Friday, July 13, 2007

The Horror of Captain Marvel



Still glorying in Golden Age Fawcetts, I'm struck by how the company was jumping on the horror comics bandwagon toward the end of the legendary Marvel Family's run. Not only were the superhero stories becoming darker (and often featuring monsters) but the flagship WHIZ COMICS actually began spotlighting an EC-like storyteller named Doctor Death! In fact, in one of his earliest stories, we actually have this character here who immediately brought to mind EC's Old Witch from THE HAUNT OF FEAR! Still, the handwriting was not only on the wall for Fawcett but also on all those legal papers that DC had been sending their way for years so as sales dwindled, the company threw in the towel and retired what may have been the single greatest Golden Age hero franchise of them all and settled for publishing DENNIS THE MENACE comics and paperback romances ever after. (For the record, in the grand tradition of false advertising, the cover scene of the monster with Sivana's head does not appear anywhere in the book.)

1 comment:

sam kujava said...

Jumping on the horror bandwagon,
indeed!
I wonder what C.C. Beck thought about this late period flirtation
with the dark side! From all the
highly opinionated essays he wrote
over the years, I'm guessing he
wasn't happily on board with the
"grim and gritty" Big Red Cheese!
But, being a professional cartoonist, first and last, Beck
probably gritted his teeth and did the work.
However, when he came back to the
character at DC in the '70's, he
eventually decided to quit rather than compromise his ethics.
Ironically, the Original Captain
Marvel was wildly successful in
the Golden Age and lasted about
14 years. DC has continued to
revive and give new life to the
Good Captain for over 30 YEARS,
with limited success.