Although Marvel Comics has the name “Marvel” fairly well sewn up, as part of a character name it’s been used by a variety of companies big and small — with the most popular being by Marvel’s chief rival, DC, with Captain Marvel. But with the amount of Captain Marvels out there it’s been the subject of severe confusion (and more than a few lawsuits). But on the eve of Marvel’s Ms. Marvel making rank as Marvel’s new Captain Marvel and DC forcing its Captain to relinquish the Captain Marvel moniker in favor of his magic word ‘Shazam!,’ we present to you the most unique Captain Marvels out there. Hmm… Why are they all Captains? Who wouldn’t want to want to see a character named Private Marvel?
5. Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)
Created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. (and based slightly on Pam Grier), Monica Rambeau was introduced in 1982 and readers followed her rookie year as a hero and into membership (and eventually leadership) of the adventures. She never quite gelled with readers and retired from the team. Eventually she took back up her superheroine role, switching names from Photon to Pulsar, but it wasn’t until Nextwave that Monica, like Stella, got her groove back.
4. Captain Marvel (M.F. Enterprises)
Created by the original Human Torch’s original creator Carl Burgas, this Captain Marvel was a not-so-subtle attempt to cash in on the success of the Captain Marvel in 1966. This version featured the unique (and creepy) superpowers of being able to have his limbs detach from his body to fight. And like DC’s Captain Marvel, M.F.’s Captain Marvel had his own catch phrase: “Split!” to release his limbs, and “Xam!” to bring them back. I wonder why he never took off.
3. Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)
Although he only went by the “Captain Marvel” temporarily, the ex-Kree military officer Noh-Varr was for many years Marvel’s namesake going by the alias Marvel Boy. Currently operating as the Protector in the Avengers, Noh-Varr has moved on from the Captain Marvel legacy but remains tied to its history.
2. Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)
After the rights to DC’s Captain Marvel lapsed in the 60s, the then-recently renamed Marvel Comics sought to create a hero in their own namesake by creating their own Captain Marvel. Created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan as an alien spy hiding on Earth, Captain Marvel eventually comes to understand and protect the Earth people he was sent to destroy. After a long run on the character, in 1982 Jim Starlin created one of the greatest final acts in superhero comics with the graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel and until recently was one of the few superheroes never to be resurrected.
1. Captain Marvel (DC Comics)
When the teenager Billy Batson chants the word “Shazam!” he’s magically transformed into Captain Marvel, a superhero gifted with the powers of six mythical beings. For a time in the 1940s his titles outside Superman and everyone else on newsstands, and after his acqusition by DC he became part of DC’s extended family of heroes. But like a young bo burdened with a child-like name, DC’s lightning-emblazoned hero has always been uncomfortable with his ‘Captain Marvel’ moniker, mainly due to ‘Marvel’ being the name of their chief rival. When recently re-introduced to comics in the back pages of Justice League this year, the character’s name was officially changed to be Shazam instead of Captain Marvel.