Golden Pulp

Capt. Marvel and the Ghost of the Deep

Captain Marvel

In response to the popularity of Superman and Batman, Fawcett Comics introduced Captain Thunder in the 1939 issue of Flash Comics #1. The issue was an ashcan copy, a term for low-print runs whose purpose was not sales but to establish a trademark claim for legal purposes. Due to trademark infringements with another established character, Captain Thunder became Captain Marvelous and later Captain Marvel. Flash Comics became Whiz Comics (also due to trademark issues.)

Captain Marvel's alter ego was a 12-year old radio reporter named Billy Batson, a copy of Superman's alter ego, reporter Clark Kent, but younger to appeal to adolescent readers. Billy Batson's name was partially based on the nickname given to Fawcett Publication's founder Wilford Fawcett — "Captain Billy".

Billy Batson makes his transformation in Captain Marvel by speaking the word Shazam!, an acronymn of the six powers possessed by heroes of the ancient world: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.