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Monday, June 8, 2015

Shazam Key Comic Books Part 2


Part 2 of this Shazam key comic books. I should really say Captain Marvel, but not to confuse things with DC's current title for the character, I'll just stick with what they're calling him now.

So really, this is a Captain Marvel key issues list at least concerning the Golden Age of comics. Much like in Part 1, these early Captain Marvel issues won't exactly be easy finds. I'm sure some lower grades will be around, but the selection will be pretty limited.

Back in this era, Captain Marvel was extremely popular even more so than Superman. Captain Marvel Adventures sold fourteen million copies in 1944, and it's no wonder why DC Comics would continually sue Fawcett for copyright infringement. Best to eliminate the competition than compete, right? We'll get to that later in this series.

So here's more of the Big Red Cheese, and if you missed Part 1, you know the drill. That link will bring ya back.




Whiz Comics #15 comic coverWHIZ COMICS #15
Origin of Doctor Sivana
Beautia revealed as Doctor Sivana's daughter
1st appearance of Magnificus Sivana

The story in this issue is promptly titled, The Origin of Doctor Sivana, and this issue does tell the origin of the evil and supposedly genius scientist. Even though, it's pretty obvious from the last name, this issue also reveals that Beautia is the daughter of Doctor Sivana, and she also has a brother named Magnificus.

The character would be revived when DC licensed the Marvel characters from Fawcett during the 70s. He is not the only sibling of Beautia however, and others would be introduced later. He is an important supporting character that's known as part of the Sivana family.

Doctor Sivana had the best intentions when he started out and was one of Europe's leading scientists. However, his progressive ideas that would and could revolutionize the industry was shunned and rejected by everyone.

Laughed out of the profession, Sivana invented a rocket ship and fled to Venus with his family. There he turned bitter and swore revenge on the world who belittled him. 

March, 1941 is the publishing date for Whiz Comics #15.





Captain Marvel Adventures #1 imageCAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #1
1st issue to 1st self-titled series

Due to the success of Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics and various one-shots, it didn't take long for Fawcett to finally launch the character's self-titled on-going series. This series would be crucial in building and introducing other villains and supporting characters for Captain Marvel.

You'll soon see as we progress further into this Shazam key comic books series. No one of significance is really introduced in this first issue here, but it is a valuable one to have. Jack Kirby does the pencils for this issue and Joe Simon is the writer.

This issue also has a low CGC Census with only 41 total submissions. Highest grade so far is a 9.6 NM+ but it is a restored copy. Second highest is are two 8.5 VF+s, and both are restored copies as well.

Actually, all the copies so far from 9.6 to 5.5 are restored copies. There are only 20 Universal copies and all are in the lower grades of 5.0 and down.

Possibility of being pretty rare? There's a good chance concerning this issue. March, 1941 was when Captain Marvel Adventures #1 was published.





Whiz Comics #16 cover pic
WHIZ COMICS #16
Captain Marvel battles Spy Smasher

In the Golden Age Fawcett comics, perhaps the most famous superhero battle within the company's roster of superheroes occurred between Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher. This battle or story ran for 5 issues and both characters crossed over into their featured stories. 

The actual beginning of this story started in issue #15 in the Spy Smasher feature titled, The Corruption of Spy Smasher. In that story, the hero is brainwashed by his nemesis the Mask.

This issue sees the two go at it when Spy Smasher becomes evil and starts helping prisoners escape at a penitentiary. Definitely worth a mention here since Spy Smasher and Captain Marvel were two of Fawcett's most popular superheroes during the Golden Age.

This is also an early crossover story within the same title for the comic publisher, and it might actually be the first for the publisher considering their superhero comics. It is the first time two superheroes under this publisher duke it out though, and it is an important comic in terms of comic book history when publishers were establishing a shared universe for their comic characters.

April, 1941 was when this golden goodie was published.





Captain Marvel Adventures #2 cover imageCAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #2
2nd issue to self-titled series
1st appearance of Arson Fiend

Okay, Arson Fiend doesn't really become a major villain of Captain Marvel during the Golden Age. The character, however, was carried over when DC licensed the character or obtained the rights to Fawcett's library of characters during the 90s.

Still, he is barely used even in the Modern Age. So, not really a spectacular first appearance key issue, but this is the 2nd issue to Captain Marvel Adventures.

Only 34 total copies submitted to CGC to date. Highest is a restored 8.5 VF+ and is the only copy so far for that grade. Highest Universal is an 8.0 VF.

The 2nd issue to Captain Marvel Adventures was published June, 1941.





Whiz Comics #21 image picWHIZ COMICS #21
1st appearance & origin Lieutenant Marvels

Adding more supporting characters, this was Fawcett's first attempt to give Captain Marvel sidekicks or to create spin-off characters. All of the Lieutenant Marvels were also named Billy Batson.

However, one hailed from Brooklyn, New York, another hailed from the Western United States, and the third hailed from the South. To avoid confusion, the Western Billy is called Tall Billy, the Southern Billy is nicknamed Hill Billy, and the Brooklyn Billy is called Fat Billy.

The real Billy Batson, whatever that means...I'll just say the Captain Marvel Billy Batson gives them the power to become Captain Marvels when they shout out the word, Shazam! So they turn into Hill Marvel, Tall Marvel and Fat Marvel.

I'm not joking, despite how funny or ridiculous it sounds. However, these group would appear frequently during the Golden Age and even crossed over into DC Comics in more recent comics, though used very rarely. September, 1941 is the publishing date for this comic.





America's Greatest Comics #1 cover image
AMERICA'S GREATEST COMICS #1
1st issue to titled series

Although I'm not going to note every single title that Captain Marvel had a feature in, this issue does deserve a mention. This is the first on-going anthology series in which Fawcett decided to house all their popular hero's stories under one title.

Fans could enjoy the adventures of Captain Marvel, Bulletman, Minute Man and Spy Smasher in one glorious comic mag. This comic, like many super early Captain Marvel appearances, has a low CGC Census. Highest is a 9.4 NM, and it is a Universal copy.

Only one so far, and I'm sure it won't be an easy find online or offline. September, 1941 is the publishing date for America's Greatest Comics #1.





Master Comics #21 image
MASTER COMICS #21
1st appearance of Captain Nazi
Origin of Captain Nazi
1st Captain Marvel classic crossover?

Created by William Woolfolk and Mac Raboy, Captain Nazi would be another notorious rival for Captain Marvel. Even more important, this character became the most famous nemesis for Captain Marvel Jr.

With a scientist father that had mad intelligence, Captain Nazi was genetically altered to the perfect fighting specimen for none other than Adolf Hitler. This procedure gave him superhuman strength and stamina. Sound like a certain Golden Age Timely comic hero?

Well, with the exception that Captain Nazi had a special gas that allowed him to fly. I know, sounds funny. His first appearance in this issue is against Bulletman and Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel crosses over into this issue to team up with Bulletman in order to fight this new nuisance. I am not sure if this is Captain Marvel's first classic crossover into another title and superhero's story, but there is a good chance it may be.

This issue marks the 3 part trilogy in the origin and creation of Captain Marvel Jr. Master Comics #21 and the first appearance of Captain Nazi was published December, 1941.





Whiz Comics #25 comic cover
WHIZ COMICS #25
1st appearance of Captain Marvel Jr.
Origin of Captain Marvel Jr.

Elvis Presley was a huge fan of Captain Marvel Jr. Some even say that his later Vegas get ups or costumes were inspired by this comic character.

So Freddy Freeman is a newsboy who was saved by Captain Marvel from Captain Nazi. In their fight Captain Marvel punches Captain Nazi and sends him flying into a nearby lake.

Close by are an old man and a young boy fishing, and without knowing who the stranger is, the two save Captain Nazi and drag him into their boat. After Captain Nazi awakens, he tosses the old man into the lake and knocks out the boy with an oar.

Somehow, the old man is immediately dead and Freddy Freeman is critically injured. Captain Marvel takes the boy to the hospital and learns later that the boy won't last the night.

Billy Batson takes Freddy Freeman to the tunnels where Shazam's lair is and asks him to save the boy. Shazam tells him that it isn't possible, but Billy can transfer some of his powers to Freddy in order to save his life.

Billy does so, and the rest is comic history. Captain Marvel Jr. was created by Ed Herron and Mac Raboy. Mac Raboy designed the character's costume.

Unlike Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. keeps his teenage appearance even when turning into his superhero identity. He also says, "Captain Marvel" in order to transform.

This was a good tactic to remind readers to buy the Captain Marvel comics also. Also to distinguish the character further, Captain Marvel Jr. derives his powers from Captain Marvel while Captain Marvel derives his powers from Shazam.

Pretty big key issue related to Captain Marvel, and it was published December, 1941. 




Looks like I was able to locate more copies than I thought, but the pickings are still pretty slim. Some pretty interesting tid-bits about Captain Marvel and his Golden Age adventures in Part 2, and there will be more in Part 3 for sure.

Once again, many of these have pretty low CGC Census totals and while I don't doubt there are quite a few copies that aren't being submitted and kept raw out there, it would be interesting to really see how rare these are in the future.

Anywho, if you missed Part 1, the PREVIOUS link should bring ya back. Click the PART 3 link below to continue with this Shazam key comics list. 


2 comments:

  1. Hey its EC hit a convention over the weekend and picked up some books ASM 50 2.5 Warlock 10 9.0 Ms Marvel 2 7.5 Marvel Premiere 16 6.5 Avengers 144 6.0 needs a press Secret wars 8 I'm guessing 9.6 what do you think?

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    1. Heya EC, two thumbs up! Congrats on the snags.

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