Let me Tell you a Story
About the day that I realized that Captain Marvel was my favorite character and that I always loved him.
It was the year 2007, just months before my 25th birthday, and I’d decided that I wanted to be a comic book artist, thanks to Michael Turner, whose art had rekindled my love of drawing. I wanted to be just like him, with a beautiful style known for drawing gorgeous women.
So I set out to learn. Like a fool, I figured I could learn drawing by looking at the art in comics. Of course, I’d since learned that learning the fundamentals is the most important thing an artist can do if they aspire to work professionally.
But there was a problem. I’d been out of comics once more and wasn’t up to date on who the top artists were in the comic book world, so research was needed and that meant a trip to my local Barnes & Noble.
Once there, I headed straight to their graphic novel section and found myself overwhelmed. The selection was a bit daunting and I didn’t recognize many of the newer names, so I fell back on my habit of browsing by my favorite characters.
Y’know, my holy trinity of Spider-Man, Superman, and The Flash, so naturally, I looked for their books first, especially the ones that had the prettiest art.
I was ecstatic to find that Michael Turner’s Supergirl trade paperback was on the shelf, so I grabbed that one first, but when I did, lightning struck and magic happened.
Or maybe it was fate that did.
Either way, my fanhood would never be the same after that.
After I pulled the Supergirl trade off the shelf, I discovered that Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder had been next to it and I could see the glorious Joshua Middleton’s cover of both Superman and Captain Marvel in mid-air.
I gasped. Here, for what I could only surmise was the first time ever, was World’s Mightiest Mortal and the Man of Steel for a standalone mini-series four issues long. And the art GORGEOUS.
I browsed around and bought other trade paperbacks, but I remember not what they were. I rushed home straight away, pulled out First Thunder, dumped the rest of the books on my bed, and lost myself to the clouds as I was wont to do as young boy reading comics.
When I was done, all I could do was stare silently with awe as a changed man.
You see, I grew up with Superman, the Flash, and Spider-Man as my favorite characters in my childhood. I quite liked Captain Marvel, but he was not my favorite. I even bought First Thunder mostly for Superman even though it was the inclusion of Captain Marvel that sold me on buying it.
But then I read it, and…
A Captain Marvel Star is Born
Captain Marvel was the star of it for me, and it was such an awesome story, so much that I had an epiphany: I did not just like Captain Marvel. I loved Captain Marvel.
What’s more, I realized that I always did.
After my revelation, I never saw Captain Marvel the same. I could not. It was at that moment that I knew then and forever that Captain Marvel was my favorite character.
But why? Why did it take me such a long time to finally realize that I had always loved Captain Marvel?
I was an adult now, so how does a character that was created for kids suddenly become my favorite as an adult? Why did I not realize this when I was a kid?
An introspective was in order, and introspect I did.
In short, the answer was because the older I got, the more I valued my inner child.
I’ll elaborate more on that, but I feel a little background about myself as a boy is necessary here.
When I Was a Young Warthog
You see, when I was a young boy, I was attracted to characters who possessed immense power and used them selflessly for the benefit of others. They did not ask for anything in return and they just did what they did because they believed it was the right thing to do.
They were heroes, and like almost all young children, I loved my heroes.
Superman, Luke Skywalker, He-Man, Spider-Man, you name them, I did not just like them, I loved them. They were my guiding light on right and wrong.
I first “met” Captain Marvel in Adventures of Superman #442,
where he made an appearance to assist Superman and the Justice League in the fight against Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught.
In that issue, he arrives as Billy Batson, but yells, “Shazam!” and gets struck by lightning to transform into an adult Superman-level superhero.
Captain Marvel was the He-Man version of Superman, which, to my young mind, was a novelty.
Here, in Captain Marvel, I’d discover a character whose powers and moral center was as good, if not better than Superman’s, but he also had something that Superman did not: His secret identity was a young boy – just like I was.
The idea of that rocked my young mind.
I was well on my way to becoming a full-fledged fan of Captain Marvel at that point, right? Well, no. Despite my newfound fondness for Captain Marvel, Superman remained my favorite throughout my childhood.
As a result, the majority of my comics collection centered around him and my other favorites.
Still, I was an avid reader and I liked Captain Marvel, so I also picked up Power of Shazam when I could, because how could I not?
Captain Marvel just had charm.
Then something funny happened; I started high school and I stopped reading and buying comics.
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