Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

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TheSander
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Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby TheSander » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:29 am

I've discovered the existance of Earth's Mightiest Mortal only relatively recently, through the Superman/Shazam animated short film. I loved it.
This 25 minutes story about a kid who gets superpowers from an old wizard, and then uses them to fight evil alongside Superman, made me wish that what I was watching was the pilot of a new animated series.

I then started to looking more into Cap's: I got myself numbers 1-27 of the old Power of Shazam series (at a real bargain) and a friend lent me First Thunder.
And overall, I really liked the character of Billy Batson, and found his adventure enjoyable.

All of this left counfounded at his lack of popularity or general recognition. He apparently hasn't had his own title since the Power of Shazam days, he has a single appearance in the DC Animated Universe (granted, it was a good one, but still), had only a supporting role in Young Justice, and the only animated movie he stars in as a protagonist is not only 'just' a 30 minutes short, but he had to share it with Superman (And before you mention it, I don't associate the "Shazam" that appears in JL:War with the Captain Marvel I've come to like).

And even beyond that, I find the lack of fan fiction of him even more surprising. Yeah, I know, fanfics are not always good, but I like to think that their presence shows that others see the potential for more stories in the fictional world built by others. And Captain Marvel has so much potential. My hope had been that fans had seen it and taken advantage of it to try and tell their own stories, good or bad (or laughable, which can be both).

Bottom line, could anyone tell why hasn't DC hasn't found more use for a character with suge amazing potential?

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Thakowsaizmu » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:00 am

Image

:lol:

And I don't know why the character isn't more popular.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby TheSander » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:11 am

Carol is all right, though I still find her new costume hideous.

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Mr Mole » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:12 am

Regarding the OP... :roll:

Captain Marvel's popularity is complicated issue.

He's been around very nearly as long as Superman and they started out competing for readers. National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications copyright infringement lawsuit didn't help. As a result, CM's title was cancelled and he sat in limbo for about twenty years.

During his down-time, Marvel trademarked "Captain Marvel" as the title of one of their comics, so when CM came back in the '70s, it was in a book titled "Shazam!," which didn't help any with character recognition.

When he made his comeback, it was under DC's banner... And Captain Marvel's consistently played second fiddle to DC's favorite son, Superman, since then.

Business-wise, it makes sense to me... But I really, really like Captain Marvel as a character in ways Superman can't even approach. A lot of "old school" comic book fans have a soft spot for him. :mrgreen:

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby The_Watchman » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:21 am

Because DC bought/stole Captain Marvel to remove him from competition and to strip him for parts. Otto Binder moved from writing Captain Marvel to writing Superman and Jimmy Olsen (who took over in large part the "child getting wish fulfillment" aspect of the Big Red Cheese) and once that happened, there wasn't a ton of purpose for Captain Marvel. It would be like having Batman and Moon Knight (or Darkseid and Thanos, etc) in the same universe. Yeah, there's a lot of little things to distinguish the characters but ultimately, you're going to use the more popular one or at least the one that's widely known and associated strongly with your brand. Even the excellent Captain Marvel episode of Justice League was more about putting Superman into contrast to show how far down the slippery slope he was going.

As for why he doesn't get used now, he's a child that turns into the smartest, strongest, most noble adult imaginable and always stands for good. He doesn't fit into the nu52 grimfest and honestly, he hasn't really been fitting in for years before the reboot. I mean Kingdom Come even made him grim and that was literally supposed to be a retort to the "grim and gritty" style of comics.

Captain Marvel is one of those concepts that is inexorably tied into superheroes as all-ages entertainment and there's a strong resistance to that kind of thinking. Which is really just a sad bit of defensiveness.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby TheSander » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:06 pm

I knew a bit about the Fawcett/DC comics thing, and how DC had acquired CM, but I had no idea that Superman had been influnced by Cap.

As for the nu52 Shazam, I was so disappointed. I was actually kind of curious to see how Johns would portray him, but what we actually got was so awful.
The made Billy angsty-teenager-with-a-heart-of-gold#234, and the costume redesing is "Ugh" for me: I like the bigger cape, since more white helps balance out all the read in his uniform, but then they added a pointless hood (which made him look like a freaking thug, at least to me), even more useless armor on his wrists, and kirby dots on the lighting insignia, which are something interesting to look at, but I just find them out of place.
Story-wise, they crammed too much stuff in it, like the new Marvel Family (made of every racial stereotyper + a cripple), but nothing made me care about any of it.

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Talison » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:27 pm

I have nothing to add save that Cap has been one of my favorite characters since I discovered him in the late 90s.

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Sidious » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:57 pm

I still don't see why they dont use him more in the kiddie comics, he's a good gateway for the young reader.

They also missed a prime opportunity in using him instead of Mon El in the New Krypton arc.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby DSumner » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Sidious wrote:I still don't see why they dont use him more in the kiddie comics, he's a good gateway for the young reader.


Have you seen the Nu52 Capt. Marvel/Shazam? He's not exactly what I'd describe as a shining beacon of virtue.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:54 pm

TheSander wrote:I got myself numbers 1-27 of the old Power of Shazam series (at a real bargain)


You have no idea how much I hate you right now :lol:

Yes I'm a huge fan & I'm currently shopping around for the complete run at a reasonable price, because I want to slice & dice the spines & have the entire series restitched as a hard cover trade paperback.... I do have the original graphic novel coming my way (order it, just waiting on its arrival).... Just in case you missed that, the series came after the original graphic novel.... The original graphic novel was a prestige graphic novel in that its not based on any single issues & is slightly shorter than a full length trade paper back, but its where the Ordway run starts: so if you don't also have the prestige graphic novel you are missing out on the first part of the Jerry Ordway story.

If you have suddenly become a huge fan of Captain Marvel I'd also suggest trying to pick up a copy of "SHAZAM: The golden age of the worlds mightiest mortal." Its a illustrated guide to the publishing history of the Marvel Family... Its actually really quite interesting & is full of photos of paraphernalia & ephemera from back in the day, including toys, Mary Marvel paper dolls, fashion advice and letters from the Captain Marvel fan club.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Mr Mole » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:19 pm

My introduction to Captain Marvel was "The Shazam!/Isis Hour" back in the '70s.

It's funny how many television shows I remember watching at that age, as I hadn't even started elementary school yet. My perspective was a lot different back then, but I remember the major details frighteningly well. I fear that show and others at the time may've affected my cognitive development... Which makes me really cringe when I think about how much my nephew enjoyed watching "Barney" at a similar age... :shock:

I've been splurging on episodes of Young Justice on Netflix the last few days, and the episodes featuring Captain Marvel made me smile a little extra. The episode titled "Misplaced," where adults and kids were shunted into different worlds, did a wonderful job depicting a ten-year-old Billy Batson. Absolutely beautifully scripted and delivered line: "Captain Marvel may have the courage of Achilles, but Billy Batson... has the courage of Billy Batson!"

THAT's the Captain Marvel I loved as a kid. :mrgreen:

Bringing up the Nu52 "Shazam" just adds salt to an already painful wound, so I'm not gonna even go there...

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Ares » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:20 am

There was an IGN article that asked the very same question, one that I got heavily involved in. Rather than go on a multi-post rant on the topic, you can find a lot of my thoughts on the matter here: http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/why-i ... 452957113/

This might be my shortest post ever on a Captain Marvel related topic. :mrgreen:

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:42 am

I think we are asking the wrong question.... The question isn't "Why isn't Cpatain Marvel popular" so much as "Why does DC insist on dicking around with Captain Marvel" & the answer is "Because DC is run by morons", see also NU52, Final Crisis, Trial of Shazam, NU52, Amazons Attack, Harley Suicide contest, NU52, Rob Liefeld, Grant Morrison, Before Watchmen, NU52, etc etc.

Captain Marvel is only not popular because DC refuses to use him without dicking him around: turning him evil, turning him into a jerk, turning him into SHAZAM, turning him into a urban fantasy character, etc etc.

There was a time when his books outsold Superman, believe it or not.
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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby TheSander » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:49 am

Then why doesn't DC market him properly? Or even just give him to writer that actually likes the character and isn't forced by editorial mandate to make him "grim & gritty"?

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Re: Why isn't Captain Marvel more popular?

Postby Mr Mole » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:14 am

Ares wrote:Wow, that was a Hell of a rant. Bonus points to anyone who read all of that. ^_^

I'm here to claim my bonus points. :mrgreen:

I also read the posts that followed and (for what it's worth) I agree with every word of what you posted.

I particularly liked this snippet:

Ares wrote:It doesn’t even apply if you’re coming at it from the ‘noble nice guy’ angle either. Superman and Captain Marvel represent two very different things. Superman is suppose to represent all of the best aspects of being American. It’s why ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ is his tag line. He’s suppose to be about making the most of your talents, helping others if you can, and aspiring to be the best you can be. He’s a kind of noble authority figure you’re supposed to look up to and admire.

Captain Marvel is about hope, compassion and wonder. He’s suppose to be about finding the magical in the mundane, about having hope for humanity, about inspiring hope in others, the compassion we can show to others and about the fun of being a hero. He’s suppose to be the kind of guy you’d see telling stories to children and making their faces light up, inspiring but approachable.


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