Why Did DC And Marvel Fight Over Captain Marvel? Age-Long Battle EXPLAINED

The famous world of comics has always been intriguing to the fans and one of the longest battle was over Captain Marvel between DC Comics and Marvel. Let's take a look at the big picture before we dive into a whole lot of dramatic deets.

Published on Apr 18, 2024  |  04:50 PM IST |  40.7K
DC Comics and Marvel Long Battle Over Captain Marvel
Marvel And DC (PC: IMDb)

Both Marvel and DC have a long ongoing battle over Captain Marvel and the battle is over who owns the name of this classic comics character. Some major events took place before the drama cleared out and they are mentioned below.

  • Captain Marvel comics originally came from Fawcett Comics in the 1930s.
  • The shift from Captain Marvel to Shazam was a result of legal battles and the birth of Marvel’s own Captain Marvel series.
  • In the 21st century, Captain Marvel and Shazam both were rebranded and now they both are successful Hollywood heroes.

You would be surprised to know that there are two different Captain Marvels throughout comic book lore. Actually, there are more than two, but both worlds i.e., DC and Marvel comics each own a character who is known by their nickname. Either way, whichever Captain one might like or read about, there will always be a lengthy comic book history associated with the name Captain Marvel, a history that is confusing yet fun. 

The fans are hopeful that Wisdom of Solomon will be able to fix that. We saw the release of Shazam!: Fury of the Gods and The Marvels in 2023, but before we get to the sequels, it might be better to brush up on the history of Captain Marvel. So, let’s dive into the dramatic details.

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Shazam

Captain Marvel comics originally came from Fawcett Comics

Around the year 1939, just after the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, the comic book writer Bill Parker and artist C.C. Beck were hired by Fawcett Comics to develop a “Superman” of their own. After a few false beginnings, the character became a big hit, and soon after he gained his own solo series which highlighted Fawcett Comics. 

We also witnessed a lot of sidekicks and spin-offs after that and Captain Marvel became very famous just like Superman. Moreover, Captain Marvel soon got a whole lot of supporting cast which included his sister, best friend, and others. His cast was also given the power of Shazam which made it even more entertaining and adventurous. They sold really well during World War II, it gave hope to many Americans during the dark times. If truth be told, the Marvel brand was still to be invented properly and it went to an extent where Captain Marvel was the only comic book superhero to hold that name for a long time. 

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Long Legal Battle with DC Comics and Captain Marvel became Shazam

DC Comics was known as National Comics in 1941 and they sued Fawcett Comics for copyright infringement where they claimed that Captain Marvel was based on Superman. The fans know that it kind of was like that but another fact was that Captain Marvel was very different from the Man of Steel. For starters, Captain Marvel had an alter-ego, Billu Batson who used a magic word to have superpowers during his adolescent days. When we compare him with Superman who was an alien pretending to be human. The color schemes and personalities were different for obvious reasons but DC wouldn’t accept it any other way. DC couldn’t keep up Superman’s copyright so it was decided that Fawcett copied DC and the case was dropped off a decade later. 

However, DC was still not satisfied so they attempted to appeal the judge’s decision again in 1952. But, then DC and Fawcett decided to settle all their quarrels outside the court. RetroFan Magazine reported that Fawcett got banned from publishing anything about Captain Marvel without DC’s permission moving forward. As a result, Captain Marvel Adventures and other family books ended in 1954. After some time, Marvel Comics swooped in and got their own Captain Marvel series published. Now that Fawcett was barred from using the character Captain Marvel, it went unclaimed for more than a decade. 

However, Stan Lee and Gene Colan re-branded Marvel Comics and claimed it for themselves in 1967. 

Lee and Colan’s version had many of the same powers as DC/Fawcett’s Captain Marvel wherein he was an alien with cosmically-endued abilities. His series didn’t really pick up and was canceled after the 21st century. To gain audience interest, Marvel also brought Ms. Marvel's character but it didn’t work and thus it cut short a bit. But, to keep the copyright, Marvel came up with Captain’s adventures off and on throughout the 70s. 

In the comic, The Death of Captain Marvel, our hero dies because of cancer after being exposed to a toxic compound that became the reason for his death. But, this was one of the greatest comic books all of time. 

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel and Shazam: Both Are Hollywood Heroes

DC Comics came up with their “New 52” initiative in 2011 and also rebooted the entire DC Universe of stories, heroes and timelines. They created a whole new world that we know as Justice League which has only been around for half a decade. Moreover, Geoff Johns’ Justice League was also published before a new solo series. They re-wrote Billy Batson from a “sweet kid” to a “bratty teenager” with attitude problems and it was controversial as well. This was officially the official transition from Captain Marvel to “Shazam!.”

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After a while, DC’s Shazam got a makeover, and Marvel re-branded Mar-Vell’s former partner Carol Danvers as the brand-new Captain Marvel which also proved to be controversial at the time. The fans have also seen Carol leading different incarnations of the Avengers where she fought Iron Man in the sequel of the original Civil War comic book. Ever since Carol has been an important Avenger and a powerhouse member of the MCU who is almost seen everywhere. So, Marvel’s all-new Captain Marvel and DC’s Shazam are now Hollywood Heroes. We have seen Zachary Levi in Shazam and Brie Larson became a part of MCU.

DC : Captain

Although, we still think that Marvel will be giving up the “Captain Marvel” name anytime soon this hasn’t stopped DC Comics from trying to bring modern Shazam’s status as “Captain.” Moreover, when Shazam! Was recently issued, Billy Batson’s alter-ego is being called as “The Captain.”

Even though several Captain Marvels have been in existence for a while now but they all have different powers & abilities even after they hold the same name.

ALSO READ: What Role Did Kenneth Mitchell Play In Captain Marvel? Character Explored Following Actor's Death At 49

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