Thank Superman if Captain Marvel Saves the World on 26th April!

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Captain Marvel or Shazam?

Are you wondering how the mightiest hero of DC Comics is related to Marvel’s savior of mankind? We really have no idea if Thanos turned Superman into dust. We can’t tell if Superman would lend a helping hand to the Avengers next week. However, we do know it for a fact that had it not been for the mighty red-caped crusader, Captain Marvel would have never been born! Captain Marvel? Yes. But there is a minute addition to the confusion. You see, there was a time when a young orphan would shout ‘Shazam!’ and instantly change into Captain Marvel. Nowadays, he simply transform into the muscular Shazam. How did that happen?

In the Courtroom

Let’s get our facts in line. Superman and Shazam belong to DC Comics whereas Marvel Comics is the home of Captain Marvel. This was not always the case. What if I told you that Shazam and Captain Marvel would have been one person?

Superman’s first appearance in 1938 took the comic-reading world by storm. The character became an instant hit with feats of strength and charisma that were unforeseen in the superhero world. Needless to mention, there were many who felt like they could benefit from the same concept. As a result, characters like Wonderman and Master Man were created by other houses to achieve what DC had done.

DC Comics were quick to retaliate with the threat of lawsuits which was instrumental in putting many of these ‘heroes’ out of action! But Captain Marvel was a different story. Fawcett Publications, Inc. created the character in 1939. From its very inception, the appearance and traits of Captain Marvel were enough to raise eyebrows. Not only was he able to pick up cars full of miscreants at ease but he also sported capes and boots which were similar to Superman!

The result was the famous case of National Comics Publications, Inc. vs. Fawcett Publications, Inc. DC sought to sue Fawcett Publications for making a rip-off of their superhero.

‘Shazam’ Cried the Judge!

It was clear that Fawcett had infringed on the intellectual rights of DC Comics. But a new twist surfaced when it was discovered that DC had failed to properly secure the Superman stories published under license by the McClure newspaper syndicate. This was surely a setback, but it didn’t stop them from making another appeal.

Learned Hand, the judge, concluded that inability to properly secure copyright for every comic strip does not change the fact that Captain Marvel was actually an unabashed duplicate of Superman (1951).

It marked the end of the journey for Captain Marvel. Well, not really!

The sale of comics was decreasing by the day. Fawcett sold the rights of its superheroes to DC Comics and that was how Captain Marvel changed his camp. But wait. What about Shazam who looks just like him? And how can Marvel claim Captain Marvel to be its own? They had even released a film on the character on March 8, 2019! Also, Captain Marvel seems to be a woman instead of another caped and bulky keeper of justice. How can you explain that?


Shazam and Captain Marvel

So, DC had acquired the rights of Captain Marvel. Soon they discovered that they couldn’t publish it. They were simply unlucky as Marvel Comics had already started publishing comics on a character who went by the same name! They had no other option other than giving up the name for good.

DC Comics began publishing and circulating comics of the character by changing his name to Shazam! White cape, red dress, golden boots, and unmatched might. That’s how we met him on the silver screen earlier this month.

That’s not all. The movie release of Captain Marvel last month whetted the appetites of superhero lovers. It prepared the ground for the character’s entry in Avengers: Endgame where she is supposed to battle it out with Thanos!

It’s all good. But it may make one wonder about what would’ve happened if Superman had not been there to show them how the world should be saved.

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Image courtesy of Aritra | Publish India™


A literary enthusiast and bibliophile by nature, he is an ardent lover of themes related to politics, modernism and postmodernism. He has a penchant for associating himself with issues that concern the society at large. He nurses dreams of being a flaneur one day and walk in the shoes of Shakti Chattopadhyay, Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire!