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Ms. Marvel Gets Promoted to ‘Captain Marvel’ in New Series [Wondercon]

At Wondercon today, Marvel Comics announced that the Captain Marvel character is returning to comics, Ms. Marvel is getting a new costume, and the company will once again have a solo title starring a female character after months without one. And it was all the same announcement: Carol “Ms. Marvel” Danvers will become the new Captain Marvel in the pages of a brand-new Captain Marvel ongoing comic written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Dexter Soy.Marvel’s original Captain Marvel — who, yes, has the same codename as the DC hero who says “Shazam!” — was a Silver Age alien hero created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. He was around for almost 20 years, but is probably best-known for his death, having quite famously succumbed to cancer in the publisher’s first graphic novel, 1982′s The Death of Captain Marvel.

Carol Danvers began her fictional life as a supporting character in the first Captain’s adventures, eventually gaining a costume and powers similar to his, and getting her own book in 1977′s Ms. Marvel. Since then, she’s also gone by the names Binary and Warbird, and made the majority of her appearances in Avengers books. Since the Brian Michael Bendis-scripted era of the franchise began with 2004 storyline “Avengers: Disassembled,” Ms. Marvel has been a prominent member of the team and probably the publisher’s most prominent non-mutant female character, and recently starred in her own comic from 2006-2010, a series which lasted 50 issues, about twice as long as her original, late-70s book.

The history of the codename “Captain Marvel” is as long and over-complicated as just about any aspect of Marvel Comics history. After the first Cap’s death, the name was passed on to Monica Rambeau, a black woman with different powers and a different costume (who later changed her name to Photon and, later still, Pulsar). Then there was another male, alien version of the character, Genis-Vell, the third Captain Marvel. He starred alongside Marvel’s eternal freelance sidekick Rick Jones in a couple of series written by Peter David in the early-00s.

The name was also used briefly by Genis-Vell’s sister, Bendis’ version of the Grant Morrison/J.G. Jones-created Marvel Boy Noh-Varr, Danvers herself and a “Skrull sleeper agent” in Marvel’s 2008 fake-out Civil War spin-off miniseries, which was originally sold as the return of the original, dead-from-cancer version of the character.

The images released by Marvel released show Danvers in a new costume, one more directly tied to the red and black one worn by the first Captain Marvel, and bearing the golden, starburst icon from it. She’s also ditched her domino face mask, and gotten a pretty dramatic new haircut.

The new Captain Marvel, which debuts in July, will be Marvel’s first solo series starring a superheroine since X-23, which starred a teenage girl cloned from Wolverine, was cancelled late last year and was, at the time, Marvel’s last remaining female-starring title.

DeConnick has been writing shorter works for Marvel off and on over the last few years, with her most prominent work probably being her collaboration with Bendis on the Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm graphic novel and her critically acclaimed 2011 miniseries Osborn. Soy’s previous comic work includes the 2010 Peter Milligan-written, based-on-a-video-game series Army of Two.

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