The comic history of Captain Marvel is more interesting and a lot darker than you might think.
Marvel’s Captain Marvel (which is a stupid phrase that no article should begin with) was originally created either as a response to Wonder Woman or to feminism, depending on who you speak to.
Given that Wonder Woman was herself a response to World War II era feminism, it’s clearly a null point – both characters are a response to feminism.
This is something that modern comic readers should keep in mind. Social Justice Warriors are ruining comics?
Buddy, they invented comics.
Would Spiderman have been as successful as a character if he were a rich man instead of a good-natured pauper? Would Superman have worked as well as a character if Clark Kent had been a bodybuilder instead of a nerd? What is Batman, if not a superhero for orphans – considering not only is he one himself, he also keeps adopting them?
You might be surprised to find out that Captain Marvel was Marvel’s Wonder Woman because Marvel have never used her like that.
From what I (as a veteran comic reader) have seen, she’s been more like ‘the female Nick Fury’ for most of her career.
Here are some more Captain Marvel facts about which we can all be shocked about together.
That ‘Captain Marvel or Shazam’ thing.
Along with heroes like Batman and The Phantom, there’s been more than one person to be Captain Marvel – and not just at Marvel, mind you. DC also had a Captain Marvel, who some of you may know as Shazam.
DC had to stop using the name ‘Captain Marvel’ (for reasons which I’ll assume are obvious) and DC went with Shazam because it’s an ancient word meaning ‘Mandela Effect Genie Movie’.
No, wait, I mean Shazam is an initialisation for ‘Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury’, the ‘Immortal Elders’ who are the source of Shazam’s power.
Sorry, I always get those two things confused for some reason.
Anyway, enough about Shazam and how I should have pointed out that he was named Captain Marvel before Marvel Comics even existed – this was just a fun warmup entry for us.
The point is, the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel character had legal problems from the moment she was created. She was born into trouble. And it never really left her.
The current Captain Marvel debuted as Ms. Marvel, a feminist icon.
Before she was Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers appeared in comics as an ordinary non-powered human side-character for nearly 10 years.
Remember how we said that the character Ms. Marvel was created in response to feminism? That’s why her name was Ms. Marvel back then.
See, the term Ms. is a blanket honorific for females, meaning it can be properly used to address any female whether they’re married, divorced, or single. For this reason, it was often used by first-wave feminists, so it made sense for Marvel’s feminist comic to be called Ms. Marvel – because she was a strong modern woman who didn’t need no man to tell her what to be called.
For the record, it’s pronounced Miz Marvel. I only mention that because I once lost 10 bucks on a bet about it, and I want to make sure that you can avoid that because I love you dear reader (in a wholesome and platonic way because I don’t objectify you).
Oh, and Ms. Marvel got her superpowers when some aliens called The Kree genetically manipulated her DNA to be the half-Human/Half-Kree, because comics are weird.
Speaking of ‘getting powers’…
Rogue (From the X-Men) got her powers from Captain Marvel.
Rogue, as you either already know or will know at the end of this sentence if I ever finish it, has the innate ability (she can’t control it) to copy the superpowers of anyone she comes into contact with.
She tried to copy Ms. Marvel’s superpowers, but Ms. Marvel fought against her for so long that Rogue drained Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers went back to being a normal human and Rogue permanently gained the power of flight and also probably some other less cool powers that nobody really cares about.
Side note: Rogue can control her powers now because modern comics are just (goes off into rant about getting off his damn lawn or whatever).
Carol Danvers was once the focus of a major comics controversy.
Okay – this is going to be awkward for all of us.
So, Ms. Marvel is just hanging out with The Avengers when this space jerk just strolls on up and casually kidnaps her and basically uses her to create a 1-woman love cult which is unfortunately exactly what it sounds like.
She becomes pregnant to the space jerk who is born again as his own son because that was his plan all along and he didn’t even love her because comics aren’t just weird they’re also kind of screwed-up.
This is all bad enough, of course, but he’d also cast some space spell on her or some crap like that. So, The Avengers didn’t realise it was happening against her will so they didn’t think to try and rescue her.
Can you imagine how problematic that storyline would be today?
Well, it was just as controversial back then.
They eventually addressed this in Avengers Annual #10 which, in a bizarre coincidence, is also the first appearance of Rogue. Carol serves the Avengers a verbal lashing the likes of which has rarely been witnessed in comics since.
She calls them all out for being vainglorious muppets (although she sadly doesn’t use that particular phrase) and at the end, she makes it very clear to them that she’s not even angry, just reeeeeally disappointed in them and also how can she ever trust them again?
And then, on the next page, there’s an ad for Sea Monkeys or whatever, because this is all happening in a comic that was literally marketed towards children.
In the same comic, Rogue drains Ms. Marvel of her powers and also her personality which causes Rogue to manifest multiple personality disorder because kids don’t want to see heroes fighting villains what they really want is obviously magical space incest and an in-depth discussion of the mental health problems of some random new villain.
If I’ve learnt one thing from all of this, it’s that maybe I should stop being so harsh to modern comics. Comics have always been, shall we say, interesting.