The Big Red Cheese

By | Saturday, August 08, 2009 2 comments
Quick history to make sure we're all on the same page... In answer to the success of Superman, Bill Parker and C.C. Beck created Captain Marvel in 1939 for Fawcett Publications. Captain Marvel stories were soon outselling Superman's, and in 1941 DC Comics (then National) sued Fawcett on the grounds of copyright infringement. The lawsuit took years and it was eventually settled out of court, and in 1953 Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories. In 1972, DC licensed the character from Fawcett and began publishing new Captain Marvel comics. In 1991, DC finally purchased the rights to the character entirely and now definitively owns Captain Marvel.

What all that means is that Captain Marvel has been published by DC Comics exclusively for my entire lifetime. I have exactly one Captain Marvel comic book NOT published by DC Comics, and I only obtained that in the past year. Captain Marvel has been appearing alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman for as long as I've known about the character.

So why is it that I don't think of Captain Marvel as a DC character? He was something of a Superman knock-off in the first place, and has been a part of the DC Universe for 30-some years, but I still consider him a Fawcett character, separate and distinct from DC.
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2 comments:

Pj Perez said...

I feel the same way, as though he's been sort of sandwiched in forcibly.

Wonder if we'll see the same thing happen at Marvel with Marvelman?

Sean said...

I would chalk it up to how much of a square peg/round hole the character has been post-Crisis. Pre-Crisis material with the Marvel Family was hit and miss, but since the odds of the other DC characters would show up were so slim, Cap could stand on his own. Even the Cap/Superman team-ups in DC Comics Presents treated him as an equal.

While I am aware of the publishing history, Cap seems like a DC character to me in part because of how hard DC push him in their 70s marketing. Between 1973 and 1977 was usually right in there with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Part of that may have been the TV show, but I can't help but think it was trying to get their money's worth from what they paid Fawcett.