There have been nearly a dozen characters named Captain Marvel in the last seventy-five years of comics, but only one of them has headlined the best-selling comics franchises of a decade, and, indeed, one of the best-selling series of all time. And guess what? It wasn't the one who could make his arms and legs fall off.
The very first of these Captains Marvel debuted on this day in 1939, in Fawcett Comics' Whiz Comics #2, which was, somewhat counter-intuitively, actually the first issue of that series. The character was originally named Captain Thunder, but someone else already held that trademark. And so, in a story by Bill Parker with art by CC Beck — who would go on to become the defining artistic voice for the character — and with some hastily re-lettered word balloons reflecting the last minute name change, Captain Marvel zoomed toward his destiny in the last days of 1939 (issue cover dated Feb. 1940).