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Tim
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Registered: May 2006
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Main articles: Marvel Family and Enemies of Captain Marvel (DC Comics)

Detail from the cover of The Marvel Family #1. Left to right: Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and the wizard Shazam. Art by C.C. Beck and Pete Costanza.Captain Marvel often fights evil as a member of a superhero team known as the Marvel Family, made up of himself and several other heroes: The Wizard Shazam who empowers the team, Captain Marvel's sister Mary Marvel, and Marvel's protégé Captain Marvel, Jr.. Before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Marvel Family also included part-time members such as Mary's non-powered friend "Uncle" Dudley aka Uncle Marvel, Dudley's non-powered niece Freckles Marvel, a team of proteges (all of whose alter egos are named "Billy Batson") known as the Lieutenant Marvels, and the funny-animal pink rabbit version of Captain Marvel, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.


Through his adventures, Captain Marvel gained an extensive rogues gallery, the most notable of whom include the evil mad scientist Dr. Sivana (and, pre-Crisis, the Sivana Family), Shazam's corrupted previous champion Black Adam, Adolph Hitler's champion Captain Nazi, and the mind-controlling worm Mister Mind and his Monster Society of Evil. Other Marvel Family foes include the evil robot Mister Atom, Shazam's demon offspring Blaze and Satanus, the "World's Mightiest Immortal" Oggar, and Ibac and Sabbac, demon-powered supervillians who transform by magic as Captain Marvel does.


The Marvel Family's non-powered allies include Dr. Sivana's good-natured adult offspring Beautia and Magnificus Sivana, Mister "Tawky" Tawny the talking tiger, WHIZ radio president and Billy's employer Sterling Morris, Billy's girlfriend Cissie Sommerly, Billy's school principal Miss Wormwood, and Mary's adoptive parents Nick and Nora Bromfield.



[edit] Cultural influences
Captain Marvel's adventures have contributed a number of elements to both comic book culture and pop culture in general. The most notable of these is the regular use of Superman and Captain Marvel as adversaries in Modern Age comic book stories.


The fictional Superman/Captain Marvel rivalry has its origins in "Superduperman," a satirical comic book story by Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood in the fourth issue of Mad (April-May, 1953). In the parody, inspired by the Fawcett/DC legal battles, Superduperman, endowed with muscles on muscles, does battle with Captain Marbles, a Captain Marvel caricature. Marbles' magic word is "SHAZOOM", which stands for Strength, Health, Aptitude, Zeal, Ox—power of, Ox—power of another and Money. In contrast to Captain Marvel's perceived innocence and goodness, Marbles was greedy and money-grubbing.


Prior to reviving Captain Marvel in the 1970s, DC Comics, in its flagship Superman comic (issue #276, June 1974), published a story featuring a battle between the Man of Steel and a thinly disguised version of Captain Marvel called Captain Thunder (whether this was intentional to honor the character's early original name is unknown). This was a sort of test run to allow DC to gauge how the original character's return might be received by readers. After encouraging sales figures led to the official revival, they followed Mad's cue and often pitted Captain Marvel and Superman against each other for any number of reasons, but usually as an inside joke to the characters' long battles in court; they are otherwise staunch allies. Notable Superman/Captain Marvel battles in DC Comics include All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 (1979), All-Star Squadron #37 (1984), Superman #102 (1995), the final issue of the Kingdom Come miniseries (1996) and, most recently, Superman #216 (2005). The "Clash" episode of Justice League Unlimited, which included Captain Marvel as a guest character, featured a Superman/Captain Marvel fight as its centerpiece.


Captain Marvel was the first major comic book hero to have a young alter ego. Although kid superheroes had generally been neglected before Marvel's introduction, kid sidekicks soon became commonplace shortly after Marvel's success: Robin was paired with Batman in May 1940, and Captain America was introduced with sidekick Bucky in March 1941. The idea of a young boy who transformed into a superhero proved popular enough to inspire a number of superheroes who undergo similar transformations, including Marvel Comics' Darkhawk, Malibu Comics' Prime, and animated/action figure superheroes such as Hanna-Barbera's Mighty Mightor and Young Samson, Mattel/Filmation's He-Man, and Warner Bros. Television's Freakazoid. Other heroes, including Marvel Comics' Thor, undergo similarly magical transformations from a weak human form to a god-empowered form.


The Image Comics character Mighty Man, created by Erik Larsen and appearing primarily in Larsen's series The Savage Dragon, is an obvious homage to Captain Marvel. Similarities run deep, from MM's initial secret identity being a young boy with an alliterative name ("Bobby Berman") to his greatest foe being a mad scientist named "Dr. Nirvana".


In pop culture, Billy Batson/Captain Marvel's magic word, "Shazam!", became a popular exclamation from the 1940s on, often used in place of an expletive. The most notable user of the word "Shazam!" in this form was Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) from the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. Another catchphrase popularized by Captain Marvel was his trademark exclamation, "Holy Moley!"


Even more than ten years after the character first disappeared, the superhero was still used for allusions and jokes, in films such as West Side Story, TV shows such as The Monkees, M*A*S*H, and American Dad!, and songs such as "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" (1968) by The Beatles and "Shazam" (1960) by Duane Eddy. Elvis Presley was a fan of Captain Marvel, Jr. comic books as a child, and later styled his hair to look like Freddy Freeman's and based his stage jumpsuits and TCB lightning logo on Captain Marvel Junior's costume and lightning-bolt insignia. The Academy of Comic Book Arts named its Shazam Award in honor of the character's mythos.


Stan Getz, along with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Airto Moreira, recorded a song entitled "Captain Marvel" (written by Chick Corea) which appeared on their album of the same name.



[edit] Other media

The Adventures of Captain Marvel, starring Tom Tyler in the title role.The first filmed adaptation of Captain Marvel was produced in 1941. The Adventures of Captain Marvel, starring Tom Tyler in the title role of Captain Marvel and Frank Coglan, Jr. as his alter ego, Billy Batson, was a twelve-part film serial produced by Republic Pictures in 1941. Often ranked among the finest examples of the form, its release made Captain Marvel the first superhero to be depicted in film.


Over thirty years later, Filmation produced Shazam!, a live-action television show which ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS. From 1975 until the end of its run, it aired as one-half of The Shazam!/Isis Hour. The Shazam! TV show was a more indirect approach to the character; it told of Billy Batson/Captain Marvel making road trips, instead of flying across the USA to combat evil.



Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel, from Filmation's Shazam! television show.Michael Gray portrayed Billy Batson in the series, with both Jackson Bostwick (season 1) and John Davey (seasons 2 and 3) as Captain Marvel. Shortly after the Shazam! show ended its network run, Captain Marvel, played by Garrett Craig, appeared as a character in a pair of low-budgeted live action comedy specials, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions under the name Legends of the Superheroes in 1978. The specials also featured Howard Morris as Dr. Sivana, and Ruth Buzzi as Aunt Minerva, marking those characters' first live action appearance.


Three years later, Filmation revisited the character for an animated Shazam! cartoon, which ran on NBC from 1981 to 1982 as part of the Kid Superpower Hour with Shazam!. The rest of the Marvel Family joined Captain Marvel on his adventures in this series, which were more similar to his comic-book adventures than the 1970s TV show.


Billy Batson has a non-speaking cameo in the episode "Obsession" from the Kids WB's Superman: The Animated Series, and Captain Marvel makes cameo appearances in a dream-sequence from an episode of The Drew Carey Show, and in the Beastie Boys' music video for "Alive". In 2005, Captain Marvel guest starred in the Cartoon Network animated series Justice League Unlimited on June 11, 2005, in an episode entitled "Clash". Captain Marvel was voiced by Jerry O'Connell, with Shane Haboucha as Billy Batson. A misunderstanding between the two heroes leads to a fight sequence between Captain Marvel and Superman in the episode alludes to the Kingdom Come mini-series.


Currently, New Line Cinema is developing a Shazam! live-action feature film, with Peter Segal (The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates) as director and Michael Uslan as producer. The film has no release date set.
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