Monday, September 16, 2013
With Two Magic Covers!
It was pretty big news in 1973 when DC Comics decided to revive the long-dormant Captain Marvel franchise. Ironic in that it was DC which sued Fawcett Comics and contributed to the demise of the one character in the Golden Age who truly challenged Superman's supremacy at the newsstands. Getting original comic artist C.C. Beck to do the art chores was a real coup, despite the necessity to change the name of the book to Shazam! because of Marvel's own Space-Born Super-Hero who had debuted five years earlier.
As can be seen in this original artwork, the debut cover though offered up a tantalizing blend of how Beck's seemingly simple, but nonetheless elegant style would distinguish itself from the normal DC house look, exemplified on the cover by the addition of a handsome Nick Cardy Superman. Given the famous feud between the characters, it's a gracious turn to have the Man of Steel welcome Earth's Mightiest Mortal to the DCU.
Many years later in 1987, after the Crisis had made a hash of DC's continuity, an attempt was made to revive Captain Marvel yet again. This time the approach was to forgo the vintage Golden Age look, a tactic long abandoned in the Pre-Crisis days too, and offer up an edgy Marvel, a darker Marvel.
For that work, Roy Thomas was joined by Tom Mandrake, an artist pretty much ideal for this approach with his strong dramatic flair. The reboot didn't click and later was all but expunged when Jerry Ordway took over the character and redefined the entire Marvel Family for the 90's, a redefinition which to my mind was the best which has been done with the characters since their reemergence onto the market in those halcyon 70's days.