Captain Marvel

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....

Captain Thunder

Real Name: Billy Batson





Known Relatives:


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.

Captain Thunder

Real Name: William "Willie" Fawcett

Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic.

Occupation: Works for WHAM-TV

Affiliations: Superman

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.

Captain Marvel

Real Name: Unknown

Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic


Affiliations: The Justice Society

Enemies: BatGirl

Known Relatives:


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:


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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