Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s. Its most popular character was Captain Marvel, the alter ego of radio reporter Billy Batson, who transformed into the hero whenever he said the magic word "Shazam!".
Other characters published by Fawcett include Captain Video, Hopalong Cassidy, Ibis the Invincible, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Spy Smasher, Captain Midnight, Phantom Eagle, Mister Scarlet and Pinky, Minute-Man, Commando Yank and Golden Arrow.
Aside from the better known superhero books, Fawcett also published a short-lived line of horror comics during the early 1950s, a string of titles which included This Magazine Is Haunted, Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds of Fear, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unknown World. Other genres included teenage humor (Otis and Babs), funny animal (Hoppy the Marvel Bunny), romance (Sweethearts), war (Soldier Comics) and Western (Lash LaRue, Six Gun Heroes). Fawcett also produced comics based on contemporary movie stars (Tom Mix, Monte Hale) and matinee serials (Nyoka the Jungle Girl). The entire line was dropped in 1953, when Fawcett closed down their comics publishing wing (though many titles were picked up by Charlton Comics).
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Fawcett Publications began in 1919 with the magazine Captain Billy's Whiz Bang and eventually expanded into a line of periodicals with a combined circulation of ten million a month. The company joined in the explosion of comic book publications in the United States in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Its initial entry, developed by writer Bill Parker and artist C. C. Beck, was Thrill Comics #1 (January 1940), a single issue of which was published only as an ashcan copy. The content was then reworked (for example, the lead character of Captain Thunder was renamed to Captain Marvel) and published as Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940).
In addition to Beck, the line-up of artists who contributed to Fawcett Comics include Al Allard, Harry Anderson, Ken Bald, Phil Bard, Al Bare, Dan Barry, John Belfi, Dave Berg, Jack Binder, Alex Blum, Bob Boyajian, Bob Butts, Al Carreno, Joe Certa, Nat Champlin, Pete Costanza, Greg Duncan, Leonard Frank, Bob Fujitani, Till Goodson, Ray Harford, John Jordan, H. C. Kiefer, Jack Kirby, Andre Le Blanc, Charles Nicholas, Carl Pfeufer, Mac Raboy, Pete Riss, Ed Robbins, John Rosenberger, Kurt Schaffenberger, Joe Simon, Jon Small, Ed Smalle, Jack Sparling, John Spranger, Chic Stone, Charles Sultan, Marc Swayze, Ben Thompson, George Tuska, Bill Ward, Clem Weisbecker, Burt Whitman, Reuben Zubofsky and Nick Zuraw.
The whimsical adventures of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family (which included Captain Marvel, Jr., Mary Marvel, the Lieutenants Marvel, etc.) eventually outsold those of Superman. National Comics (as DC Comics was then known) sued Fawcett, claiming that the Captain infringed on the copyright of their original costumed superhero. National Comics' 1941 copyright hearing against Fawcett was dismissed on a technicality; TehMcClure Newspaper Syndicate had failed to include the proper copyright notice on many of the Superman newspaper strip. On appeal, however, Judge Learned Hand ruled that this was not an indication of intent to abandon the Superman property, and since it had been revealed that certain Captain Marvel stories were copies of certain Superman stories, National Comics would be able to seek damages for the violation of the copyrights of those specific stories.
Facing a declining comics market, in 1953 Fawcett Comics ceased publication of its superhero titles and settled the ongoing case (the non-comic book divisions of Fawcett continued to publish). Several of Fawcett's completed stories and artwork, as well as a few characters, were sold to Charlton Comics. Fawcett returned to publishing comics in the 1960s, mainly publishing Dennis the Menace and other such titles.
In 1967 Marvel Comics gained the trademark "Captain Marvel" with their first series. In 1972 DC licensed — and in 1994, purchased — Captain Marvel and his related characters. Because of Marvel's trademark, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! as the title of their Captain Marvel-related comic books and thus the name under which they market and promote the character. In 1973, Shazam and the Marvel family became an additional Earth (to the Pre-Crisis DC continuity), known for a period of time as Earth-S.
Titles published by Fawcett.
Fawcett Movie Comics.
Fawcett also published several comic book adaptations of Hollywood films under the banner Fawcett Movie Comic. The publications ranged from 1949 to 1952 and were released bi-monthly. Early issues were simply labeled with A Fawcett Publication on the covers with no numbering nor date (other than the copyright year inside). It was not until issue No. 7 (actually the eighth adaptation) that the series started numbering each comic book and using the Fawcett Movie Comic series title. Starting with issue No. 9, the series also printed the month of publication on the covers.
The majority of the comic books were adapted from westerns, with few known exceptions; Ten Tall Men was a French Foreign Legion story taking place in the African desert, The Brigand was a Napoleonic-era swashbuckler and Destination Moon and The Man from Planet X were science fiction space stories.
Notable events of 1940 in comics. See also List of years in comics.1941 in comics
Notable events of 1941 in comics. See also List of years in comics.Bulletman and Bulletgirl
Bulletman is a fictional character originally published by Fawcett Comics.Captain Marvel (DC Comics)
Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam (), is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher DC Comics. Artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker created the character in 1939. Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated Feb. 1940), published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word "SHAZAM" (acronym of six "immortal elders": Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities.
Based on book sales, the character was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, outselling even Superman. Fawcett expanded the franchise to include other "Marvels", primarily Marvel Family associates Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., who can harness Billy's powers as well. Captain Marvel was also the first comic book superhero to be adapted into film, in a 1941 Republic Pictures serial titled Adventures of Captain Marvel, with Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. as Billy Batson.
Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, partly because of a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics, alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett, and returned them to publication. By 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe and has attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success. Due to trademark conflicts over another character named "Captain Marvel" owned by Marvel Comics, DC has branded and marketed the character using the trademark Shazam! since his 1972 reintroduction. This, in turn, led many to assume that "Shazam" was the character's name. DC later officially renamed the character "Shazam" when relaunching its comic book properties in 2011, and his associates became known as the "Shazam Family" the following year. Captain Marvel/Shazam and his family battle an extensive rogues' gallery, primarily archenemies Dr. Sivana and Black Adam.
The character has been featured in two television series adaptations by Filmation: one live action 1970s series with actors Jackson Bostwick and Michael Gray portraying the character, and one animated 1980s series. An upcoming New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Shazam! feature film is scheduled for release in April 2019 as part of the DC Extended Universe, with Zachary Levi and Asher Angel portraying the title role. Captain Marvel was ranked as the 55th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Captain Marvel as the 50th greatest comic book hero of all time, stating that the character will always be an enduring reminder of a simpler time. UGO Networks ranked him as one of the top heroes of entertainment, saying, "At his best, Shazam has always been compared to Superman with a sense of crazy, goofy fun."Captain Midnight
Captain Midnight (later rebranded on television as Jet Jackson, Flying Commando) is a U.S. adventure franchise first broadcast as a radio serial from 1938 to 1949. The character's popularity throughout the 1940s and into the mid-1950s extended to serial films (1942), a television show (1954–1956), a syndicated newspaper strip (1942-late 1940s), and a comic book title (1942–1948).Captain Nazi
Captain Nazi is a Fawcett Comics and DC Comics supervillain, a rival of Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr.
Baron Krieger made his live appearance on the second season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow played by André Eriksen.Doctor Sivana
Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck, the character first appeared in late 1939, opposite superhero Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated February 1940) by Fawcett Comics. Sivana was soon established as Captain Marvel's archenemy and frequent foe, a role that he has kept through to the present, in his appearances in DC Comics, who eventually acquired the rights to those characters from Fawcett. In 2009, Doctor Sivana was ranked as IGN's 82nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.The character will make his cinematic debut in the upcoming film Shazam!, portrayed by Mark Strong.Golden Arrow (comics)
Golden Arrow is a fictional character who had his own strip in Fawcett Comics' Whiz Comics comic book series, from 1940 to 1953.Ibis the Invincible
Ibis the Invincible is a fictional character, a comic book superhero originally published by Fawcett Comics in the 1940s and then by DC Comics beginning in the 1970s. Like many magician superheroes introduced in the Golden Age of Comics, Ibis owes much to the popular comic strip character Mandrake the Magician. A second Ibis, successor of the first, was introduced in 2007.King Kull (DC Comics)
King Kull (sometimes called the Beastman or the Beast Man) is a comic book supervillain originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics and appearing as a foe of Captain Marvel.Lieutenant Marvels
The Lieutenant Marvels are fictional characters, a team of superheroes in the Fawcett Comics and DC Comics universes. They first appeared in Whiz Comics #21 in 1941. The physical appearance of the three characters was based on three real-life members of the Fawcett Comics staff: Paul Peck (Tall Billy), Ed Hamilton (Hill Billy), and Frank Taggart (Fat Billy).Mary Marvel
Mary Marvel is a fictional character superheroine originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and Marc Swayze, she first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (cover-dated Dec. 1942). The character is a member of the Marvel/Shazam Family of heroes associated with the superhero Shazam/Captain Marvel.
In the traditional Shazam! concept, Mary Marvel is the alter ego of teenager Mary Batson (adopted name Mary Bromfield), twin sister of Captain Marvel's alter-ego, Billy Batson. Like her brother, Mary has been granted the power of the wizard Shazam, and has but to speak the wizard's name to be transformed into the superpowered Mary Marvel. Mary Marvel was one of the first female spin-offs of a major male superhero, and predates the introduction of Superman's female cousin Supergirl (also created by Otto Binder) by more than a decade.
Following DC's licensing of the Marvel Family characters in 1972, Mary Marvel began appearing in DC Comics, co-starring in DC series such as Shazam! (1973-1978) and The Power of Shazam! (1995-1999). Two limited series from 2007-2009, Countdown and Final Crisis, feature an evil version of Mary Marvel having acquired powers from first Shazam Family archenemy Black Adam and further from Apokoliptian supervillain god Desaad. In current continuity following DC's 2011 New 52 reboot, Mary Bromfield appears as one of Billy Batson's foster siblings, and can share Billy's power by saying "Shazam" to become an adult superhero similar to the traditional Mary Marvel (the "Marvel" monikers having been retired with the reboot).
Mary Bromfield will make her cinematic debut in the upcoming film Shazam!, played by Grace Fulton.Master Man (Fawcett Comics)
Master Man is a fictional character created during the 1930s to 1940s period historians and fans called the Golden Age of Comic Books. A superhero, the character's exact creator is uncertain: his first story, in 'Fawcett Comics' Master Comics #1 (March 1940), was drawn by Newt Alfred, but that issue's cover was drawn by Harry Fiske. The leader character in the anthology Master Comics, he was described as
...the world's greatest hero: Master Man! Stronger than untamed horses! Swifter than raging winds! Braver than mighty lions! Wiser than wisdom, kind as Galahad is Master Man, the wonder of the world! As a boy, young Master Man was weak until a wise old doctor gave the youth a magic capsule, full of vitamins, containing every source of energy known to man! The boy becomes the strongest man on earth! Upon the highest mountain peak he built a solid castle made of solid rock! From there he sees all evil in the world and races to destroy it instantly!
Master Man could not fly but was super strong and could run at extreme speeds, faster than an automobile. The series lasted six issues, due to a lawsuit threat from National Comics (later DC Comics), the publishers of the Superman series, which had been emboldened by a recent legal victory against a similar character called Wonder Man.
Fawcett would discontinue its comic publishing in 1953. In the 1970s DC Comics licensed Fawcett's Captain Marvel character, and would eventually become the intellectual property owners of Fawcett's superhero characters.This character has no connection to the Marvel Comics villain, a Nazi called Master Man in the 1970s comic-book series The Invaders, the Master Man from Quality Comics, a Kid Eternity antagonist or the Nazi superhuman in Zenith.Minute-Man
Minute-Man (real name Jack Weston) is a fictional comic book superhero.Mr. Scarlet
Mr. Scarlet is a fictional, comic book superhero published by Fawcett Comics, and later by DC Comics. Brian Butler, the original Mister Scarlet, debuted in Wow Comics #1 (cover-dated Winter 1940-41), and was created by France Herron and Jack Kirby.National Comics Publications, Inc. v. Fawcett Publications, Inc.
National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications, 191 F.2d 594 (2d Cir. 1951). was a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a twelve-year legal battle between National Comics (also known as Detective Comics and DC Comics) and the Fawcett Comics division of Fawcett Publications, concerning Fawcett's Captain Marvel character being an infringement on the copyright of National's Superman comic book character. The litigation is notable as one of the longest-running legal battles in comic book publication history.
The suit resulted in the dissolution of Fawcett Comics and the cancellation of all of its superhero-related publications, including those featuring Captain Marvel and related characters. In the 1970s, National, rebranded as DC Comics, licensed the rights to Captain Marvel and revived the character. DC Comics then purchased the rights completely by 1991.Phantom Eagle
Phantom Eagle is the name used by two fictional aviator heroes appearing in American comic books.
The first character to use the name was teenaged Mickey Malone, a young aviator who appeared in the 1940s in Fawcett Comics publications depicting contemporaneous World War II adventures. The second and better-known character, created in the 1960s by Marvel Comics, was Karl Kaufman, the American son of German parents, who became a masked World War I ace.Pinky the Whiz Kid
Pinky the Whiz Kid is a fictional character, a comic book superhero published by Fawcett Comics, and later by DC Comics. Pinky Butler debuted in Wow Comics #4 (cover-dated Winter 1941-42), and was created by Otto Binder and Jack Binder.Whiz Comics
Whiz Comics was a monthly ongoing comic book anthology series, published by Fawcett Comics from 1940–1953, best known for introducing Captain Marvel.
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