Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I reread the first Riddler story in the Detective Comics anniversary hardcover, and it introduces the my favorite Batman villain with a character flaw that subsequent stories have deviated from: The Riddler wins at puzzles & riddles not so much because he's smarter than everyone, but because HE CHEATS. As a kid, he cheated on a jigsaw puzzle assignment, and would make bets with impossible bent-nail puzzles, switching them out with other ones through sleight of hand to "prove" they were possible. There's another carney game he wins at because he can see some otherwise invisible markings using special glasses. (Although, if he's running a carnival game, of course it's rigged!)

His cheating transforms, though, when he faces Batman and Robin. He gives them riddles with legitimate answers, but stages his crimes at places with a secret double meaning that the answers could have. That's much more like the Riddler we know today, but I think it's important to remember that he didn't get so good at riddles because he's as smart as Batman...he did it by cheating, so he could seem cleverer than he is. And in the final showdown in a maze of glass, he cheats a final time by installing a glass pane over the actual exit once he escapes, trapping Batman and Robin inside. It's a good encapsulation of his character -- he presents challenges as fair play, when in truth they're anything but.  

Probably where I saw them. In the 70s (and possibly earlier), Mad's "Super Specials" sometimes came with a mini-comic inserted that reprinted stuff from the 1950s comic-book version of Mad. I can state for a fact that one of these contained "Superduperman," which I read before I had any real idea who Captain Marvel had been!

Captain Comics said:

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Anybody have any idea where I (and Jeff) saw "Superduperman" before the '80s? "Starchie?" "Batboy and Reuben?" I swear, I can rattle these stories off from memory, and can repeat most of the jokes, so I must have read them somewhere pretty early on. (My memory of the '80s is spotty and I don't remember a damn thing from the '90s. I wasn't much enjoying comic book collecting then.)

This is the first (of several) specials to include mini versions of Mad comic books from the '50s. "Superduperman" was the first story in the supplement.

That's definitely where I first saw them! (And also probably where I first saw the word "nostalgic"!)

Captain Comics said:

I may have mentioned this before, but I didn't know anything about the original Captain Marvel until the Roy Thomas Captain Marvel issues.

A little after the beginnings of comics fandom I started getting fanzines and became aware of Captain Marvel and the other Golden Age heroes. I’m pretty sure that Crisis on Earth One was my first experience of 1940s heroes. Roy Thomas was born in 1940, so was a youngster during the original CM run, and was one of the prominent fans who collectively coined the term Golden Age, which led to the term Silver Age.

I’m pretty sure that the first 1940s Captain Marvel story I ever read was the one reprinted in A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics, which was from Captain Marvel #100 (SEP49). This collection wasn’t published until 1981. I had Steranko's History earlier but don't think it contains any actual stories.

I don’t remember reading Marvel’s Captain Marvel #17, introducing his negative zone link to Rick Jones. I think I first encountered this in the TPB collection of the Kree-Skrull War.


And thanks, everyone, for adding to my reading list. I'll be looking for Redfields, Faithless and Spider-Man: Life Story.

When I go to my LCS this week I’ll be adding Spider-Man: Life Story to my pull list. I may have to order issue #1 if they sold out.

This was one of two or three Mad mass-market paperbacks that reprinted stories from the original Mad comics. This one, as I understand it, was published in 1958. At that time I was buying the Weisinger books but had no knowledge of other heroes, let alone Golden Age heroes. I probably read the SuperduperMan vs Captain Marbles story without ever having heard of Captain Marvel.

 

Somehow, I missed the question.

"What was my first Captain Marvel (Shazam) experience?"

Not until DC gained ownership and revived the character in the 1970s did I even know "The Big Red Cheese" even existed.

As for "The Other Guy", I didn't start Marvels until much later, so it wasn't until a Marvel Premiere or whatever tryout book the Kree version got a spotlight in before I discovered him, but always considered the name a rip off of DC/Fawcett.

Did love Monica Rambeau though, and was glad they changed her name.

Right. The Question.

I mean, Captain "Shazam" Marvel.

I'm pretty sure I encountered the Mad's "Captain Marbles," first, without knowing he was a parody. Then I got my hands on Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes, when I was not quite old enough to fully understand the essay parts (which I read), but certainly old enough to grasp the basic history and read the cool reprints (I still have that book). Soon thereafter, Shazam! hit the Saturday morning TV. Didn't follow it too closely after the first season, as I was getting a bit older and of course they changed the actor who played the Captain. They did add Isis, however.

To follow up, Feiffer’s book (1965) includes a one reprint which I assume is from Whiz #2 which explains who Captain Marvel is — boy, they packed a lot into one page back then.  The page is accompanied by a note: “This excerpt will, hopefully, give the flavor of Captain Marvel.  More can not be printed without unsettling the settlement between Clark Kent and Billy Batson.  We thank J. S. Liebowitz, President of National Periodicals, Inc., for permission to reprint, for historical purposes, the following matter.  Our excerpt, unfortunately, must end where Captain Marvel begins...”

Additionally, Les Daniels’ Comix: A History of Comic Books in America (1971) includes a discussion of Captain Marvel.

As an interesting coincidence, I used the convoluted history of Captain Marvel/Shazam as an example in class today in my lecture on intellectual property and trademark. I didn’t subject the students to Marvel/Miracleman etc. I kept it simple; well, as simple as this thing can be.  I hope the recent movies made this example a little bit more “real” for the students. I’ll find out in two weeks when it’s time for the final exam.


JD DeLuzio said:

Right. The Question.

I mean, Captain "Shazam" Marvel.

I'm pretty sure I encountered the Mad's "Captain Marbles," first, without knowing he was a parody. Then I got my hands on Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes, when I was not quite old enough to fully understand the essay parts (which I read), but certainly old enough to grasp the basic history and read the cool reprints (I still have that book). Soon thereafter, Shazam! hit the Saturday morning TV. Didn't follow it too closely after the first season, as I was getting a bit older and of course they changed the actor who played the Captain. They did add Isis, however.

Here is the bottom two thirds of the page reprinted in Feiffer’s book.

So, this may be my first introduction to Captain Marvel, although my parents did mention him from time to time as they had read comics in the 1940s and made sure I had plenty in the 1960s.

I should mention that I'd hear the Beatles' "White Album" by then, though I don't think I processed that they were mentioning this character in "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill."

JD DeLuzio said:

Right. The Question.

I mean, Captain "Shazam" Marvel.

I'm pretty sure I encountered the Mad's "Captain Marbles," first, without knowing he was a parody. Then I got my hands on Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes, when I was not quite old enough to fully understand the essay parts (which I read), but certainly old enough to grasp the basic history and read the cool reprints (I still have that book). Soon thereafter, Shazam! hit the Saturday morning TV. Didn't follow it too closely after the first season, as I was getting a bit older and of course they changed the actor who played the Captain. They did add Isis, however.

That's my experience exactly! 

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