Golden Age Comics: Captain Marvel or Superman?

While doing my recent profile on the Golden Age of Comics, I omitted a few key issues in order to keep it light. Still, there are some issues that are still worth mentioning, which I will do through profiles on this blog.

Golden Age Comics’ most popular Superhero

If you would ask someone to name one Golden Age Comics superhero, Superman would be far and away the top answer. Yet, in our minds we seem to have rewritten history, believing that Superman was always the most popular superhero of Golden Age Comics, it was not always the case. Captain Marvel is another creation of Golden Age Comics, and stories featuring this character were known to even outsell Superman’s publications.

Golden Age Comics
Captain Marvel Adventures from Fawcett Comics, Pencilled by the great Jack Kirby

Captain Marvel of Golden Age Comics

Captain Marvel made his debut in Whiz Comics #2, published by Fawcett Comics. He continued his adventures in his own title, Captain Marvel Adventures, penciled by the great Jack Kirby. Similarities between Captain Marvel did not go unnoticed, as DC Comics precursor National Comics sued Fawcett Comics for copy the likeness of the iconic superhero (and beginning a long history of lawsuits with superhero with “Marvel” in their name!).

Eventually, Fawcett Comics went through ups and downs in terms of sales, and their characters were eventually bought by DC Comics, allowing Captain Marvel to appear alongside his longtime “sales” rival Superman. Captain Marvel today is occasionally and confusingly called Shazam, as his titular comic takes the name of the magic word which transforms this superhero, rather than his own name, in part due to legal wranglings.

Who do you think represents Golden Age Comics the most: Superman or Marvelman?

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