Comfort Food Comics: Captain Marvel (Shazam)

A compilation of my absolute favorite Captain Marvel comics!! For this one I read through every single issue of the Fawcett stuff before DC started claiming copyrights on it and taking all the stuff off the internet. This bind wouldnt have been possible without the help of the incomparable Gwandanaland Comics. Back before DC started flexing their trademark muscles I worked with the friendly people over at Gwandanaland to print me up a book of all my favorite Cap comics so I could put them in this bind. They were so great and I love their company. I also ended up pairing it with one of their books, The Complete Mr. Tawny Tales, which is every appearance of Mr. Tawny.

Another awesome custom cover from Dima Ivanov. So so pretty. Cap enjoying his comfort food, a delicious malt. I went with an old vintage cover scan for my back cover. Ok, onto the contents! These were all the stories I really ended up enjoying and getting a real kick out of. As usual its not a big book of classic best ofs, its my comfort food comics. I think its a pretty solid list to get a little bit of everything you need of Cap to get his comic’s unique charm and fun from his start through his current DC days.

Whiz Comics #2 – The origin. Nothing much to say here. Just the old time classic start.

Captain Marvel Adventures #18 – Cap. Marvel introduces Mary Marvel – The first appearance of Mary and the start of the whole Marvel family. A fun, important sweet little story.

The Mighty Marvels Join Forces from The Marvel Family #1 – All the Marvels join together and fight Black Adam in his as far as I know only Fawcett appearance. A classic great story.

“Crusher of Crime” (Whiz Comics #20) – A classic Sivana/Cap fight with monkey hijinx. One of the most entertaining silly clashes.

“The Curse of IBAC” from (Captain Marvel Adventures #8) – More of a classic, important story than a really good one. This one introduces IBAC and has some fun ideas in it.

Captain Marvel in Buffalo from Captain Marvel Adventures 31 – Billy used to visit all types of cities and tell you about them but also have an adventure quite a lot in these old ones. This one you learn about Buffalo, my hometown and still current home. It was so cool to see my city in here and some places that are still around. A really fun story for me.

Captain Marvel Judges the Ugly Beauty Contest from Whiz Comics 51 – This ones hilarious with a magic doorway that makes ugly people beautiful, Cap judging a beauty contest and a line like: The sight of so much sweetness and happiness is too much for the foul Mr. Richwitch to endure! He blows up!

Captain Marvel Falls in Love from Whiz Comics 53 – Another hilarious one. Billy starts a part time job where his boss is a lady that is super strict and angry with him all the time and he cant stand her but then Captain Marvel falls in love with her and keeps doing silly things and staying out all night tiring Billy. Its all so fun.

Sivanas Twin from Whiz Comics 59 – Whooo baby, look at that cover!! So good! A man named Reginald Q. Dishlather shows up and looks exactly like Sivana. Hijinx ensue. The funniest part is no one can say his name right so you get a lot of funny variations on it.

Captain Marvel and His Loneliest Day from Captain Marvel Adventures 49 – This is just a fun, cute little one. Cap takes over at a remote arctic listening post and gets lonely and bored. So he trains penguins, a walrus, a reindeer, a seal, and a polar bear to be in a little private circus. Thats all after he blabs to a penguin for hours until it cant stand Caps blathering anymore. He also fights the polar bear. Its as delightful as it sounds.

Captain Marvel and the Little Man Who Wasnt there from Captain Marvel Adventures 64 -This is a funny one where Cap gets a curse for an invisible little imp named Lester from enchanted water that gets stuck to him and wont leave. Everyone else can hear him but not see him and thinks its Cap or Billy saying and doing these mean things to them. Eventually he goes to a psychiatrist who thinks hes crazy so he demonstrates by drinking the water. Lester of course then is attached to the doctor. Its all hilarious.

Captain Marvel gets a secretary from Captain Marvel Adventures 67 – This is a fun tale where Joan Jameson, Billys secretary gets introduced. Dina, her similar looking roomate who is a boorish criminal poses as her and tries to pull a scheme at Station Whiz. A really fun one.

“The Talking Tiger” from (Captain Marvel Adventures #79) – One of the alltime best stories. Mr. Tawny, the talking civilized tiger joins the cast. Hes easily one of the best comic characters of alltime. This book would be filled with every appearance of him, but luckily Gwandanaland made such a book. This debut of him had to be in here. Essential reading.

Captain Marvel & The Medieval Demon from Captain Marvel Adventures 82 – “Ho Ho! Stop trying to kid me!” An old magic man summons a demon to get Cap, but the demon soon sees the modern age has too many advancements and no one is scared of him. Its all super funny with a strange gruesome ending

“The Plot Against the Universe” (Captain Marvel Adventures #100) – A book length thriller! 4 parts! This is one of the few stories that takes the entire comic up. A classic battle between Sivana and Cap, with Tawny, the Wizard, multiple Sivanas, robots, everything you could ever want! A great Issue 100. Its one of the main Sivana stories to me and an essential part of Cap canon.

“Captain Marvel and the Wish Factory!” (Captain Marvel Adventures #103) – Cap meets Oompar of the wish factory and he accidentally makes everyones wishes come true, resulting in all types of mayhem for Cap and Oompar to deal with. A silly amusing tale.

Captain Marvel & The Space Dragon from Captain Marvel Adventures #104 – This one is extremely special. Not for the space dragon or any silly stuff, but its a truly inspiring tale. Cap puts a lowly criminal thief Bozo Smith in jail, where he realizes that Captain Marvel did him a favor and he spends his rehabilitation bettering himself and really changing after Cap sends him a note encouraging this growth. Eventually his studies lead him to see that a planetoid coming towards Earth is actually a huge space dragon egg and he ends up helping Cap to save the Earth. To this day , this story is the most impactful for me of the positive effects a superhero can have to inspire and change people in a positive way. I think its that good. A quintessential Big Red Cheese story.

Captain Marvel The Dogcatcher from Captain Marvel Adventures #105 – In this story the Dog Lovers Society sends a letter requesting Captain Marvel play his flute at their dog lovers concert to help raise support to fire their local mean dogcatcher. Boy if you read that sentence and dont immediately chuckle and need to read this story, then I dont know whats wrong with you.

“Captain Marvel and the Betrayal of Mr Morris” (Captain Marvel Adventures #108) – This is a delightful little story about how Mr. Morris, Billy’s boss at the radio station starts to get paranoid everyones against him. The ending is a heartwarming standout to me.

Captain Marvel and the story of Lester the seal who couldnt swim from Captain Marvel Adventures 111 – This one instantly makes me smile. A silly old story about the seal who cant swim at the zoo. Poor Lester gets stolen when a showman intends to steal a different seal. Realizing his blunder the crooked showman closes him in a barrel and kicks him out of train. Cap is hot on his trail to save Lester but not before Lester accidentally i sent over Niagara Falls before Cap saves him. Naturally everyone loves the hero seal who went over the falls at the end though! Just such a bizarre, fascinating silly story. Its perfect in its strange simplicity.

Captain Marvel battles the pie plot Captain Marvel Adventures 118 – Hahahah man! Just look at that title page and try not to laugh out loud. Its brilliant! Such a smart way to use the comic medium. It is a PERFECT page and gag. Its a very silly story about Cap falling and getting hit with pies when a guy tries to steal some pie recipes and further hijinx. But man is it funny. Just brilliant. I think about that opening title panel and constantly in awe. So good!

Captain Marvel & the Man who thought aloud from Captain Marvel Adventures #119 – This is a real fun one about a man, Jasper Sauer, who always thinks negatively. An imp who is the collector of all bad human thoughts appears to him and basically tells him hes fed up and gives him a curse where all his bad thoughts will be spoken aloud for all to hear. Naturally this leads to all types of trouble and brings Cap into the situation. The imp then curses Cap too. Jasper thinks this is great and Cap can get into the same misfortune as him, but it leads to some absolutely great moments where Captain Marvel just always thinks pure innocent friendly thoughts. Its all quite funny. Eventually Jasper realizes he must be this way and his curse is lifted.

Captain Marvel & The Dinosaur Dilemma from Captain Marvel Adventures #123 – The thing about old Fawcett Captain Marvel comics is that each one is operating at such high quality, youll rarely ever find a stinker. I think its because they just went with whatever fun situation they could think of to place Cap in. This is one of those. Mr. Morris has a new pet baby dinosaur of course, and Billy finds that a pet store is selling them. naturally, Cap needs to deal with these dinosaurs and tires to set up a habitat for them before having to send them back in time. Its all super cute, well done stuff.

Captain Marvel & The Curse of the Black Thumb from Captain Marvel Adventures #129 – In this story, Billy visits his friend Cissie, who is gardening. She inadvertently destroys a cranky garden gnome’s home and he curses her with a black thumb, withering all plant life. Billy changes to Cap to help but Cap sits on a log and breaks the gnome’s new home. Thus Cap gets cursed too and starts causing all the plants to die with Cissie. The gnome is quite pleased with himself until a hungry fox tries too eat him. Cap stops the fox (the best part being he calls the fox Reynard, implying he knows this wild fox), and the gnome finally calms down and removes the curse and helps Cissie’s garden. They build him a nice new little home and Cissie wins first prize at the garden show. A perfect, typical Captain Marvel story.

Captain Marvel battles Double Doom from Captain Marvel Adventures #130 – King Kull emerged as Cap’s second reoccurring foe and this one is just a good story about Sivana and Kull teaming up. A great old superhero vs supervillain story.

Captain Marvel the Beauty In Black from Captain Marvel Adventures #142 – I love this one. Captain Marvel runs afoul of pretty criminal mastermind. She uses her feminine wiles to keep making Cap bashful and embarrassed and getting away. Eventually Cap tries to come onto her, giving it right back and flusters her, putting an end to her schemes. All a very fun story, worth it to see Cap getting all embarrassed.

Captain Marvel & the Vampire Burglar from Captain Marvel Adventures #147 – This ones great because you expect some hokey vampire story, but what you get is an old gentleman vampire that detests blood and only wants to eat Goody Goody candy bars. These candies contain a strange substance known as malakiza, which is only found in blood or these bars of course. This is where these Fawcett stories shine. Always throwing fun zany curves your way. A great fun story.

Captain Marvel Battles the World from Captain Marvel Adventures 148 – This one is a real classic. The Earth becomes sentient and attacks the human race and Cap must battle the planet itself! One of the best.

Captain Marvels Wedding from Captain Marvel Adventures #150 – An extremely wonderfule one here where Cap gets into a scuffle with a witch. She turns into a lovely girl during the day and Cap has to be her bodyguard all while not knowing she returns to a witch at midnight. The witch plans a marriage scheme where she can get away with anything if shes wed to Cap, but our hero cooks up a counterplan to catch her. All the fun stuff of Cap getting coerced into a relationship by her is so funny.

And with that we finish the Fawcett titles I have in the book. You honestly cant go wrong with any of them. Yes its a chore to track them all down, but do yourself a favor and find the scans and get to reading. Captain Marvel Adventures from like 80-150 are particularly good. Youll rarely be bored. After this DC put the legal stranglehold on Fawcett and eventually acquired all the characters. Cap after this is never really the same, but weve got some fun stories. I included:

Superman 276 – The famous Captain Thunder one. DC’s try out attempt at bringing Cap into its continuity. A landmark issue.

DC Comics Presents # 33-34 – Mr. Mxyzptlk and Mr. Mind team up to pester Superman and Captain Marvel on their respective multiversal Earths, which then leads to a huge Marvel Family showdown bringing in King Kull and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny as the hero. I actually really enjoy these issues. Great superhero comics.

DC Comics Presents Annual #3 – The Gil Kane drawn classic! Superman and Cap vs Sivana with Marvel powers. All drawn by a comics master. This one is stupendous!

L.E.G.I.O.N. #31 – A fun 90s story contrasting all the rage Lobo vs Captain Marvel’s child innocence.

The Power of Shazam OGN – by Jerry Ordway – Jerry Ordway bringing Cap back in an amazingly good comic, positioning him firmly in the DCU and reinvigorating his status quo and origin. This comic is so good. The art and writing are at the same high quality. Ordway really loved the Marvel Family and you can feel that love in every page. Highly recommended.

The Power of Shazam Annual #1 – A Legends of the Dead Earth annual event issue! Ordway creates a Captain Marvel of the 30th Century. CeCe Beck, a young girl gets powers from an aged Billy Batson, who is now the Wizard. A wonderful fun alt future tale. ceCe is such a fun character. She eventually joins the Post Zero Hour Legion, but I feel like this character always had so much more potential. Its an awesome comfort food comic for me.

The Power of Shazam # 38-41 – Jerry Ordway and Peter Krause’s version of The Monster Society of Evil! This is a real fun 4 parter with all types of Mister Mind shenanigans. Full of great comics action. Superman, Impulse and in the climax Kyle Rayner and time displaced Hal Jordan show up to help. What a crazy move by Ordway to throw that in for the small time Hal was brought back by Ron Marz. A really well done 90s snapshot of the DCU. Love these ones. These are reprinted in a 100 Page Spectacular for anyone interested.

JSA #48 – I really loved Geoff John’s JSA, especially his handling of the Marvel Family characters. Here we get a nice story of the Billy and Stargirl romance which I think was really cute and well done. Sweet comfort food stuff here.

The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures – Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s version of the Marvel Family. One of the best comics ever published. Itll make you furious we dont have an ongoing Marvel Family universe by Morrison. Its just that good. Brilliant, spectacular, gorgeous work. What comics should be.

Convergence: Shazam #1 and #2 – Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner make a comics masterpiece. To tell you the truth, these 2 issues are why I made this bind. So I could have these 2 absolutely perfect, amazing works of art in a deluxe hardcover on my shelves. As much as I gushed over Thunderworld Adventures, these 2 issues are even better!! Evan Doc Shaner is one of the greates modern artists we have but hes taken the spirit of C.C. Beck and made THE BEST Captain Marvel art weve seen in decades. Hes made to draw the character and his world. Stunning artwork through and through. It makes you wonder what this team could get up to on a normal ongoing Fawcett comic instead of this DC event. Thats still usually my fondest comics wish is we get that someday. I LOVE these comics. Very, very few books compare for me. This is the meat, potatoes, the cheesy pasta, all the warmth and satisfaction of your favorite comfort food in comic form. Its just spectacular.

And there you have it. All my Big Red Cheese picks. I think if anyone reads this it gives you a nice overview of some famous classics, and overlooked gems from the amazing Fawcett days to all the DC attempts and lets you get a good taste of the wide swathe of Captain MArvel comics out there!! Thanks for reading!

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