Captain Marvel is a comic book superhero originally created by C. C. Beck and Bill Parker for Fawcett Publications, currently owned by DC Comics. Whenever young boy Billy Batson utters the word "Shazam!" he turns into the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel. He debuted in 1940 and soon sold more comics than Superman.
A lawsuit from National Comics (not yet DC in name) which began in 1941, alleging that Captain Marvel infringed on the Superman copyright as a mere facsimile, lasted for years. In 1952, the court found in favor of National, Fawcett settled, and Captain Marvel was retired in 1953. In 1972, DC bought all of Fawcett's characters, including the Captain, but in the intervening years, Marvel Comics had copyrighted the name "Captain Marvel" for their own purposes. Thus DC typically used Shazam! (the name of the word of power, and of the ancient wizard who bestowed it on Billy) as the title for the comics, and in media adaptations (including a 1974-1976 live-action series) before ultimately renaming the character "Shazam" in 2011.
In 1985, Jim Henson cited Captain Marvel as one of his favorite comic book characters: "I've always been interested in comic books as an art form, and when I was younger I was addicted to them. I read Superman and Superboy, but Captain Marvel was probably my favorite of the super-heroes.
- On Sesame Street, in a cast insert, Luis plays Captain Cooperation, with a booming voice and an ornate costume modeled after that of Captain Marvel (particularly as seen in Filmation's 1974 live-action series Shazam!) He stands heroically, speaks with an enhanced booming voiced (echoing the way the series enhanced the utterance of "Shazam"), and teaches Bob and Maria about the power of cooperation. (First: Episode 1457)
- While studying "How to Be a Superhero" in The Muppet Show episode 419, Gonzo practices Captain Marvel's word of power while dressed as a superhero himself: "Shazam!"
- In the Farscape episode "Home on the Remains," John Crichton utters the word "Shazam!" However, whether he's quoting Billy Batson or Gomer Pyle is uncertain.
- Ruth Buzzi played Aunt Minerva in the "roast" half of the TV special Legends of the Superheroes (1979)
- Howard Morris played Dr. Sivana in the TV special Legends of the Superheroes (1979)
- Jerry O'Connell voiced Captain Marvel in the Justice League episode "Clash" (2005) and the home video release Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (2010)
- Kevin Michael Richardson voiced Mister Tawky Tawny in ''Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (2010)
- ↑ Fifty Who Made DC Great, 1985