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The Mary Marvel Fan Club!

The Mary Marvel Shazam Fan Club by Von Allan

I have a soft spot for Mary Marvel and the rest of the entire Marvel Family. Plus that wonderful ol’ wizard Shazam! This illustration features two kids inspired by Mary Marvel and was loosely inspired by a story in the old 1970’s SHAZAM! series, specifically “The Haunted Clubhouse” in issue 13 by E. Nelson Bridwell and Bob Oksner.

For a bit more of my art featuring Mary, please visit https://www.vonallan.com/2022/09/mary-marvel-fanart.html.

That 1970’s series is an odd-duck. DC Comics had successfully purchased the old Fawcett Comics intellectual properties and attempted to relaunch Captain Marvel for a new era. It didn’t quite work and I’m not sure why. Legendary Captain Marvel artist C.C. Beck had been brought back to draw Cap’s new adventures, but left after ten issues over (as Wikipedia notes), “due to ‘creative differences’ regarding plotlines.” Writer Otto Binder would later remark in an issue of the FAWCETT COLLECTORS OF AMERICA fanzine (later republished in the FAWCETT COMPANION: THE BEST OF FCA) that he understood Beck’s point of view, noting “My opinion would be that the new stories are a little too whimsical, and downright silly at times. In the old days we treated Captain Marvel lightly with humor and satirical plots; but nevertheless we were quite serious about putting across Captain Marvel’s character, with Billy Batson as the actual main character. We took a great deal of care to keep them both in character, but that took endless discussions, while being immersed with the atmosphere of the times, all of which the new writers are missing I’m afraid. Hence, their attitude toward the Captain Marvel character is well out of character!”

Having read a number of these issues and compared them to the public domain Fawcett issues that “out there” on the internet, I think I can see what both Beck and Binder were alluding to. That said, I’m not sure what the two would have thought of Mary’s adventures. She wasn’t in that many issues of the 1970’s revival series and only featured a handful of times, but I did like the stories that she was in. They could have used more magic realism, though, something that I’d argue was a hallmark of Binder’s stories with Mary, at least in the pages of WOW COMICS.

All that said, I still really love Mary Marvel. She was (and is) a wonderful character, full of compassion, strength, joy, love, and courage. What more could anyone ask for in a hero?

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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