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Captain Marvel Jr. Broke Through the Fourth Wall In His Debut!

This is "A Wall Between Us," where I spotlight notable examples of comic books breaking the fourth wall. What I'm looking at here is mostly examples from characters other than She-Hulk, Deadpool, Ambush Bug, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that is a bit more of a surprise to the reader. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

While it is pretty clear that Fawcett Comics did, in fact, base their Captain Marvel character on Superman, the titles quickly went in very different directions. One of the area where Fawcett was ahead of the game as compared to Superman is that they beat the Man of Steel to spin-off characters by many years. Superman's adventures as a boy, Superboy, did not debut until 1944, by that time, Captain Marvel literally had a Marvel FAMILY of spin-off characters.

The first one, Captain Marvel Jr., debuted in Whiz Comics #25. However, how he came to be is an interesting subject in and of itself.

You see, the first superhero title that Fawcett Comics tried was Master Comics, which starred their FIRST Superman knockoff character, Master Man...

National Comics (or Detective Comics or whatever the technical name of the specific National Comics comic book company that made Superman at the time before they all just merged into National Comics ahead of re-naming the company DC Comics) quickly sent them a cease and desist letter and they did, indeed, cease and desist using Master Man in the comics. However, they kept Master Comics going with a few different heroes. When World War II began, the patriotic hero, Minuteman, appeared on a lot of covers...

but the book was split between three main features...

and Bulletman was pretty much the MAIN star of the book (along with his partner in crimegfighting, Bulletgirl)...

They proved popular enough that they got their own comic book series...

Anyhow, Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures were still the two most popular comic book series put out by Fawcett, so they decided to do a crossover between Whiz Comics and Master Comics, with Captain Marvel and Bulletman teaming up to take on a new villain called Captain Nazi...

Facwett editor, France Edward Herron also decided to use this crossover to introduce a new character, a teen spin-off character from Captain Marvel.

So, in Whiz Comics #25 (by France Herron and Mac Raboy), a tragedy occurred during a fight between Captain Marvel and the aforementioned new villain, Captain Nazi. The bad guys landed in the water, where a young boy and his grandfather tried to save him. It did not go well for them...

Billy was so disturbed by the injustice of it all that he took the young boy to the wizard, Shazam, and had him give him some of Captain Marvel's powers and so now Freddy Freeman's magic word, instead of "Shazam" was "Captain Marvel"...

Herron actually intentionally chose that magic word specifically because he thought it would help with the branding of Captain Marvel. Pretty funny, considering that they no longer HAVE that branding anymore!

However, check out what happens right after Captain Marvel Jr. gets his new powers...

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