Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Return of Professor Thorne

Professor Gilbert Thorne gained notoriety in The Marvel Family #50 as the man who stole speech, causing great disruption and confusion to the world!  His sinister speech stealing plot was uncovered and ended by the Marvel family.

The Marvel Family #50

Professor Thorne reappears in Shazam! #16 in the story, "The Man Who Stole Justice!"   Thorne has hatched a new evil plot, but this time he is not stealing speech, he is stealing justice!  Professor Thorne wants to get his revenge on Judge Pleasant who had sentenced him to 25 years in jail for his speech stealing crime!  Of course, he was creating and perfecting this plan while in jail.

How does Thorne steal justice?  He removes the statue of Lady Justice outside of the courthouse and replaces it with a statue of Injustice (one of the 7 Deadly Enemies of Man).  But this is no ordinary statue as it transmits vibrations to Judge Pleasant's mind making him reverse justice by releasing the guilty and penalizing the innocent.  Even Captain Marvel himself is sent to jail by Judge Pleasant!

While everything seems to go according to plan and Professor Thorne is enjoying his revenge, he forgets to factor in the fortitude of Captain Marvel!  Cap destroys the statue of Injustice and captures Professor Thorne once again. 

I enjoyed reading this story and seeing a villain brought back from Captain Marvel's golden age.  I appreciated the continuity from The Marvel Family #50 to this issue of Shazam!  Professor Thorne made a brief come-back in his life of crime only to be thwarted by the come-back of the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Otto Binder Meets Billy Batson

In Shazam! #1, a unique meeting takes place - Billy Batson meets Otto Binder!  Billy has just returned from being trapped in space for twenty years and Mr. Binder is one of the first people he meets.

Otto Binder was one of the magnificent writers for Captain Marvel during Cap's golden age with Fawcett comics.  Otto and artist C. C. Beck (who drew this meeting!) were a great golden age team!  I thought it was a great way to bring Otto back as Captain Marvel made his bronze age debut!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Did You Know...

Shazam! #25

Did you know there's a connection between The Mighty Isis, Captain Marvel and the wizard Shazam?  Isis made her appearance in Shazam! #25 (June 19, 1976) and readers were given the story of her origin.  (In short, Andrea Thomas, school teacher, discovers a secret talisman that she wears and when she says, "Mighty Isis!" she turns into Isis with magical powers!)  In this issue, Captain Marvel meets Isis for the first time when Isis saves a young lady just as Cap arrives to help.  As Captain Marvel flies away he says to Isis, "I have a feeling we'll meet again!"

The Mighty Isis #1
After Shazam! #25, Isis got her own comic, The Mighty Isis.  Issue #1 was published by DC on July 15, 1976.  In the back of the comic there is an article titled, "The Legend of Isis."  The article gives some insight into Egyptian mythology, but it is the last three paragraphs that capture the Isis/Captain Marvel/Shazam connection.

Here's what the last three paragraphs say.  "Yet there is one part of the legend we have not covered.  Who was the wizard who prepared the magic talisman which gave...Andrea Thomas - the powers of Isis?  Could he have been a centuries-old sorcerer...Did he travel to Greece to meet the heroes of that land and the gods of Olympus?  Did he dwell for a while in Palestine as a friend of King Solomon?  Did the man who gave...Andrea Thomas - the powers of Isis also give to Billy Batson the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury?  Was his name Shazam?"

Well, I think they answered their own question!  So according to the bronze age mythology of Captain Marvel, the wizard Shazam gave us another champion in the battle against evil - The Mighty Isis! 

Did you know there was a connection between The Mighty Isis, Captain Marvel and the wizard Shazam?  Now you do!

An Interview With Jackson Bostwick - TVs Captain Marvel

Jackson Bostwick was TVs Captain Marvel as he starred in Shazam! which premiered on September 7, 1973.  On my other blog, I've posted an interview with Mr. Bostwick.  If you'd like to read it, please click here.

Captain Marvel's Bronze Age Adventures Begin

Captain Marvel exited comics with the last issue of Whiz Comics #155 (printed March 6, 1953) and Captain Marvel Adventures #150 (printed August 10, 1953).  For twenty years we didn't hear a peep from Billy Batson or the World's Mightiest Mortal.  Where did Captain Marvel go?  Why did he leave Fawcett City without notice!  That silence was broken on December 14, 1972 when DC published Shazam! #1!

In the pages of Shazam! #1 we discover what happened during those silent years.  Captain Marvel wasn't on vacation - he had been placed in suspended animation by none other than the world's wickedest scientist, Dr. Sivana!

You see, Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family (Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr.) were being honored by the Mayor of Fawcett City one day in 1953.  Many of the Marvel's close friends as well as most of the city were in attendance.  Suddenly, a strange ray captures the mighty Marvels along with some of their friends and draws them into deep space, taken captive by Dr. Sivana and his odious offspring, Georgia and Sivana, Jr.  

Dr. Sivana places the Marvels and friends into a globe of Suspendium, a compound crafted by Sivana that will keep the captives in suspended animation forever!  However, thanks to a mishap caused by his son, Sivana and family become trapped in Suspendium along with the Marvels.  (NOTE: If you've read Thunderworld then you've seen Suspendium in action!)

For twenty years they remain in deep space orbiting the sun while captive in Suspendium.  As they moved closer to the sun, the Suspendium began to melt away!  Captain Marvel is the first to awaken from suspended animation and immediately takes action to rescue everyone while the scheming Sivanas escape.

The Marvels get their friends safely back to Fawcett City, but after their time in suspended animation they are dazed and unaware that twenty years had passed while they were in deep space.  The friends the Marvels rescued were Uncle Dudley, Joan Jameson (Billy and Captain Marvel's secretary), Sterling Morris (WHIZ station owner), Cissie Sommerly (Billy's girl friend), Ma and Pa Potter (Billy rents an apartment from them), Professor Edgewise (lives in the same boardinghouse as Freddie Freeman), Beautia Sivana, and Tawky Tawny.  We will see more of these friends throughout the Bronze Age Captain Marvel comic series!

Shazam! #1 also retells the origin of Captain Marvel, staying true to the original story as told in the pages of Whiz Comics #2.  And who could tell it better than C. C. Beck himself??!!??

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this comic.  These were the Captain Marvel comics I grew up with and collected (and lost)! DC brought Captain Marvel back into print in a way that explained his twenty years of silence.  Captain Marvel would go on to have some great new adventures in the Bronze Age of comics!