There are been many variations of characters carrying the captain Marvel title. However, the most interesting may be Carol Danvers. It is always intriguing when a strong female character replaces a strong male character. Although there have been many variations of fictional people with these names (even with different publishing companies) this one may be worth discussing.
So how powerful is captain Marvel? Very. Carol Danvers got her powers after an explosion merged her DNA with Mar-Vell’s (a previous superhero with the same name). Her powers include damn near everything: flight, strength, psychic abilities, and of course a bangin’ body that near nothing can hurt. It would not be an exaggeration to say that she is among the most powerful superheroes of her class.
So if she was created from the previous Caprtain Marvel, Mar-Vell, wouldn’t that make things confusing to have her with the same name? Clearly, since she was made a girl, being the opposite gender. I suppose this was why she was originally renamed to Ms Marvel. She was created in 1968 in the comic Marvel Super-Heroes 13, but did not become Ms Marvel until 1977.
You may have heard of these names before, and wondered if Captain Marvel and Shazam are the same character. This is what is confusing as hell: at one point, they were. Around February of 1940, Fawcett Comics decided to make a rip-off of Superman called Captain Marvel. And by rip-off, I mean another character that would have every possible super-power that could be thought of. You know, like super hypnosis. So it was rather odd when the company now known as DC Comics sued Fawcett, saying the character was too similar. Long story short, DC won the rights to the character.
If you are not confused yet, you will be soon. Marvel Comics in 1967 decided to name one of their characters, coincidentally, Captain Marvel. This was the Mar-Vell character discussed earlier, who later passes on his abilities to Carol Danvers. In 1973, DC decides to bring the Fawcett version back from the dead, renaming him Shazam and calling him “the original Captain Marvel”. So YES. They are the same character. Or they were. But now they are not. Huh? Exactly.
So why did they decide to make the character a girl? That is a question to ask Roy Thomas, the writer at the time. In the first issue of the character’s very own series (1977) he stated that “you might see a parallel between her quest for identity, and the modern woman’s quest for raised consciousness, for self-liberation, for identity”. You can interpret this as meaning the character was made a woman to exploit the women’s liberation movement.
Do you have all your questions answered now? Leave a comment with your thoughts.