Over on the BEAT I wrote the following:

"RM Rhoades said the new Cap Marvel was “a really popular female character among women.”

I can’t claim it’s not true, since I don’t keep close tabs on sales these days. But have the three or four features starring Danvers in her current ID been super-impressive?

And if so, how can one be sure that it’s because of the female fans?'

I got no answer, so I decided to see if anyone here had any information about this subject.

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Also we should remember that they had a very good character in the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel who could have been a star player until they diminished her due to office politicking and wanting to push Mar-Vell's legacy which Carol Danvers is totally part of!

The forgotten/overlooked Captain Marvel

Kurt Busiek told me years ago on the old DC forums that at some point in the early nineties the company bought out the Marston estate for all of their rights to the character.  Brian Cronin also addressed the issue in his old CBR column as well, and backed up Kurt's statement.

Whatever deal DC may have once had in place with the Marstons has been defunct for at least two and a half decades now.

Randy Jackson said:

Wasn't this debunked a while back? I'm pretty sure I heard that DC had worked things out with the Marston estate.

Captain Comics said:

Good points all, Luis, and I should have brought them up myself.

As most people on this board know, Wonder Woman's creator got himself a sweet deal with National (or whoever DC was then) where if the publisher failed to publish a title headlined Wonder Woman for a calendar year, all rights reverted to the William Moulton Marston estate. Ergo, DC has never allowed a year to pass without a book titled Wonder Woman to hit the stands.

The consequence of this is that Wonder Woman has been continually published for 80 years -- and no other female superhero has done the same. By virtue of Marston's negotiation skills, this oddball character has become the biggest name in superheroines.

It's my understanding that during the 90's-based movie, Carol Danvers has a best friend fellow-pilot with the last name Rambeau, who has a daughter.

It will be interesting to see if that goes anywhere.

Philip Portelli said:

Also we should remember that they had a very good character in the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel who could have been a star player until they diminished her due to office politicking and wanting to push Mar-Vell's legacy which Carol Danvers is totally part of!

I heard that, too but I really don't want to see Monica become Carol's War Machine or Falcon (movie versions only). She had nothing to do with Mar-Vell or Carol, became a hero, Avenger and leader on her own. 

I feel like Marvel wants to forget that she was the first female Captain Marvel, not Carol.

Monica was always my personal favorite Captain Marvel.

Captain Comics said:

There have been some good developments. I liked how she was handled in Jessica Jones, as a staunch best friend. Her loyalty and devotion to the Air Force is rare in superheroes, and is well developed. And she has shone as a role model and inspiration for Ms. Marvel -- well, at least until Civil War II.

I may be off base here, but some writers seem to have a bias against people defending their country. Tony Stark was thought to be a bad guy because he manufactured weapons to defend his country, then later was chosen to be on the wrong side in Civil War I. I wouldn't be surprised if they chose Carol to be on the wrong side in Civil War II because of her Air Force background. This seems to be a continuation of the anti-military bias that started in the late 60s.

Thanks for all the replies. From the available evidence-- mainly, the fact that Carol Danvers hasn't managed to keep a series going very long under any of her personas-- it would seem likely that Marvel is trying to build up the character, to make her the company's "female Superman" even as Wonder Woman is for DC.

Of course, DC had a very different motive, for WW was far less profitable as a comics-character than as a merchandise-generator. I imagine that none of Carol Danvers' personas have anything close to that merchandise potential, though Marvel would certainly like to see her ramp up following her movie debut. Still, they can't be sure she will make a lot of franchise-money-- although the movie will probably make at least as much money as the lower-tier MCU films-- so I would *guess* that the company's main motive in pushing "Carol Marvel" is to keep all extant versions of "Captain Marvel" entirely aligned with Marvel Comics. DC is certainly aware that the days when two companies could have a featured character with the same name are effectively over: thus DC renames their Captain Marvel "Shazam."

I think you're reading bias into storytelling decisions where other motivations could be involved. I don't think Stark was seen as a bad guy for making weaponry to Fight the Commies (TM) until years later -- he was pretty heroic, through and through, at his inception. And with the Civil Wars, someone's gotta be right and someone's got to be wrong for the story to work. Stark, given his prominence as a founding Avenger, was chosen to be on the side of greater vigilance and security from people with superpowers. He took steps that were wrong -- but philosophically, it can be argued that he comes down on the side of gun control (taking the metaphor to a real-world place). Is that wrong? Some people sure think so, and others don't. But the ones who think it's wrong aren't often painted as anti-military. (And, of course, Captain America is in the military, and he was on the "right" side of CWI.)

But that's off topic. More on topic is Carol, who -- since it was a Civil War -- was chosen to be on the "wrong" side. And Carol's being a part of the military makes her an excellent choice for her to be "wrong" -- not because of an anti-military bias, but because it lets her be wrong and still be conflicted. She has a duty, and she will do it -- something that a good character does -- and yet can still be on the wrong side of things because her duty calls for her to be on a certain side. That both gives her character complexity and depth, and also makes her choices in CWII walk-backable. And because she has relationships with a lot of the superhero community, that means that a lot of heroes can wind up on the wrong side just out of respect for her and her authority. (The same thing happened with Iron Man -- he brought a lot of heroes with him in the CWI, just because of how much they trusted his intelligence -- and in Spider-Man's case, that he felt indebted to him.)

Looking at Civil War I and Civil War II, I think they made good choices for who would be the "wrong" party in both. Was there another founding Avenger who'd be a better choice in CWI? We've got Thor, Hank, Jan, and the Hulk. Hank and Banner are also geniuses like Tony, but neither has the leadership qualities that Tony has. Jan has the leadership qualities, but doesn't have the intellectual rigor for that part of the equation to play out. As for Carol in CW II I have a hard time thinking of another character who could serve her purpose in the story. Rhodey, maybe, but he's military also. Finding a civilian who could make her choices, but also be salvageable as a character later, and have close enough ties to bring a sizable chunk of the heroic community along? I don't see many options. 

I might be able to think of a few options in the X-Men, but that complicates things too: With a mutant leading one side of the fight but not the other, that makes the conflict partially about homo sapiens vs homo superior, which distracts from the philosophical underpinnings of the story.

Maybe you can think of other heroes to lead those sides in the Civil Wars... God knows plenty of people know more about Marvel than I do. But I think I've demonstrated that those decisions can be reached out of storytelling expediency rather than anti-military bias.



Richard Willis said:

I may be off base here, but some writers seem to have a bias against people defending their country. Tony Stark was thought to be a bad guy because he manufactured weapons to defend his country, then later was chosen to be on the wrong side in Civil War I. I wouldn't be surprised if they chose Carol to be on the wrong side in Civil War II because of her Air Force background. This seems to be a continuation of the anti-military bias that started in the late 60s.

Gene, I think half of your question wasn't answered at all: Is she really popular among female fans?

All the dudes on the board have said she's not that popular, because her series keeps getting canceled. So my first thought is: You asked in the wrong place for an answer to that question. I wish we had more women chiming in here regularly. We don't.

My argument is that she IS (or at least MAY BE) popular among the subset of female comics fans, because her canceled series keep getting revived. (Also, Marvel routinely cancels Spider-Man titles too, only to give them a new creative team, a slightly different title, and  new #1. So a few of these cancellations can be seen as business-as-usual.)

She's not well known among the general public yet. Neither was Black Panther, really. And I'm not sure how well Black Panther's current series is doing on the sales charts. But I can guarantee Marvel has no regrets about making the movie. 

And if Captain Marvel is even half as good as Black Panther, they're gonna make buckets of money on it too. 

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Gene, I think half of your question wasn't answered at all: Is she really popular among female fans?

All the dudes on the board have said she's not that popular, because her series keeps getting canceled. So my first thought is: You asked in the wrong place for an answer to that question. I wish we had more women chiming in here regularly. We don't.

My argument is that she IS (or at least MAY BE) popular among the subset of female comics fans, because her canceled series keep getting revived. (Also, Marvel routinely cancels Spider-Man titles too, only to give them a new creative team, a slightly different title, and  new #1. So a few of these cancellations can be seen as business-as-usual.)

She's not well known among the general public yet. Neither was Black Panther, really. And I'm not sure how well Black Panther's current series is doing on the sales charts. But I can guarantee Marvel has no regrets about making the movie. 

And if Captain Marvel is even half as good as Black Panther, they're gonna make buckets of money on it too. 

Rob has a point. The mark of a character that's unpopular isn't that they have series that get canceled and revived; it's the characters that never headline a series.

When you think about it who from the Silver Age hasn’t made it into movies or TV.   Marvel really didn’t have that many superheroes back then, unlike today.  Off the top of my head:  Black Knight, Sting-Ray, Prowler, and maybe Stunt-Master.  None of them have ever really been headliners but I think watchable movies could be made about any one of them — maybe with more modest budgets and expectations.  

ClarkKent_DC said:

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Gene, I think half of your question wasn't answered at all: Is she really popular among female fans?

All the dudes on the board have said she's not that popular, because her series keeps getting canceled. So my first thought is: You asked in the wrong place for an answer to that question. I wish we had more women chiming in here regularly. We don't.

My argument is that she IS (or at least MAY BE) popular among the subset of female comics fans, because her canceled series keep getting revived. (Also, Marvel routinely cancels Spider-Man titles too, only to give them a new creative team, a slightly different title, and  new #1. So a few of these cancellations can be seen as business-as-usual.)

She's not well known among the general public yet. Neither was Black Panther, really. And I'm not sure how well Black Panther's current series is doing on the sales charts. But I can guarantee Marvel has no regrets about making the movie. 

And if Captain Marvel is even half as good as Black Panther, they're gonna make buckets of money on it too. 

Rob has a point. The mark of a character that's unpopular isn't that they have series that get canceled and revived; it's the characters that never headline a series.

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