The most iconic figure in Western civilization is a three horse race between Jesus Christ, Mickey Mouse, and Superman. And if we were judging this by the number of commercially viable knock offs that each has produced, I am going to have to go with Superman who has been ripped off so many times it starts to boggle the senses. The Sentry (of the Avengers), Gladiator (of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard), Majestic (WildCats), Apollo (The Authority), Hyperion (Squadron Supreme), Prime (Ultraforce), Omni-Man (Guardians of the Globe), Samaritan (Astro City), Blue Marvel (Marvel Universe), Miracle Man (Alan Moore), and the very first one that made news was Captain Marvel (Marvel Family).
|This is Captain Marvel, or as he is sometimes called "The Big Red Cheese" because his naive nature makes him sound cheesy even by DC standards, whose masked vigilante, Batman won't kill a clown that murdered his son.|
|I couldn't find a picture of Superman fighting Mickey Mouse and Jesus, though I am sure such an image exists.|
Captain Marvel is in reality the teenage radio celebrity Billy Batson an orphan who lived on the streets with his sister, Mary. Having a good heart and a brave spirit he was found by the mysterious wizard Shazam who took both Billy and eventually Mary to his home, the Rock of Eternity. The Rock of Eternity it a magical constant in the universe, it exists deep in the ethereal world and is the prison for the original seven deadly sins that were freed from Pandora's Box, and the place to keep and store the numerous mystical hullabaloo and MacGuffins that the Justice League finds each and every year. The Wizard was old, far older than any mortal should ever live and having never had a son wanted to create a legacy to carry on his good works, guarding the 7 Sins and Rock from the evil forces that would use them to harm the world. Shazam had tried this before using the North African King known as Teth Adam turning him into a mighty warrior who brought great peace and prosperity to Africa, but was ultimately corrupted by the power. So essentially Shazam learned what Willy Wonka had known all along, you need to find a child to impose your beliefs upon, or else they will do things their own way.
Billy was told by the Wizard, "You have only to speak my name and you shall transform into my champion, Captain Marvel" at which point I imagine an awkward pause until the Wizard reminded Billy, "My name is Shazam." "SHAZAM!" Then being shouted Billy transformed into an adult version of himself, gaining the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury, the capital letters of each mythical being spelling out SHAZAM, because, you known, that is how branding works in the magical kingdom good thing this wasn't Norse myth with Skadi, Heimdall, Idun, and Thor.
Regardless of poor naming conventions Captain Marvel fought a series of villains that were laughably and uncompromisingly evil. There was Doctor Sivanna, who makes Lex Luthor look subtle and cultured by comparison; Mister Mind a worm that burrows into your brain, steals your knowledge, controls your actions, and when he gestates long enough turns into a giant monster that eats time; Psycho Pirate, who has a magical mask that allows its wearer to control the emotions of others; and then there was Captain Nazi, who is exactly what you think he is. Aside from the mad scientist, alien earworm, masked hypnotist, and Nazi, Captain Marvel also fought a lot of bank robbers, supernatural monsters, and cabals of magic users.
|"I in no way resemble the popular antagonist of the DC intellectual property 'Superman', for one thing I am much more unlikable and complex. Though I do have a hot wife and 4 kids."|
|Mister Mind, truly a foe to be feared and respected.|
|The single best iteration of Captain Nazi's costume. Ironic that so many of them are just flat out stupid when the Nazi's as an organization have some of the most stylish and cool looking uniforms ever made.|
|It was a different time, acid wasn't as stigmatized as it is now, people were more willing to throw out a new idea in hopes of finding a market, rather than just hoping to jump on bandwagons like they do these days.|
|Black Adam Kills Psycho Pirate by pushing a mask through his brains, with the most oddly bad ass line ever, "No more silly faces".|
|This is the little girl version of the character. A Child from the streets with a good heart and the power to save the world. She helps out a lot. Read Jeff Smith's run on the characters, they are great.|