Tuesday, September 18, 2018

CAROL DANVERS/CAPTAIN MARVEL MOVIE REVEALS! Part 2

Some of the things mentioned in this post can be found in these items:
 
Just a quick reminder, this is Part 2 of a blog post based on the following:

First, EW hits us with a brief but juicy cover story

But even more interesting is this: ten photos from the movie

And ScreenRant listed all the "reveals."


In my previous post I talked about how the current Entertainment Weekly article about Brie Larsen and Marvel's upcoming Captain Marvel has revealed, and not revealed, certain key details about Carol Danvers' costume and Jude Law's character.

I don't need to go over every detail of the movie that is revealed by the article and pictures, but I do find certain things particularly interesting....


3. Ben Mendelsohn's role
Pretty much all the initial speculation about the role to be played by Ben Mendelsohn was that he would play Yon-Rogg, Mar-Vell's initial adversary in Marvel Comics. This article, however, reveals that he will be playing a Skrull villain named Talos who disguises himself (through the physical morphing ability shared by all Skrulls) as a supervisory S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. EW released an interveiw with the actor on September 7th in which he waxed enthusiastic about the movie and his delight in playing villainous roles. He also explained why the Skrulls speak Australian. It's amusing. Go read it. I'll wait.

But for those of you who stuck around, I will continue.

I thought Mendelsohn would have made a good choice of Yon-Rogg. Not only does he have a lean, angular, middle-aged face that is within acceptable esthetic parameters of the character as drawn by at least two artists (even if not so much as drawn by two others), he has already played a similar role.
I am not too familiar with Mendelsohn's body of work, but I have seen Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi more than once. In it Ben plays an imperial fleet officer with a cold heart, an ulterior motive, and a mean streak that can be self destructive when he does not get his way. Sound familiar? Well, if you read the first year or three of Marvel's Captain Marvel starting in 1967 it would. That is pretty much describes Yon-Rogg to a T.

But now it is revealed that he will not be Yon-Rogg, and all the click-baiters who bit on that are going to have to eat their digital hats. Besides, the plot is going to be different that Carol Danvers' origin in the comics, but more on that later.

4. Lashana Lynch's role
A while back I wrote a list of things that ought to be in Marvel's Captain Marvel movie on one of those write-your-own-article quasi-clickbait sites (I have forgotten the name of it and can't find a link to it, dammit!). In it I said that one of those things should be something relating to Monica Rambeau.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Rambeau, she was the black, female Captain Marvel. After Mar-Vell died in 1982 graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel, Marvel Comics needed a new character to keep the "Captain Marvel" trademark alive. Being as the name is not gender-specific, and there weren't many black character around, a black female character was created.

She was originally a New Orleans Harbor Patrol officer facing the "glass ceiling" at her job. An explosion of inter-dimensional energy (of course) gave her the ability to transform into electro-magnetic energy ie: light. She got the name because someone had been calling her "Mon Capitan" (though she was a lieutenant) and after she survived the explosion, a Mexican security guard who had both heard this and witnessed the explosion passed into unconsciousness mumbling "El Capitan es un maravilla..."

She wound up being a strong, smart, courageous, and resourceful superhero, leading the Avengers through many challenging conflicts. In many ways I consider her a better "feminist role model" than Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers. She carried the mantle of Captain Marvel from 1982-1994.

It would be a crying shame if Marvel did not acknowledge this history and at least do some fan service here, and it looks like they are doing it. One of these ten pictures is Lahana Lynch in the cockpit of a jet fighter plane with her name and "handle" clearly visible. It is Maria "Photon" Rambeau.

"Photon" was the name that Rambeau picked for herself after giving "Captain Marvel" up to Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell's cloned son. This movie is said to be set in the 1990's. If we assume this Maria Rambeau is in her 20's, she would be in her 40's today. It is quite possible that there is a 20-something Monica Rambeau just waiting to make her appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! It is therefore not too far-fetched to think that  Lahsana Lynch may be playing the mother of another Captain Marvel!
I had more things to say about this article, but the news is starting to get away from, as I have had limited InterWeb time these past few weeks. The Trailer has finally been released and you betchum that I am gonna talk about it!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

CAROL DANVERS/CAPTAIN MARVEL IN COSTUME ON COVER OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY! (real news, part 1)

Work referenced in this post can be found here...
      
Once again, we interrupt the "Blog History of the many Captain Marvels" to cover some big Captain Marvel news that just dropped.

On September 4-5, there were some kernels of hints that there would be something major regarding Marvel's Captain Marvel (see how I did that? Kernel, major, captain?) released. Many people speculated that, after DC put out their SHAZAM! trailer, then for a Captain Marvel thing from Marvel we would see a big, glorious, exciting Captain Marvel trailer. And we all woke up the next day to find out that this big, glorious, exciting trailer...

...was NOT released! There was so much disappointment on the Interwebs that I could make a whole "clickbait roundup"(TM) about it. But I would rather not waste my valuable writing time on that.

Instead, let's talk about what was released:

First, EW hits us with a brief but juicy cover story

But even more interesting is this: ten photos from the movie

And ScreenRant listed all the "reveals."

I am so certain that the clickbait network has been working overtime on this. ScreenRant alone has over a half-dozen articles about the movie pop up just since the EW reveal, and I am not going to spend my time logging them all. Instead, here are my thoughts:

1. THE COSTUME
From the moment the movie was announced and "casting rumors" started flying fan art was showing interpretations of the current Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel outfit in faked pictures of potential actresses like Katie Sackoff, Emily Blunt,  and Ronda Rousey. Once Brie Larsen was announced, there were bunches of pictures of her in versions of the suit, some of which got repeated over and over in article and post after clickbait article and post whenever there was an announcement about the movie.



 That suit, in the comics, is blue and red. When the first set pictures of Brie Larsen in costume came out, she was wearing a suit of black and green. The location and design of the colors were pretty close to what we see in the comics (black for blue, green for red), but speculation abounded as to why this was what we were seeing.

"It's going to be colored in post!" was one cry. "That's the green of a greenscreen!" Others with more knowledge of the comics pointed out that Captain Mar-Vell, Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel and the one through whom Carol Danvers got her powers, originally had a white and green suit with a similar color distribution. this may have been a tribute to that, some said. At least one person pointed out that the uniform of S.W.O.R.D., an international anti-alien threat defense organization, uses black, white, and green.


The truth is out now. This is the uniform of "Starforce," a Kree strike team, of which Carol Danvers is a leading member, as is the character played by Jude Law (more on that later). But Danvers will also be seen in a blue and red version of the costume. This may have something to do with something that happens in the story (more on that later, also). In any event, the green on the shoulders, gloves, boots, and belt are in keeping with Roy Thomas' color scheme of Gene Colan's original design. We may see a "battle helmet" also, if Samuel L. Jackson's T-shirt is to be believed.

It does seem, however, that they are dispensing with the rank-specific colors and insignia as established in the comics.

2. JUDE LAW'S CHARACTER
Well, everyone from IMDB on down was convinced that Jude Law would be playing Captain Mar-Vell/Walter Lawson. I even wrote a blog post about this. It turns  out that, according to this EW exclusive, what we know is that he will be a commander, and he and Carol Danvers will be working together in the Kree Starforce. The term "mentor" has been bandied about to describe his relationship with Danvers ever since the original "in talks with..." announcements were made regarding Law's casting in the movie. We see pictures of him both in what I presume is a Kree battlesuit or something (the black and green suit we have seen on Brie Larsen) and in a more casual, short-sleeved affair. We also see him with short black hair and his characteristic, pronounced, widow's peak.

In the comics, Mar-Vell did not work with Carol Danvers much after she became the superhero Ms. Marvel, and Danvers never, ever worked for the Kree. Mar-Vell started with white hair, which turned blonde later (when he gained "cosmic awareness"). His rank in the Kree military in the original Marvel Comics was "captain," not "commander. All these things are different from what we are seeing in the movie so far.

However...

We have been told that Carol Danvers' origin as Captain Marvel will be different from the comics (more on that later). Furthermore, in Marvel's "Ultimates" universe, the corresponding character to Mar-Vell - whose name is spelled Mahr Vehl - has black hair, and his rank in the Kree military is "Pluskommander," which he describes as equivalent to a captain. In addition, his human disguise/alter ego is named Phillip Lawson.



The Ultimates universe has been used as source for parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe already, most notably, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury). Bizarrely, Mahr Vehl/Philip Lawson was the Captain Marvel that appeared in the animated series Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, while Carol Danvers became Ms. Marvel with the 1970's red & blue costume and scarf, and Phyla-Vell (Mar-Vell's cloned daughter from the main Marvel universe, whose origin is tied in with the destruction and re-creation of the universe with the help of Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell's post-mortem cloned son) even makes an appearance, wearing quantum bands (I don't have time to explain all that).




So it is not impossible that Jude Law is portraying Mahr Vehl rather than Mar-Vell. Of course, we don't see any pictures of him disguised as an Earth person, so we don't know if Walter or Philip Lawson will be making an appearance.

Another theory about Jude Law's character is that he will be playing Colonel Yon-Rogg. This is an interesting idea.

Yon-Rogg was Captain Mar-Vell's superior. He was jealous of Mar-Vell's standing as a loyal, reliable soldier who had a great future ahead of him, and despised his kind-heartedness. He was also in  love with Medic Una, Mar-Vell's girlfriend (who does not yet seem to be appearing in this movie). So he sent Mar-Vell alone on the  highly dangerous mission of spying on humanity to determine if they should be wiped out. He would repeatedly put perils in front of Mar-Vell that he thought would either make the captain look bad or kill him, and hated him even more every time Mar-Vell came out smelling like a rose.

In the end Yon-Rogg's jealousy made him self-destructive. He destroyed his career and nearly killed himself in his single-mind pursuit of Mar-Vell's destruction. The climax of his pursuit was the explosion of the Kree psyche-magnitron machine which led to Carol Danvers getting superpowers (that emerged eight years later, real-time when she became Ms. Marvel. In a recent Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) comic he resurfaced and nearly succeeded in capturing the Earth to give it to the Kree Empire, but by this time the Kree had no more interest in Earth, and besides, Yon-Rogg's authorization had long since expired. He was cut off by the Kree and defeated by Danvers/Marvel and her superhero friends.

Yon-Rogg had been drawn several different ways by several different artists. Sometimes he had brown hair, sometimes black, and Gil Kane even gave him a little villain's mustache! Sometimes he had a widow's peak. This all makes Jude Law look  like he might be a fit for that role. Though -Rogg and Danvers  only interacted once in the comics, since we are already breaking away from the comic continuity with Danvers being part of Starforce, why can't Yon-Rogg be the commander that eventually turns against her?


  So is the hair the over/under on which character Jude Law is playing? Remember, there has been some "blackening " of characters in superhero movies and TV shows lately. Aquaman and the Flash, you may recall, each have black hair in the latest movies, but in the comics were notably, and vibrantly, blonde! Could this be the latest example of this dark trend?




There is a lot more to talk about of what Entertainment Weekly has shared with us. What do you think of what's been mentioned so far?

TO BE CONTINUED...

All characters and images are copyright their respective copyright holders.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The True History of "SHAZAM!" and all the Captain Marvels! (Part 4 of several)



When last we left our hero-of-a-certain-name, poor sales had taken its toll, and the publishing frequency of MF Enterprises' Captain Marvel was declining rapidly.

What happened next is not altogether clear. Between Stan Lee and Roy Thomas I have heard or read at least three stories about the creation of Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel.

The first one I read was in Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics by Les Daniels, from 1991. In it, Stan said "I thought it would be terrible if someone else had the name when we were Marvel Comics. After extended legal and business negotiations, we got ourselves the rights to the name, but DC ended up with the old character. I thought we'd better do a book, so I wrote one about an alien from another planet."
Well, Stan is a great storyteller, but is not always the final authority on what actually happened. In this case, DC wound up with the "old character" through a business deal that had nothing to do with the legal action between Marvel and MF Enterprises. We will cover the legal action and the business deal soon.

In Alter Ego magazine and in the introduction to the first Marvel Masterworks edition of reprints of Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel, Roy Thomas states that it was Martin Goodman, publisher of Marvel Comics, who noticed the MF Enterprises Captain Marvel and decided Marvel ought to protect its trademark and create its own, and handed the assignment to Stan.

Recently Roy Thomas has said to me that he remembered Stan talking at a college and saying that there was a TV deal offered to Marvel for a superhero from outer space named Captain Marvel if Marvel would create the hero. The author Tom Wells, in American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69 from TwoMorrows Publishing, repeats this, adding that it was an animation studio's project. I will fill out the details of that story elsewhere.

Whichever is true, or whichever parts of each of those stories are true, on the cover of Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (December, 1967) was a mysterious  new "super-hero": a white-and-green clad figure by the name of... Captain Marvel.

A few months previously, the Kree, a race with a sprawling, militaristic, intergalactic empire, had first been referenced in the pages of Fantastic Four #65 (August 1967). They had been to earth long ago and planted secret bases and giant robots called "sentries" all over. The F.F. had discovered and defeated a sentry, so this Captain Marvel's first story was about an expedition was sent to determine if the people of Earth were a threat and should be destroyed.

The eponymic hero of this story was Mar-Vell, a captain in the Kree military (get it?). He was the expedition member selected by Colonel Yon-Rogg, to go to the planet to investigate. Yon-Rogg was  was jealous of Mar-Vell and had designs on his lady love, Medic Una, and thus went out of his way to put Mar-Vell in positions of danger, while Una spent a lot of time weeping over this and calling out Yon-Rogg for his duplicity.

At this point it is hard to describe the character of Mar-Vell without lapsing into synopsis because he changed...a lot.

First he was sent to Earth on his solo mission and checked into a small rural hotel as "C. Marvel." Then Yon-Rogg tried to zap him with a laser from orbit but hit a small plane instead, killing a rocket scientist named Dr. Walter Lawson. Mar-Vell took the dead man's identity (they looked alike) and reported to work at a US missile base known as "The Cape" (later revealed to be Cape Kennedy/Canaveral, although initially the landscape was drawn as a rocky, mountainous, desert region).

Then he met Carol Danvers (the future Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird/Captain Marvel. We'll get to all that later), head of security at The Cape, who had been suspicious of Dr. Lawson before Mar-Vell showed up. Then robots and monsters attacked the Cape on a regular basis, Mar-Vell kept fighting them off, rescuing Carol Danvers often in the process. Danvers remained suspicious of Lawson, fell for Mar-Vell, while Yon-Rogg plotted against him and made sure Medic Una was aware of every time Danvers made goo-goo eyes at him...and when they kissed.


To cut to the chase, Mar-Vell was used as a pawn in Kree ethnic politics (the blue-skins were pure, the "pinks," like Mar-Vell, were mixed with other races) and got new powers as a result (including space flight and the ability to cast illusions); Una died from a stray laser blast in a battle between the Kree and their enemy, the alien race known as the Aakon; the late Walter Lawson turned out to be a real enigma that was never solved; Mar-Vell wound up acting like a villain on Earth and had to leave, taking the body of Una and burying her on an asteroid; and when all was said and done, the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree (I'll explain that elsewhere) decided to punish Mar-Vell for disloyal deeds he had done by declaring that he would never rise above the rank of captain, but honored his bravery by letting him keep his new powers and granting him a new uniform.

Unfortunately, within moments of getting that new uniform, his powers somehow sucked him into the Negative Zone...and the readers had to buy the next issue to find out what ground-breaking, galaxy-shattering change Roy Thomas and Gil Kane would bring to Mar-Vel that would re-define his character forever! (Hint: It wasn't Snapper Carr)

Very early on, however, Myron Fass, head of MF Enterprises, decided to sue Marvel Comics. The Wall Street Journal is my primary source for this info, and here it is...

To sum up: Fass sued Marvel for trademark infringement, being as he had published a "Captain Marvel" comic first. Martin Goodman had offered Fass $6,000 for his hero character earlier, but Fass had refused. Marvel's defense was simply that their trademark on "Marvel" included all usages of it, including as a superhero name. The article was written at the start of the lawsuit, so it doesn't state the outcome, but at least two sources have stated that it was settled with Marvel paying Fass a few thousand dollars (far fewer thousands than Fawcett had paid DC to settle their suit).


Next: The Magic is Back!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

First Official Look at Brie Larsen as Captain Marvel! (licensed notebooks from Insight Editions)



Yes, I am delaying the continuation of the history of the Captain Marvel here for ONE MORE POST because I wanted to get this news in before it got too stale!

Last week the FIRST OFFICIAL IMAGE of Brie Larsen as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel was released, and it is in the form of a notebook. THAT'S RIGHT, A NOTEBOOK.



Apparently, Insight Editions has licensed a couple of images and put them on the covers of two notebooks that will be available in April of 2019.

Now, the click-bait Interwebs have, of course clogged up the newsstream, but I don't have time for one of my infamous "clickbait roundups" here. So I just selected the post that seemed to have the most info, the most pictures, and the most vivacious "voice." Feel free to visit it for all sorts of cool words and pictures!

https://www.quirkybyte.com/blog/2018/08/captain-marvel-merchandise-new-look-brie-larson/

And here is the Tweet that many folks are sharing about it: https://twitter.com/CaptMarvelNews/status/1033887549041909760

I have always felt that notebooks were a sort of quickie, cheapie job on the licensing. You have 84 (or whatever) lined pages and the only thing about it that is about the licensed property is the picture on the cover! The only thing cheaper than that is a folder! But look! At least the notebook has paper!

However, it can be used to write things about the property (in this case, Marvel Comics' current Captain Marvel). You can use it to log the clickbait articles that post the same pictures over and over again from the same tweet or review the fan-made trailers nor critique the writers and commenters on their lack of actual knowledge of the histories of these character. So no doubt every member of the Carol Corps will want at least one of each!

Of course we all do this on the Interwebs ourselves (like I am doing now) but by keeping it on paper, it is quite possible that it will last longer than all this electronic information that is going to go POOF! when the EMP hits or the servers shut down when the last drop of fossil fuel is consumed and the final solar panel shatters.

This image does reveal, at least that, yes, the costume will be blue and red, not (or at least not always) black and green, as the set photos have shown us. It also shows us that there will be some sort of energy/power in her hands, and that we cannot yet confirm whether she will ever have the short hair that she has recently had in the comics.

So there it is folks! Enjoy! I am sure there will be more on the way!

NEXT: Finally we find out about Mar-Vell, the second alien Captain Marvel!

 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Is Captain Marvel named Shazam, or vice versa, or what?

        



WE INTERRUPT THE SERIES ON THE HISTORY OF ALL THE CAPTAIN MARVELS FOR THIS SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

This is one of the most contentious subjects among comic fans, and most particularly, fans of the original Captain Marvel and/or any of his DC variants. There have been Jerry Springer-level fights on the Internet about this. Therefore, in the interest of peace, I offer the
flowing breakdown:

First off, the Captain Marvel(s) of whom we are speaking is the one created in 1939 for Fawcett Publications and the various re-boots and re-interpretations committed by DC Comics over the years. 


"Shazam" is the magic word that transforms Billy Batson into the hero.

Shazam is also the name of the ancient wizard who gave Billy Batson the power to do this.


In the Fawcett/Earth S/Earth 5 universe (1939-1953, 1972-1986, 2014-2017), his name is Captain Marvel and he has a different personality from Billy Batson. Do you want to know more? And even more?



In the Post-Crisis universe (The New Beginning, 1986-1994), his name is Captain Marvel and he has the mind of Billy Batson. Do you want to know more?



In the Post-Zero Hour universe (Power of SHAZAM! 1994-2012), his name is Captain Marvel and he has the mind of Billy Batson. His look changes when he takes over the Throne of the Wizard Shazam and becomes Lord Marvel. Freddy Freeman then goes through the Trials of Shazam and is called Shazam for a short time, but later is called Captain Marvel. Do you want to know more?


In the Johnny DC universe (Jeff Smith's mini-series The Monster Society of Evil and The Magic of 
Shazam series), his name is Captain Marvel. At the beginning of TMSoE he and Billy Batson have separate personalities, but they are combined by the end, and in TMoS he has the mind of Billy Batson.




In Flashpoint (2011) his name is Captain Thunder and he is an amalgam of 6 children, including Billy, but has his own personality.

In the New 52 universe (2012-present), his name is Shazam. He has the hood and crackling logo and a new set of powers. He has the mind of Billy Batson. This is the one in the movie.



When the magic word/name of the wizard is presented like this...

SHAZAM! 



...all caps, with the exclamation point (sometimes depicted as a lightning bolt over a dot), then it is a trademark, and need not necessarily be considered the hero's name.

So...
If Superman of Earth 2, who first appeared in 1938 in Action Comics #1,
Superman of Earth 1, who first appeared in the 1950's,
Ultraman from Earth 3, who first appeared in JLA in 1964,
Post-Crisis Superman, who first appeared in 1986,
Superman from Earth-Prime, who first appeared in the Crisis on Infinite Earths as Superboy,
and the New 52 Superman...

...are all the same character, then yes, the superhero named Shazam is also Captain Marvel, just not in that universe in which he is called Shazam. And he is not called Shazam in any of the other universes.

If you want to consider them different characters because they exist in different universes, then the version of Captain Marvel that exists in the New 52 universe is called Shazam, but he is not the same character.

Done. Stop fighting about it. Please use this for reference.