Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Books to Watch: Captain Marvel Adventures #22 (1943)

I have a couple of Golden Age picks and a Bronze pick coming up.  First is Captain Marvel Adventures #22 from 1943, the first appearance of the Monster Society of Evil.

This article assumes that the Shazam film franchise due to begin in 2019 will be a success, spawning sequels, with characters crossing over into a wider DC film universe.  If you even slightly agree, begin speculating now.  If you don't, take a "wait-and-see" approach.

The most important Shazam key is obviously the first appearance of Captain Marvel himself, Whiz Comics #2 (#1).  Prospects for that book are beyond the scope of this article.  There are many, many other nice Fawcett keys to speculate on, given that Fawcett books have always been slow sellers and relatively cheap.  For decades, the interest in these books has paled in comparison to the interest in Marvel and DC.

The number one Captain Marvel antagonist is Dr. Sivana.  Given that he first appears in the aforementioned Whiz Comics #2 (#1) and that he does not have a huge modern fan base, we will move on.  The second most important antagonist is Black Adam, who first appeared in 1945's Marvel Family #1, and who of course is to be played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  The Rock famously teased audiences for more than a year about which character he would be portraying.  To me Black Adam was the clear choice, and I purchased a couple of copies before The Rock's official confirmation.  One I sold for four times my cost, and the other for 10 times.  Had this blog existed at that time, I would have mentioned this book, but today I have another in mind.

The number 3 antagonist for Captain Marvel, in my opinion, is the Monster Society of Evil, first appearing in 1943's Captain Marvel Adventures #22.  In that issue, a long serial started that ran for 22 issues, which features the first appearance of another major Shazam villain, Mr. Mind.  Mr. Mind is an alien worm and only his voice was heard in #22, but it is quite significant nonetheless.  Moreso when you consider his first "real" appearance (#26) he appears in only one panel.

This is a relatively cheap book and I have seen perhaps 15 copies of it for sale in the past year.  For many years in the 1940s, Captain Marvel in his various magazines was the best selling superhero.  CM #22 is more common than you might think so do not be put off by its age.  This book is 52 pages and was manufactured with only one staple, so be sure to check listings for mention of detached staples and loose centerfolds.  There was also a cut-out printed on the back cover and I have seen this missing in several cases.  

Some people say this is the first group of supervillains in comics to consist of characters a hero previously faced.  See here for an interesting and informative analysis of this claim.  Suffice it to say that the Monster Society of Evil is at least among the first supervillain group in comics, in addition to the longest lasting.

Read the story here:

Thanks for reading!  Please drop us a line at team@heronext.com if you have an idea for a book you'd like to see profiled.