This is the twelfth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous eleven.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel HAS to publish a Captain Marvel comic book.
STATUS: For all intents and purposes, True
In the mean time, at one point in the 60s, Marvel decided that they should trademark well, anything with Marvel in the title.
This include launching their own Captain Marvel character in 1968, who they quickly then trademarked.
This is why, when DC got around to publishing Fawcett’s Captain Marvel characters in the 1970s, they had to call the book “Shazam!,” as the name Captain Marvel was a trademark owned by Marvel (note the difference between trademark and copyright. Fawcett still owned the copyright on Captain Marvel, so when they licensed the character to DC, DC was able to use the name Captain Marvel IN the comic book, just not when promoting or advertising the comic book. That is where trademarks come into play).
Well, as you can imagine, if Marvel ever LOST the trademark on Captain Marvel, DC would be quick to swoop in and grab it, so Marvel knew very well that it could not let the trademark lapse.
To do so, there is no hard and fast rule, but a safe bet would say they had to come out with a Captain Marvel publication at least every year or so.
So, what did Marvel do?
They published the adventures of the Kree warrior, Captain Marvel, from 1968 until 1979 (the last few years as a bi-monthly).
Then the Death of Captain Marvel in 1982.
Then the mini-series the LIFE of Captain Marvel (reprinting his most significant achievements) in 1985.
In 1982, Marvel introduced a new Captain Marvel (as mentioned last week), and in 1989, when no Captain Marvel book had been released for awhile, suddenly, she had a one-shot!
In 1994, once again, she had a one-shot!
In 1995, the first Captain Marvel’s son had an ongoing series for less than a year.
In 1997, Marvel published an Untold Tale of Captain Marvel.
In 2000, Peter David gave Marvel’s son another boost, with a series that lasted until 2004.
So while no, Marvel does not HAVE to publish a Captain Marvel comic book, if they want to keep their trademark, they will.
And, well, they want to keep their trademark…so they WILL keep on finding ways to publish a Captain Marvel comic book.
When Nicolas Cage sold off his vast comic book collection awhile back, soon before his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, it sparked off rampant speculation that Presley was the reason behind the sale.
However, John Petty, who was heavily involved in the sale, has this to say about the situation…
When Nic auctioned his comic collection through Heritage in October, 2002, there were a lot of stories going around as to why he was doing so. I was in the thick of this whole thing, as I was the Director of Heritage Comics at the time, and I also was liaison with the media for this event.
The official story that we got from Nic’s people (we never did talk to Nic himself, just his business manager and his publicist) was that Nic was simply “moving into other areas of interest.” There were lots of other stories floating around at the time (including that Lisa Marie “made” him sell his collection), but those are all apocryphal at best. To the best of my knowledge, Lisa Marie had nothing to do with Nic’s decision to sell.
Aquaman has had a long career playing second fiddle to other superheroes.
His first appearance was in the pages of More Fun Comics #73, in 1941. Which would be a big deal, except, in the SAME issue, Green Arrow ALSO made his first appearance!!! How’s THAT for coincidence?!
Of course, back then, comics were much different, in that each comic came with a whole pile of stories. That particular issue had EIGHT stories in it, including the cover feature of Garnder Fox and Howard Sherman’s Doctor Fate.
Aquaman continued on in More Fun, but Green Arrow soon became quite popular, and the cover was Green Arrow’s for the rest of their time together in More Fun.
Aquaman even continued on to Adventure Comics (where most of the features moved a couple of years later).
However, this move also coincided with a popular NEW character debuting, by the name of Superboy.
Well, as you can imagine, the next 14 years, Aquaman kept swimming along, but the covers of the book kept going to Superboy (Can you blame them? Just look at him stop this train!)!
Therefore, that is how Aquaman made his FIRST cover appearance in the year 1960, when he and four other costumed fellows appeared together fighting, of all things, a giant starfish in Brave and the Bold #28.
Well, that’s it for me this week!
Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!