Before Superman Could Fight Captain Marvel, He Had To Face This Guy

Elliot S! Maggin explained in the Krypton Chronicles what his thinking was regarding the story that we're about to see. He explained, "We were trying to do the traditional Fawcet-style Captain Marvel in the Shazam! book in those days. The style of artwork was different from Superman’s. The degree of suspension of disbelief in the two story threads-Shazam! as opposed to Superman-were different. I never really believed that Superman and Captain Marvel belonged in the same story and neither did Julie. The Captain Thunder story was a piece of speculation as to what Captain Marvel might be like if he lived in the “real world.” I think Metropolis in the ’70s was what we thought of as the real world at the time."

The 1974 comic, Superman #276, had a great Nick Cardy cover showing Superman and "Captain Thunder" (which was an early alternate name for Captain Marvel, by the way) facing off...

In the comic (written by Maggin and drawn by Curt Swan and Bob Oksner), Willie Fawcett (Billy Batson) shows up on Earth-1 and explains how he got there. First, he explains his origin....

He was fighting the Monster League of Evil (a reference to the Captain Marvel foes, the Monster Society of Evil) in 1953 dimensions (1953 is when Captain Marvel was canceled) when he was sent to this dimension only now Captain Thunder is evil!

The two heroes battle it out, but Superman figures out a way to force Captain Thunder to say the magic word...

He then holds him tight and breaks the brainwashing through repeatedly making him say the magic word and transform again and again until he breaks free of their conditioning.

It was a very cool story and likely whet the appetite of the whole DC Comics fanbase, leading to the 1976 REAL meeting of Superman and Captain Thun...I mean, Captain MARVEL!

Thanks to my buddy, Sam, for this suggestion! If anyone ELSE has a suggestion for this column, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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