I recently felt like opening some DC Universe Classics I've had sitting around, including this Captain Marvel I scored at Target at the beginning of January. On the package they call him "Shazam", which is really the magic word Billy Batson utters to become the powerful Captain Marvel. The reason for this is simple really...
"Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, due in part to a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics alleging that Captain Marvel was an illegal infringement of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters and returned them to publication, acquiring all rights to the characters by 1991. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe, and have attempted to revive the property several times. However, Captain Marvel has not regained widespread appeal with new generations, although a Shazam! live-action Saturday morning television series featuring the character ran for three seasons on CBS in the 1970s.
Because Marvel Comics trademarked their Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the original Captain Marvel's Fawcett years and DC years, DC Comics is unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties under that name. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! as the title of their comic books and thus the name under which they market and promote the character. Consequently, Captain Marvel himself is frequently erroneously referred to as Shazam."
Some may think of Captain Marvel as a poor man's Superman, though even as he was created a year after the Man of Steel, his adolescent appeal outsold DC's flagship hero for a time in 1940. As a child, I remember watching the 70's TV show, if vaguely, and another brightly costumed hero was certainly welcome in my little world. As an adult, I've enjoyed seeing the character again in some of the graphic novels I've been reading- he's corny and FUN! "Holy Moley!"
And finally, a couple favorite moments featuring Captain Marvel in the epic Final Crisis (DC, 2008)...
*Standing up to a ranting, unruly Ultraman:
*Recruiting superheroes from across the Multiverse to battle the evil vampire-Monitor, Mandrakk and Ultraman: