Sunday, June 29, 2014

Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #3/4 (April, 1940)

"One day, Billy Batson receives an anonymous news tip." The eccentric Professor Xerxes Smith was planning to launch a rocket ship to Venus from his home in Belair. Clearly not in access to the Wisdom of Solomon, Billy wants to join the trip, and has to pester the professor to get a ride. That's not to mention how, aside from his wildly bushy black beard, Professor Smith bore a remarkable resemblance to Captain Marvel's archfoe Sivana.

Thirty million miles later, the pair were attacked by a fuchsia Venusian dragon, prompting Billy to call "SHAZAM!" Did he do this from hiding or in plain sight, and how did he know Shazam's power even reached Venus? Worst answers apply. Next, a giant eagle dropped an egg loaded with vicious little monsters near Captain Marvel, so he uprooted a tree and literally swept the things away. Finally, gigantic frogs wearing dhoti and dunce caps sprang out of the forest to capture the Earthlings. They were taken to the veiled Empress of Venus, Queen Beautia, who was revealed to be in cahoots with the disguised Sivana. Captain Marvel was securely fastened to 50-ton weights by the frogs, marking one of the most obscure bondage fetishes known to man.

Beautia unveiled before Captain Marvel, hoping to make him her Emperor of America, but he refused through his incredible strength of chastity. The peeved Beautia climbed into Sivana's rocket for the seeming downgrade of conquering America (and as an afterthought, the rest of Earth,) leaving Marvel to be licked to death in the second weirdest fetish of the story. The power of Shazam finally allowed our boy to break free to beat up all his freaky captors. Finally, that Wisdom of Solomon kicked in, allowing Captain Marvel to design and build his own rocket and escape from an erupting volcano. Come to think of it, Venus is a really crappy planet, so no wonder Empress of America seemed a better deal. Captain Marvel nailed a perfect landing near the wreckage of Sivana's ship in suburban Belair, but his foes were nowhere to be found.

A week later, Billy Batson was covering the "Empress of Beauty" contest, and saw something that made his antennae twitch. Beautia entered and won the pageant with Sivana's coaching. After yet another letter demanding the immediate resignation of the President of the United States went unanswered, a furious Sivana tried to unleash a paralyzing gas to enslave "every man, woman and child" in the nation. Captain Marvel arrived in time to beat up the goons turning the solitary valve intended to meet this end, but in the confusion, Sivana and Beautia escaped. The "Empress of Beauty" trophy was left behind with a note attached that continued the flirtation with the blushing Captain Marvel.

The April, 1940 issue of Whiz Comics was numbered 3 on the cover, 4 in the indicia. "Make Way For Captain Marvel," was written by Bill Parker and drawn by C.C. Beck with Pete Costanza

Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Blue Beetle and Booster Gold Comicpalooza convention sketch by Nyssa Juneau

This is a detail from a "jam" piece involving many disparate artists and subjects. An unrelated image has been blacked out from this spotlight. Nice couple of figures for an excellent price that helped flesh things out. I especially like how she did Ted's goggles, a foreign interpretation that I appreciate.