The Many Keys of Captain Marvel

Seasoned comic collectors and new Carol Danvers fans alike are probably hunting round for comic books highlights right now. There are few characters with as messy a history as Carol.

She was empowered by contact with the original Captain Marvel (the original in Marvel not the original in comics - that story is even messier), the Kree warrior Mar-Vell. She became the first Ms. Marvel in the 1970’s; with two very questionable costumes considering that she was one of Marvel’s responses to the feminist movement. Then there was the disturbing Marcus rape/ impregnation story during her bronze age Avengers years. That time when Rogue absorbed her powers and memories which led to name/costume/powers changes, alcoholism and eventual recovery. Oh, and we found out during House of M that her greatest wish was to be earth’s mightiest hero, something that Scarlet Witch presumably made a reality because of the guilt she still felt for failing Carol during the Marcus era.

Finally she got a great costume design and became the third Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau was the second).

In terms of reading material for Captain Marvel fans, there are lots of places to go. If you are completely new to the comics, and don’t want to spend crazy money, then one of our True Believers packs is a great way to go.

If you coming from a more serious collector’s angle here are the keys:

Marvel Super Heroes #13 (1968) – 1st Appearance of Carol Danvers

Ms Marvel #1 (1977) – 1st Appearance of Ms Marvel

Ms Marvel #18 (1978) – 1st Appearance of Mystique

Uncanny X-Men #164 (1982) – 1st Appearance of Carol as Binary

Avengers #4 (1998) – 1st Appearance of Carol as Warbird

Avenging Spider-Man #9 (2012) – 1st Appearance of Carol as Captain Marvel. This is the one I find most questionable. Captain Marvel #1 (2012) came out in the same month but hit the shelves a week after the Spidey comic. I would argue that CM #1 has the conversation where Captain America convinces Carol that, along with her new costume, she really should take up her rightful mantle from Mar-Vell. This is the real first appearance and seems a lot more relevant than a tiny shipping delay. I am guessing some comic seller with too much influence, a big pile of Avenging Spidey #9 and a direct line to a certain slabbing company, made this dubious dent on the market.

Captain Marvel #14 (2013) – 1st Appearance of Kamala Khan

If you are coming to comics purely from watching the movie, do remember, the MCU simplifies most characters stories and changes various names and elements.

The Life of Captain Marvel #1-5 (2018) series by Stohl, Pacheco, Fonteriz and Sauvage is definitely a story we would recommend to any Carol Danvers fan. It is a good character driven story that also serves to enrich Carol’s comic book origin and history.