Elvis was a superhero: the inspiration was Captain Marvel Jr.

Elvis was a superhero: the inspiration was Captain Marvel Jr.

Elvis was a superhero

Icon, myth, King, rock pioneer, federal agent, martial arts enthusiast (other incredible stories that deserve to be told). Elvis was all this but not only that, Elvis was also a superhero. Elvis' looks and outfits have become iconic and have inspired entire generations of fans in both cinema and music and more generally in pop culture and one of the most iconic of his looks, that of the period of jumpsuits with cloaks, reveals Elvis' incredible passion and admiration for Shazam! and specifically for Captain Marvel Jr., the shoulder of the magical hero of DC.

In the attic of Graceland, the residence / museum of Elvis in Memphis (Tennessee), the personal collection of the King is still jealously guarded of Captain Marvel Jr. comics while in his birthplace in Lauderdale Courts, also the one turned into a museum, on his desk there is even an original copy of Captain Marvel Jr. # 51 (1947) reminding patrons how much Elvis loved the character .

Elvis was a superhero

Elvis was a superhero: the inspiration was Captain Marvel Jr.

Who are Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Shazam? The incredible connection between Elvis and Captain Marvel Jr. About Elvis, Baz Luhrmann's biopic

Who are Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Shazam?

In February 1940, at the height of the rise of the superhero comic phenomenon, Fawcett Comics began releasing a new character: Captain Marvel. Created by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker, the series defeated the competition in a few months (at one point even touching 1 million and 300 thousand copies sold, double Batman!) And unseating Superman to the top of the sales and popularity charts of young readers. The reasons for the success were many: the rounder and more captivating drawing style compared to the standards of the time, the mix of action and humor, of everyday life and heroic plots but above all the presence of a first child hero (in which everyone could identify) and then adult.

As seen also in the recent film adaptation, Billy Batson is an orphan who is chosen by the wizard Shazam as his champion of good. By pronouncing the magician's name aloud, Billy transforms himself into Captain Marvel or "the most powerful mortal on Earth" and endowed with the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury (hence the acronym Shazam). Like some of his peers at the time, Captain Marvel also featured a costume visa: red and gold, with a large lightning bolt across the chest and a cape.

In 1941, thanks to the success of Formaggione (The Big Red Cheese in English) as it was nicknamed Captain Marvel, the writer Ed Herron proposed to the publishing house to expand the publications, bringing the narrative premises of the series to the extreme consequences . Captain Marvel Jr was born: young Freddie Freeman is rescued by Captain Marvel after a Captain Nazi attack that leaves him dying. Even if the doctors seem to be unable to do anything, Marvel brings the little patient in the presence of the Wizard who reveals to him that it is possible to save him by giving him a portion of his powers. Compared to Billy, Freddie sports a very similar but electric blue costume. | ); }

Elvis was a superhero The success was just as resounding also because he is the first teenage hero ever in the history of super hero comics. In fact, in his transformation Freddie does not become an adult but remains a teenager, a peculiarity that will attract the attention and curiosity of millions of young readers including Elvis. The King's personal collection should in fact contain Captain Marvel # 77-119 (those that little Elvis had probably read) which is the period of greatest creative and commercial prominence of the character.

In 1952, however, DC took action against Fawcett a plagiarism lawsuit claiming that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. With superheroes kicking off post-WWII at their first slow decline, Fawcett ceased publishing. The lawsuit was resolved many years later, clearly in favor of DC power, which, however, could no longer use the Captain Marvel name on the cover, recorded in the meantime by Marvel Comics, then definitively dismissing the name in favor of Shazam !. Another legend concerning Captain Marvel and Elvis is linked precisely to this lawsuit: it is said that at one point the King asked for news of the hero of his childhood trying to take over his rights, an operation which apparently did not succeed. br>

The incredible connection between Elvis and Captain Marvel Jr.

There is no doubt, however, that the idea of ​​the heroic alter-ego, founding in the superhero narrative, had piqued Elvis' imagination in different forms during the career of he. If we hazard an analysis, Elvis saw in Freddie Freeman perhaps his humble origins and in Captain Marvel Jr. what he could become and actually became, that is, a hero capable of attracting attention and involving and cheering millions of people with his music and his shows. people.

But how much of Captain Marvel Jr. actually influenced Elvis' look? Officially little. Neither Elvis nor his costume designer Bill Belew have ever mentioned the hero directly, indeed Elvis himself has repeatedly denied that his forelock was inspired by that of Marvel Jr. or Superman, citing his colleague Tony Curtis instead. What is known for sure is that Elvis often proposed ideas to his costume designer who was then practically elaborating them: one above all the idea of ​​replacing the fringes of his first jumpsuits with hoods and cloaks.

Elvis was a superhero There are specifically two Elvis outfits that seem to be evidently inspired by the Captain Marvel Jr. costume, the so-called Blue Owl Suit (renamed so for the presence of an owl on the belt). These are two identical overalls characterized by a large belt and a showy cape: the first is exhibited at Graceland and is purple, the second, blue (a decidedly "suspicious" color) is what the King wears in Elvis on Tour, the concert film recorded April 14, 1972 in Greensboro (North Carolina). Many of the jumpsuits used by Elvis since 1972 also included, as an accessory, a scarf, usually white that the King "lost" during the performance. The scarf was one of the distinctive elements of Freedie Freeman that Elvis seems to have incorporated in a sort of transformation on stage then.

Elvis was a superhero But not just the costume and the jumpsuits. Even the logo of Elvis the TCB Band implements elements that evidently refer to the imagination of Captain Marvel, one above all the lightning. As for the acronym instead, TCB stands for Taking Care of Business in a Flash (again the theme of lightning) and is a black expression typical of the Memphis area. Aretha Franklin also uses it in the text of her famous Respect of hers. Note how the logo has the most prominent C: that Elvis wanted to pay duty to Captain Marvel Jr.'s C?

Elvis was a superhero What happened, however, when the writers in DC turned Did they notice Elvis' passion for Captain Marvel Jr.? When the series is relaunched in the early 1970s with the title of Shazam! Earth's Mightiest Mortal, Freddie Freeman was revisited to look just like Elvis as this study of the character of the designer Dave Cockrum demonstrates:

Elvis was a superhero During the various relaunches implemented by the publishing house on characters of the so-called Marvel Family then, Freddie Freeman and Elvis will establish a nice metanarrative relationship. In the seminal 1996 graphic novel Kingdom Come, artist Alex Ross portrays Freddie Freeman as King Marvel or an Elvis directly from the 70s and his wife, Lady Marvel, with the features of Priscilla, Elvis's wife.

Elvis was a superhero In Teen Titans Vol. 3 # 23 (cover date June 2005) Geoff Johns and Mike McKone made the young Freddi Freeman a fan of Elvis enough to make him quote one of the favorite maxims of the Re: “Do what's right for you as long as you don't hurt no one” or, very freely, do what you feel is right for yourself until you harm anyone. Furthermore Freddie defines Elvis as the “greatest modern philosopher”.

Speaking of Elvis, Baz Luhrmann's biopic

Elvis is expected in Italian cinemas starting next May 25th. The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge) and the cast in addition to Austin Butler (Elvis Prestley) and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, also includes Helen Thomson as Elvis's mother, Gladys, Richard Roxburgh as Elvis' father Vernon, while Olivia DeJonge is Priscilla. Luke Bracey as Jerry Schilling, Natasha Bassett as Dixie Locke, David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lion, 300) as Hank Snow, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as BB King, Xavier Samuel as Scotty Moore and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dog Power) is Jimmie Rodgers Snow.

Here is the trailer:

Revisited in a cinematic way, the story of Elvis (Butler) is seen through the prism of a complicated relationship with the enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The film, as told by Parker, delves into the complex dynamics between the two over the 20-year span from the inception to fame of Presley, who reached an unprecedented level of stardom against the backdrop of an evolving cultural landscape that marks the loss of innocence in America. At the heart of this journey, one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis's life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

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