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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The Negative Effects Of Working As A CNA

You know you are a CNA if you are undermined, understaffed, and emotionally and physically drained.

I write this not as a way to deter people from wanting to be a CNA or to demean the job, but in order to outline the negatives, since some only outline the positives. With a job comes responsibility, and it is like that in any area or field. We have the good and we also have the bad. I am in a field where not many people like their job and they don't care who knows it. Others enjoy it and make the best of it. It is like that with any career. There are always both sides.

I write this after coming home from a meeting that we have to attend every week for 13 weeks straight. These meetings are preparing us for a new unit in our building, and they offer education so that we have the knowledge to communicate and take care of our residents. I like these meetings because I enjoy learning more in my field, however, others see it as a burden and a waste of their time. There are people who will bring in workplace drama, those that will do the bare minimum, and those that just don't care and will call in when they know their shift is short.

As a Certified Nurse Assistant, you help your residents, and you try to give them the best care that you can provide. That is the number one rule. If anything, that is the golden rule in nursing. When you step in on that floor, you are expected to give your full effort in giving the residents the care they need. Meanwhile, others step in and couldn't give a damn.

What upset me the most after the meeting was that we had to talk about abuse. We had to discuss what abuse was and why we need to treat our patients with dignity, respect, and kindness. As a CNA that is my work. I was saddened that something like this occurred, and that someone would demean a resident in a way that no one should be treated.

I'm furious, upset, and confused. The people that work in this field are there because they care, and they want to help those that cannot help themselves. So, why would they do such a thing?

It made me think of all the other negatives that I encounter in my field. The lack of appreciation from other staff and the constant undermining is tough. Nurses telling you that you are not doing your job right, or management becoming picky when you cannot chart between your residents is difficult. There is always something that you are doing wrong in someone else's eyes, and there is never a thank you when you leave your shift and everyone is clean and taken care of. There is no one to pat your back other than yourself, and you have to be your own cheerleader for a place that only looks at you as the lowest of the totem pole.

There are never enough of you. I say that because there is always a demand for CNAs, and no matter how many you have in a facility, there will never be enough. You will be short one shift or another, and you will have to scramble to reach everyone to make sure they are taken care of properly.

You come home and you have to go right back to bed because you took extra shifts. You are exhausted, and yet you still come in and put all your energy into work because you think of the residents. You consider what it would be like to not have anyone to care for you. You put them before yourself.

No one tells you any negatives as you are getting trained and go through clinicals. They only tell you that you are going into a profession that will help those that cannot help themselves, and that you should be proud of your job. It is not incorrect, but it is not fully true.

You will get called names, cursed at, abused, and you will get over-worked. No one will tell you thank you, and no one will baby you through your shift. You are a CNA. You take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. You are there to help and give care. Yes, there are negatives and you will want to quit like I've wanted to do multiple times. I will admit it. You will get upset and frustrated. This is not an easy job, and it was not intended to be, but you will get through it if you keep your heart open and honest. Do your work diligently, and do what you can to make others' lives better. That is the only reward you need to overcome the negatives.

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