Top 5: Most Marvelous Captain Marvels in Comics

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.



  1. The first Captain Marvel I ever read was Genis-Vell, so he’s always been my favorite, with Mar-Vell and Shazam right up there. Never heard of the MF Enterprises Captain Marvel though….weird!

  2. Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    Atom-Jaw is a dead-ringer for Jaws, as he appeared in James Bond Jr.

  3. I loved Monica Rambeau! She was the newbie in the Avengers comics that I was picking out of cardboard boxes in a used book store. I was able to learn about the Avengers through her eyes. I love her in Nextwave. I wish Marvel would do more with her.

  4. I like that MF’s Captain Marvel is also fighting a dude named Dr. Fate

  5. “I’m Tiny Man, my giant ray gun will destroy him!”


    Hey Tiny Man, your gun is actually just normal sized.

    I love Monica Rambeau, I wish she had more traction in the Marvel Universe. She seems to me, to be like a more powerful, cooler version of Misty Knight… I’m not sure there is a big market for that, but I would buy it!

  6. Man that Grant Morrison Marvel Boy mini was really something. So many huge ideas in that book. Marvel’s really blown it with character since (like most Morrison stuff). I wish they had just never reintroduced him

  7. At #5, a “Giant-Size Special!” for only $1.50! Ah, the good old days.

    There is only one Captain Marvel for me, and I refuse to call him Shazam!

  8. Xam? I don’t even know how that would be pronounced. Is it like ‘zam’ or maybe it’s his radio call name: “All right all you loose limbs out there, this is the Captain coming at you on X-AM radio!”

  9. “into membership (and eventually leadership) of the adventures.”

    I assume a spellcheck gone awry.

  10. I’m another Monica fan. When she was on the team was one of the periods when I was really into the Avengers. I loved the way she was handled in Nextwave (“You know, when *I* was leading the *Avengers*…” I wonder if anyone counted the number of times she name-dropped that team. heh.)

  11. The Lee/Colan character will always be my Captain Marvel, but I’m another one who’s very partial to Monica.

  12. I wonder if Marry and Freddie will get powers in the New 52 or will they remain regular foster kids.

  13. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    What I wouldn’t give for a chance to read the M F Enterprises version of Captain Marvel. The covers of that guy’s comics have always intrigued me.

  14. For years I just couln’t wrap my head around this: Captain Marvel, Quasar, Nova. What’s the difference? All have red, yellow & blue costumes, operate in space and are powerful.