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From Marvel to Marbles to Mar-Vell to Ms.: The Crazy History of Captain Marvel

Captian Marvel

captain marvel

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The early audience reviews for the new Captain Marvel film were not very good. In fact, they pretty much trashed the movie. The problem was, those reviews came out before the film was even released, trolling fueled by… who even knows anymore? Something to do with the character suddenly being a woman, right? We live in weird times.

Once the movie finally hit theaters, critics and fans agreed it actually was pretty darn good and lots of fun. The retro ‘90s theme was a hit with audiences (just wait til Wonder Woman’s 1984 era movie comes out!), and Brie Larson nails the performance. So in the end, she triumphed.

captain marvelBut, come to think of it, when did Captain Marvel become a woman? Wasn’t she a guy in a live action TV show back in the ‘70s? He drove around the country in a Winnebago with a kid and guy who looked like a cross between Pat Morita and Stan Lee, right? Turns out this superhero has a way more convoluted backstory than you may have remembered.

captain marvelOf course it makes sense that Captain Marvel would have been created in 1967 by Stan Lee of…. wait for it… MARVEL Comics. Except, the character was actually named “Captain Mar-Vell” because the “Captain Marvel” name was already taken by another comic book publisher. A publisher that had been defunct for a decade and a half. Oh, and Captain Marvel was a man back then, so your memory is correct. Partly anyway.

See, there was an earlier character named “Captain Marvel” who appeared in various titles from Fawcett Comics from 1940 to 1953. That early date puts him right on par with the earliest superheroes, such as Batman, Superman, and Captain America, who first arrived in the late 1930s and early ’40s. And that was the start of his problems.

captain marvel

Nothing at all similar between these two comics, right?

Fawcett unfortunately went out of business in 1953 after a copyright infringement suit involving the character. Not from Marvel, but from National Comics. Apparently they felt this caped, flying strongman was a little too similar to their character Superman. Wait, what? Yep, DC Comics was actually known as National Comics back then and sued over a character named after another comic book company that actually had yet to be named similarly to that character, but who subsequently named their new character after themselves. Did I mention this stuff is convoluted?

captain marvel hoppyBefore the lawsuit was settled, Fawcett really hunkered down on the character, creating Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, Grandpa Marvel, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. (One of those characters I just made up. If you guessed Grandpa Marvel, you are correct. Yep, Hoppy actually existed. And I thought we were living in weird times today…)

Meanwhile, in 1953, issue #4 of MAD ran the story of Superduperman, featuring a nod to his lawsuit against Captain Marbles. MAD would of course eventually become part of the DC empire. (I am not making any of this up so far, aside from Grandpa Marvel. Seriously.)

captain marvelSpeaking of DC, they eventually acquired the rights to Fawcett’s Captain Marvel character and decided he had a lot of potential to expand the brand. Of course, with that name, he would be likely expanding the brand of their biggest competitor, so they gave him a new backstory and a catchy new title (but not a new name). The first issue of Shazam! was released by DC in 1973, complete with the subtitle, “The Original Captain Marvel.” So, naturally, there was another lawsuit. The producers of Gomer Pyle USMC sued over the “Shazam” catchphrase (okay, I made that up too, but honestly, at this point, it sounded believable, right?). No, of course it was Marvel Comics who sued DC over the name and the character. So the tagline was changed to “The World’s Mightiest Mortal.” And by the time it hit TV, people just kind of assumed that “Shazam” was the character’s name.

Got all that? Okay, back to Captain Marvel. The one from Marvel. The one named “Mar-Vell.” The one from the new movie. Yeah, her. Him. Let’s go back in time a bit… Captain Mar-Vell, a flying alien superhero from another planet (man, that sounds familiar), took off on his own in the late ‘60s. Turns out he shared molecules with a kid named Rick Jones, and only one could exist in the world at a time, so they flip-flopped between the two identities. If that sounds familiar (it probably doesn’t but…) that was almost word for word the origin story of the original Fawcett character.

captain marvel

Ironically, while DC’s Shazam! was becoming popular with comic fans and TV viewers, readers didn’t really dig Marvel’s Marvel, so the character was killed off in the 1970s. And then revived several times since, as various male and female characters, most with the last name “Vell.” At one point he was resurrected long enough to die again in an explosion where his DNA was mixed with his cohort, USAF Officer Carol Danvers. So Danvers acquired super powers and of course became… Ms. Marvel. And then she eventually just took on the Captain Marvel name. At various times over the last couple of decades Ms./Captain Marvel has starred in her own standalone comics, made guest appearances in other stories, and has been part of the Avengers. So if you’ve been paying attention and weren’t confused by everything that happened before, all of this should make sense.

captain marvel

So yeah, now there’s a Captain Marvel movie, and the character is a woman, and it’s a pretty dang good movie, and you should see it despite what the trolls tried to tell you. And you’re going to love her cat Goose.

captain marvel

By the way, DC is releasing a Shazam! movie later this year. It looks like a fun, goofy, good time at the cinema. No word on whether he’s called “Captain Marvel” anytime in the flick. Let’s hope not. That could get confusing.

Always After Me St. Patrick’s Day Collectibles!

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We’ve come to that time of year when everyone claims to be at least a tiny bit Irish, so this is as good a time as ever to look a St. Patrick’s Day Collectibles. There are a surprising number of them in the hobbyDB database, certainly more than the 1 percent or so of Irish heritage that most folks claim to justify participating in the holiday. In honor of that small percentage, some of these are only slightly related to the holiday.

st patrick's day pinsIf you’re a fan of Hard Rock Cafe, you know they’ve been producing limited edition pins for all occasions and locations for years. How many? We have over 80 thousand of them in our database. And yep, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular occasion there. Of all those pins, over 1,500 celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

st patrick's day Hot WheelsHot Wheels has offered limited edition vehicles for various holidays for several years now, with St. Paddy’s Day as one of the celebrated dates. At one point, the day got its own series of Clover Cars, but more recently, they have released a single car for a variety of holidays. Of course, one of their early Redline models was the Paddy Wagon, which deserves its own spot here. (And yes, it was available in green!)

st patrick's day fighting irishFor something bigger, check out the Fighting Irish Camaro funny car from Auto World. This 1/18 scale flopper takes you back to a time when dragsters had clover… er, clever names instead of just a big sponsor decal. You can also get one from them in slot car form.

Let’s get something straight here… Clovers and shamrocks are not the same thing. Well, they sort of are… Clovers have three leaves, Shamrocks are a kind of clover, but leaf count doesn’t matter. Wait, come back!

st patrick's day lucky charmsWhat better way to kick off the day than with a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal? Lucky, the appropriately named spokesleprechaun, has been immortalized several collectible ways. He’s a Funko Pop figure, a bobblehead, and the subject of various Hot Wheels cars over the years.

st patrick's day celtics popSpeaking of Lucky the Leprechaun, did you know that’s also the name of the Boston Celtics’ mascot? Several modern era Celtics are available in Pop form, but the real legends of the team like Larry Bird have not received that treatment yet. There are plenty of other collectibles related to them, however.

st patrick's day railwayFor railroad fans, check out this Bachmann Irish Railway set. It might not be based on an actual railroad, however. On the other hand, a model company called Irish Railway Models does in fact make a more plausible set of rolling stock.

 st patrick's day pins danicaA quick search of “Patrick” minus the “Saint” bit will turn up a lot of items related to Patricks Danica, Butch, and Star. Sure, this is all pretty peripheral, but not entirely irrelevant. Danica did drive a green car much of her career, so let’s go with it.

However you choose to celebrate, just feel lucky that that are so many collectibles out there for this day.

Do you have a favorite St. Patrick’s Day collectible we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!

hobbyDB recognized as the most reliable Funko pricing resource

As many of you know, pricing is at the core of what we do. Providing trending values to people who collect all sorts of items from different fandoms is a passion of ours, as we know how important it is to understand the value of one’s collection. It is for that very reason that we are very excited to announce that Funko has recognized hobbyDB as the most trusted resource when it comes to providing estimated values to their community.

 

Through their all-new app experience, you’ll notice that all value estimates are provided by our Funko-focused brand, Pop Price Guide (or in short PPG).

The hobbyDB team will continue to make estimated values a top priority and are excited to announce more collectible brand partnerships in the coming months (stay tuned to our blog for announcements). Please read the Official Release about the Funko app here and about our approach to building the best price guide possible here.

Pops! For Patients and hobbyDB Team Up to Provide Toys to Kids in Hospitals

popsforpatients

Randy Lee and Krysten Barrera founded POPS! for Patients after their own kids had extended stays in hospitals.

Sometimes you need a little fun to pop into your life to brighten your day. Especially if you’re a child spending a lot of time in the hospital.

That’s what Randy Lee, Co-Founder of POPS! For Patients, figured when he and fellow Co-Founder, Krysten Barrera, came up with the idea for their toy donation cause.  Lee and Barrera had the experience of seeing their own children struggle during extended hospital stays. “We both personally know how sad it is to be stuck in the hospital, so we decided to give back and bring joy to kids in the form of POPS!” he said. “I helped my good friend and fellow P4P team member, Dustin Taylor, with a Toys For Tots benefit show in honor of his son several years ago. It was a great success so I felt extremely confident going into this that we could succeed.”

popsforpatientsSince August of 2016, they have donated almost 10,000 Pop! figures. That’s ten… thousand in two years! The two had been donating by themselves for a few months before going public with the idea.

Why Funko Pop! figures, specifically? Kids love them, of course. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out Lee is an avid fan and collector of the toys. He doesn’t accumulate them for himself quite as much lately, however. “I’ve been collecting for three years but recently slowed down significantly to focus on having the necessary funds required to attend all of the shows and events we are being invited to lately,” he said. “It’s a trade-off I’m happy to make!”

The toys currently go to whichever hospital the teams in any specific area collect for. “We have hubs all across the world including ones in San Diego, Colorado, New York, Canada, and Brazil. to name a few. And more coming soon!” The Colorado connection has just been strengthened courtesy of hobbyDB. When Rodney Porter from Appleseed Collectibles talked about P4P (as they sometimes refer to), Christian of hobbyDB felt a kindred spirit. “As collectors, we try to avoid growing up sometimes,” he believes. “But it is important to act grown up. What Randy and his team do is fantastic, and we wanted to help by doing what we do best.” So to that end, the two organizations found a way to be a partner in POPS!

popsforpatients

Kayla Fuller, of WVLT, Knoxville, joined Krysten Barrera  and Randy Lee to distribute Pop! figures at a hospital in Tennessee.

hobbyDB, a website concerning anything and everything collectible, including vinyl art toys, is a natural fit for such an endeavor. It’s an ever-growing database of every variant of any given toy or collectible, as well as a marketplace for folks to buy and sell. And Pop! figures are a huge part of that model.

“We are so excited about the idea of a private seller-fueled Funko Pop! marketplace that will result in POP! donations. It’s a no-brainer partnership” Here’s how it works: If you’re shopping for POP! figures on hobbyDB, you can visit the POPS! For Patients Marketplace, and part of the proceeds from any purchase will go towards buying figures for the P4P program. It won’t cost you anything extra…. just shop for Pops!

popsforpatients

According to Lee, there are other ways to help out as well. You can send them POP! figures in the mail to distribute at two different children’s hospitals in Tennessee. If you want to donate figures directly, they do have a few rules: The characters must be kid-friendly (Sorry, Pennywise, even if you are a clown), and they must be in sealed boxes (for sanitary reasons, not for collector value). Other Funko lines such as Dorbz and Wacky Wobblers are fine as well, as long as they meet these criteria.

popsforpatients

Knoxville’s Tall Man Toys & Comics and Lexington’s Heroes Realm teamed up to support P4P.

You can also form a team in your area to help them spread the cheer. Details of all the ways you can help are available on their website at www.popsforpatients.org. The P4P team also encourages you to get involved and support your own local Children’s Hospital. They can be contacted at PopsForPatients@gmail.com.

Halloween Means Thrills! Chills! Collectibles!

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Aside from Christmas, there’s no holiday that inspires decor, commemoratives, and good ol’ limited edition fun as much as Halloween. As the holiday rapidly approaches, we thought it would be a good time to look at some of our favorite Halloween collectibles.

nightmare before christmasFirst of all, a question… is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie, or a Christmas movie? Or should you just watch it every night for two months straight between both holidays? Regardless, there are so many great characters to base collectibles on. Nearly 25 years after its theatrical release, the Tim Burton stop motion masterpiece has only grown in legend, and more items pop up every year. This sculpture of Zero and his dog house is pretty neat.

funko ghostbustersOddly enough, many horror movies have become associated with Halloween, even though the vast majority of them have nothing to do with the holiday. “Ghostbusters,” more comedy than horror actually, has become another favorite movie that embodies the fun of Halloween. There is no shortage of collectibles from the classic 1984 movie (as well as its sequel, the 2016 remake, and the cartoons).

halloween chip n daleIn fact, Halloween has an interesting distinction for fans in that anything gothic, spooky, scary, or macabre fits in. It doesn’t matter if they are officially part of the holiday or not. Heck, you can take any popular characters such as Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale,  put them in vampire garb, insert them into a jack-o’-lantern, and presto… instant Halloween collectible!

hallmark great pumpkin peanutsSnoopy and the Peanuts gang hold a special place in Halloween lore ever since their 1966 animated special introduced the world to Linus and his story of The Great Pumpkin. This 1996 Hallmark Keepsake set includes everything you need for a good time except the Dolly Madison snack cakes.

labbit skeleton hello kittySkeletons are always a popular Halloween theme, even though they’re everywhere year ’round. (Here’s a fun joke to play on little kids… ask in a scary voice, “Do you know where you can find a skeleton? INSIDE YOUR OWN BODY! Bwahahaha!” Never gets old!) Apparently Kidrobot’s Labbits have skeletons. Slightly less scary is this Hello Kitty skeleton figure from Funko.

lego skeletonLego has also done minifig skeletons a couple different ways. One version that came with various building sets has a bony, hollow structure, while the other version, sold by itself in blind packs, has a more traditional costume look.

tin wizard harold maude hearseHearses are used year ’round in the real world, too, but if you park one in front of your house the rest of the year, people look at you kinda funny. But in October? No sweat. There are lots of miniature hearses out there to collect, by the way. Just in case your HOA frowns displaying the real thing. (By the way, Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters’ car, is an ambulance, not a hearse.)

halloween hot wheelsSpeaking of driveable collectibles, Hot Wheels has commemorated various holidays over the years with limited edition cars. After Christmas, Halloween is probably the most popular among these series. 2017 is no exception, featuring cars with special skull-themed wheels.

liberty promotions halloween drag busFor something even more limited, Liberty Promotions has offered yearly, low production Drag Bus models for Halloween and other holidays, along with Chase versions.

kfc colonel sanders maskYou like zombies? Kentucky Fried Chicken’s recent ad campaign features multiple actors doing off kilter impressions of the Colonel Sanders , making KFC a pop culture phenomenon. Now you can add your own take on the long-deceased company founder and spokescharacter with this Halloween Harland costume. It was available very briefly on the KFC website this before selling out.

Regardless of your age, Halloween is a fun holiday, and there are collectibles of all kinds to enjoy throughout October or year ’round if you dare.

Do you have a favorite Halloween collectible? Tell us about it in the comments and add it to the hobbyDB database if it’s not already there!