From Carol Danvers to Ms. Marvel Before Captain Marvel
As I've always said and believed, comic collecting and fandom is not just a boys club. Maybe it really never was, but if so, it isn't anymore. No one can deny the rise in female interest in comic books, or should I say, female comic fans being more open about it?
No doubt that comic book movies are bringing in all sorts of fans to the comic collecting hobby, and no matter what it was like before, interest in female comic characters are heating up. The Wonder Woman movie was an absolute game changer, and it is still the only successful female led comic movie to date.
However, the Captain Marvel movie, staring Brie Larsen, is Marvel's follow up to female super-heroes conquering the big screen or, at least, continuing the successful wave for them to star in big budget comic flicks. As a comic fan, I love the renewed interest and the new interest.
So, for all you fellow comic fanatics who are interested in learning more about this character from the actual comics before she hits the big screen, this is for you. Well, for me as well since I do like the character, so let's yap about Carol Danvers' humble beginnings as a supporting character to when she eventually stars in her own comic series as Ms. Marvel first.
This series of articles will eventually lead all the way to her becoming Captain Marvel.
Carol Danvers was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan and was initially a supporting character for the original Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. She debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 as a former United States Air Force Officer and former CIA agent.
Even in her earlier years as a comic character, Carol Danvers defied stereo-types. As an Air Force officer, she was an ace fighter pilot and was a former CIA agent before she became head of security at the headquarters of NASA in Cape Canaveral. It is there she meets a one Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of the alien Kree agent named Mar-Vell. This super agent named Mar-Vell was secretly Captain Marvel and Danvers would share in his adventures.
Debut of Carol Danvers in Marvel Super-Heroes #13
Carol Danvers Becomes Ms. Marvel
While it was Roy Thomas and Gene Colan who originally created Carol Danvers as a non-powered supporting character for Marvel's Captain Marvel, it became evident that she could star in her own comic series as a super-hero herself. This time it would be Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin who plotted the blonde bombshell's path to becoming Ms. Marvel.
From the mid to late seventies, things were changing for females in America. They were becoming more empowered and liberated. Much like how William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth wanted the character of Wonder Woman to represent modern, liberated women some thirty-six or so years earlier, Marvel Comics during the later seventies wanted to do the same. Thus, Carol Danvers finally appeared as a female powered super-hero in her own titled series called Ms. Marvel.
Yes, she was the female spin-off of Captain Marvel and her debut as a super-powered being did not explain how she went from ordinary to super. Her origin as a super-hero was explained in the very next issue, and it referenced an event that happened in Captain Marvel #18.
The Origin of Ms. Marvel
As mentioned in the photo caption above, Captain Marvel #18 shows the event of Carol Danvers getting her powers but it does not explain how. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean, the event in Captain Marvel #18 does not reveal that the event actually gave her any powers.
Here's the event shown below:
In the story, that explosion is from a machine called a "Psyche-Magnetron", which is named in the very issue of Captain Marvel #18 (1969). The main villain of the issue, Yon-Rogg, mentions that the machine produces a "glow" that will give one who stands in it great or ultimate power.
As mentioned before, the machine blows up in the story and no mention of what happened except that "Carol Danvers will live" is mentioned. Nothing is revealed about that explosion until issue #2 of Ms. Marvel, which came out in 1977.
Panels below are from Ms. Marvel #2 and explains her origin of how that event first seen in Captain Marvel #18 gave her the powers to become Ms. Marvel.
The split personality or memory loss would be part of the Ms. Marvel character in her early comic career. Not sure when they got rid of that deal.
The All-New Ms. Marvel
Like most characters, Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel got a new costume. This costume is actually her more iconic look and became a fan favorite look for the character.
Although the title states "The All-New Ms. Marvel" and even though sources say this is the first time she is seen in this costume, it is actually not. For some odd reason, she appears in this costume prior and in The Defenders #62 (Cover Date: August, 1978.)
Ms. Marvel #20 is cover dated October, 1978. Screen shots are from Mike's Amazing World of Comics and they have the Library of Congress copyright date information. They also have the newsstand date according to Comic Reader.
Ms. Marvel in The Defenders #62
The odd thing is that The Avengers #175 has the cover date of September, 1978 and the on sale date of June 27th (Comic Reader #157). With the on sale date of May 16th, The Defenders #62 came out before The Avengers #175, but the later shows Ms. Marvel in her prior costume.
Anyway, what is clear is that The Defenders #62 has the debut of Ms. Marvel in her iconic black costumed look. She would retake that look again, but we are getting ahead of ourselves a tad here.
Ms. Marvel Joins the Avengers
Here is a very over-looked Carol Danvers key issue. Well, maybe a Ms. Marvel key comic also? Carol Danvers is a known Avenger, and we all know that Carol Danvers will be in the MCU and will most likely be included in part two of the Avengers Infinity War movie.
In the actual and wonderful comics, Carol Danvers first joins the Avengers as Ms. Marvel and not as Captain Marvel. Good to know, right? The above photo is the wonderful cover to Avengers #183 by George Perez and Terry Austin.
Carol Danvers Loses Her Powers as Ms. Marvel
Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel did not have a long running comic series. It only lasted 23 issues, and issue #25 was originally suppose to debut the X-Men character of Rogue. If you do not know, Rogue is deeply tied to Ms. Marvel in the comics as she apparently stole her powers and part of her psyche.
However, Ms. Marvel #25 never happened since the series was cancelled with issue #23 so the event of Rogue stealing Ms. Marvel's powers and psyche was never shown at the time. Instead, Carol Danvers' last appearance as Ms. Marvel during the 80s took place in the highly controversial Avengers #200, which has been dubbed the "Rape of Ms. Marvel" since she is pregnant by a character named Marcus without even knowing and gives birth in that issue. Their child would grow into another version of Marcus and he and Ms. Marvel would leave the Avengers and follow Marcus into Limbo at the end of that issue. Yes, it's a weird one.
Claremont undid this in Carol Danvers' next appearance around a year later in Avengers Annual #10, which saw Carol Danvers return to Earth in her human form. It is not shown but told that Rogue had attacked her and permanently stole her powers and memories, and the fan-favorite Rogue ended up debuting in Avengers Annual #10. It's revealed in that issue that Professor X restores Carol Danvers' memories and she has a falling out with the Avengers since they failed to realize that Marcus had brainwashed her.
Therefore, Carol Danvers would follow the X-Men and become a supporting character for the popular comic about Marvel's mutants.
Carol Danvers Super-Powered Again?
Even though Rogue had stolen Carol Danvers' Ms. Marvel powers and even her psyche, this does not mean that Carol would not be a powered character during the 80s. In fact, the character's tenure in the X-Men comics would see her venture off into space during one adventure and meet an alien race known as the Brood.
This would lead her to become another super-powered being. That will be covered in the next article of this series and you can click the link Carol Danvers from Binary to Warbird to check that out.
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