Same Name, Different Company: Captain Marvel

Same Name, Different Company: Captain Marvel

Since World War II, two major superheroes have used the name "Captain Marvel" - but they aren't the same hero or publisher.

If you've been online or are aware of upcoming movies, you've probably heard about Captain Marvel and Shazam, two superhero movies due for release in 2019. Both films have been in development for a few years now, though as with most major superhero movies, the characters have been around for a lot longer. Marvel and DC Comics have both been publishing stories involving a “Captain Marvel” since the 1960s (the DC incarnation being around for even longer before being revived), yet the two companies follow different characters with little similarities beyond the name. Over time, both companies have made their versions well-known, whether in modern day or years ago, the name “Captain Marvel” has been such a big part of culture that the Beatles even mentioned him in one song. So with that in mind, how have the two biggest rivals in the industry been able to keep releasing comics with the same name?

The original Captain Marvel was originally published by Fawcett Comics during World War II. At the time, the comic industry involved several companies, all making their titles and doing everything in their power to outsell the others, no matter what it takes or who gets the worst deal (Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, etc.). Fawcett's character was essentially a rip-off of Superman – bright costume, had most of the same powers, fought evil scientists and Nazis, nothing unlike a war-era Action Comics issue. Captain Marvel was the superhero name for the transformed Billy Batson, a kid who upon saying “Shazam!” would turn into an adult with the powers of Greek gods. He was the first superhero to be adapted to film – a popular movie serial that predated the infamous Batman serial, and if considering sales alone, Captain Marvel was more popular than Superman at the time. As the character became more and more popular, Detective Comics (later National, later DC), noted the character's similarities to Superman, and brought Fawcett to court on copyright infringement. It should be noted that when testing names for the flagship Captain Marvel title, Flash Comics was suggested but unable to be sold due to National publishing their own Flash Comics series (Fawcett went with Whiz Comics). The lawsuit was stuck in litigation for years until finally being brought before a judge in 1948. By 1951, it was ruled in favor of Fawcett, as DC had accidentally let Superman newspaper strips go into public domain, thus making the powerset public. This didn't exactly work out well for the company though, and due to the costs of the case and a changing readership, Fawcett went under in the 1953 before Silver Age. Another hearing was held, and while the new judge ruled that the concept was not infringement, certain individual stories were – and the company settled, and sold off the rights. DC bought the rights to several characters, including the Captain Marvel family of heroes.

For Marvel, the 1960s was their most creative and popular era. Within the decade, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Avengers, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther had all quickly risen to the top of culture – hippies even used the Doctor Strange image in artwork. As their name was also an adjective, it was only a matter of time before they named a character after the company. December 1967 introduced us to another Captain Marvel – this time, an alien general named Mar-Vell (it's comics, just roll with it). His stories were more space-faring, involving the Kree and Skrull empires, as well as bringing him to Earth to fight alongside the Avengers. Of course, one may ask how Marvel was able to publish a title that their competitor owned – but the copyright for the title Captain Marvel had expired, which gave Marvel the legal means to give Mar-Vell a solo series. DC was not publishing any of their Marvel Family titles at the time, so if it went to court once again, it would be likely that DC would loose the fight. Rather, DC ended up letting Marvel continue to publish their self-titled series, and during the 1970s when they finally revived the original Captain Marvel, the comics were released under the name “Shazam” - as was all related media, including the 70s live action televisions series. At first, the comic was subtitled “The Original Captain Marvel,” but this was quickly dropped when Marvel threatened a lawsuit. Despite the relatively popular revival, the Fawcett Marvel Family was kept in a separate universe from the main DC one, as to allow more freedom and prevent the need for a reboot (this changed with Crisis on Infinite Earths). Recently, the DC character was completely renamed to “Shazam,” as was the movie that is still in production.

Now, the two characters are about as far from each other as possible. Mar-Vell was killed off in the Bronze Age of Comics and several successors took the mantle. The current Marvel Captain Marvel is the former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers, and since taking the mantle in 2012, she has become one of Marvel's top selling titles. Meanwhile, Shazam and the Marvel Family are doing alright, but nowhere near the early days. Even though Carol Danvers will be getting a movie adaptation first, with the name and the impact of the first female led Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, the original DC/Fawcett Captain Marvel has the larger cultural impact. Elvis Presley was a big fan of the comics, and his hairstyle and famous white costume were inspired by Captain Marvel Jr. (essentially their take on Superboy/Robin). With both companies preparing to release major motion pictures based on their very different heroes, it will be interesting to see which Captain Marvel resonates the most with the mainstream audience. Granted, it'll probably be the Marvel one, but hey, Wonder Woman surprised us. Maybe DC will pull through, and we'll see a Shazam revival in the pop culture. Really, only time will tell. But this time, DC is not using the name, so Marvel can keep the brand recognition, and nobody will get confused between the two. Unlike the MCU timeline, but that's a different story for another time.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Ross/DC Comics

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.

College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.

There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.


College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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