bostwick in the first season and John Davey in the second and third. Michael Gray was Billy. This show aired alongside Isis.
Legends of the Superheroes (1979), a dire two part TV movie, where Garrett Craig played him alongside several D.C. superheroes.
The Kids Superpower Hour (1981), where Captain Marvel's cartoon shared air time with Hero High (and the even had a crossover). Burr Middleton did the voice chores for both Cap and Billy.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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