News and updates to the Captain Marvel Culture project

Captain Marvel Culture

News and Updates

by Zorikh Lequidre 12/16/09 Happy holidays everyone!

Just in case you find yourself here, let me announce that I will no longer be using this page for announcements and updates. For that, go to the Captain Marvel Culture Yahoo Group and the Captain Marvel Culture blog.

I will leave this page up here, though , because there is good stuff that you might want to read.

And just a final update, Jolie Voltaire no longer exists. She was a performance persona created for someone whom I am no longer involved with, personally or professionally. It was great while it lasted, and I am proud of the work that we did (which you can see at, but we have each moved on.

5/7/07 My, where does the time go? You can, of course, get the latest reports in the world of Captain Marvel Culture "undigested" at the Captain Marvel Culture Yahoo Group and the Captain Marvel Culture blog

But just to bring you up to date, we have brought Ray Wyman, Jr. on board the project. Ray has written about comics for years, and brings his experience and intimate knowledge of the comic book industry to the team.

12/15/06 Well, it’s sure been a long time since my last update, and I’ve been promising one for a while, now, haven’t I?

Work on the book has slowed over that past year as other business has crept into my life. I am now living with my girlfriend and creative partner, Jolie Voltaire. Some of you may remember her as the one who wore the white Mary Marvel costume at the New York Comic Con back in February. Together we have been building a business that has nothing to do with Captain Marvel culture. If you are interested, start by checking out her website at

But things have been picking up lately. I am going to give the literary agents one more go-round. If I get no acceptances this time, we go straight to the publishers.

I recently found another amazing Captain Marvel connection. I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. See if you can follow me here…

In the first appearance of Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. do the “after you my dear Alphonse” routine. This routine originated in a newspaper comic strip called Alphonse and Gaston created by Frederick Burr Opper in 1901. The running, one-note joke of the strip was two over-polite Frenchmen who, by obsequiously begging the other to go first, would wind up the worse for it. This strip was the first comic strip property every to be turned into film, there being 4 shorts made in 1902-03. There was even a stage play written in 1912. Though the strip only lasted a decade, the shtick became ingrained in American culture, and, eventually made its way to England. “’After you, Claude,’ ‘No after you, Cecil’” was a routine in the popular wartime radio comedy show It’s That Man Again, and British pilots were known to quote it upon retuning from missions.

In 1924, the Marx brothers play I’ll Say She Is included the famous “Napoleon” scene in which Zeppo and Harpo played characters named Alphonse and Gaston. They did not imitate the “after you” routine here, though. That was saved for the film Duck Soup.

At the end of the war, playwright Dylan Thomas used the exchange in a conversation between two ghosts in the play Under Milkwood.

Game theorists use Alphonse and Gaston to describe a principle of a sort of game where there are two solutions, neither of which is the best solution.

“Alphonse and Gaston” has become a term to describe any deadlock, and has been used particularly in reporting certain diplomatic events in which extreme politeness or hesitancy has evoked Opper’s Frenchmen.

But the Captain Marvel connection is brought full circle in 1943 with Shirley Jackson’s short story After You My Dear Alphonse. The story told of a good-intentioned white woman who, on the occasion of her son bringing home a new friend, a black child, displayed an infuriatingly condescending attitude towards black people, offering food, sympathy and finally, old clothes to the friend, all the while the boy is describing how his family is actually quite comfortable.

This was written right at the time when the character Steamboat appeared as Billy Batson’s valet and pal in Captain Marvel comics from Fawcett Publications. Steamboat was an attempt to reach the black audience, but he was drawn with coal-black skin and big red lips that took up half his face. He was written with all the vocal characteristics and attitude of a Stepin Fetchit character.

This is an example of the condescending bigotry many good-hearted white people had at the time. This will be explored in greater detail in the book.

8/7/06 Captain Zorikh and the Captain Marvel Culture project were mentioned by name this week in this Comic Foundry article by Marcie Young.

7/13/06 There was a lot of hullabaloo a few months ago when it looked like the character known as "Hulkling" would become Marvel Comics' new Captain Marvel. This character was a gay teeneager, and the resultant debate about homosexuality in comics was all too predictable (some saying homosexuality is unnatural, others cheering the decision, others saying "enough with the gay super heroes, already," etc). It turns out this character is the son of Captain Mar-Vell and a Skrull princess and both of those alien races were fighting each other to bring him back to their respective empires. Well, that storyline has ended (Young Avengers #12) with an agreement that he would spend six months with the Kree, followed by six months with the Skrulls, with visitation to Earth, and then he would decide his allegiance. It looks like Hulkling will not take on the mantle of his father's name, after all.

However, a short feature at the end of the book shows a writer-artist team pitching a new character to Marvel Comics (the story takes place within the Marvel universe, and thus answers some of the questions we have all had about how Marvel Comics could exist in the Marvel universe). The character is names "The Masked Marvel" and his mightiest power was his "Atomic Punch." Why do we care? Back in the days of Fawcett Comics, the original Captain Marvel' had an Atomic Punch that he would use only when absolutely necessary.

4/3/06 This Big Apple Con had some success for the project. Although my work for the convention prevented me from doing any personal promotion, I did get about 20 names added to my mailing list by merely putting the sign-up sheet next to the poster and a stack of flyers. Mark Vogel (author of Hero Gets Girl, the biography of Kurt Schaffenberger, Jack C. Harris, who edited SHAZAM! during its World's Finest days, and Frank Miller, who had an interesting take on the World's Mightiest Mortal in The Dark Knight Strikes Back added their signatures to the poster. I also plugged the project at the costume contest, which I hosted with great success.

2/27/06 Well, the first New York Comic Con has come and gone. It was a big event for Captain Marvel Culture. Mark Farrish was a big help at promoting this project, wearing his Black Adam costume on Saturday and Big Red Cheese costume on Sunday. Jolie Voltaire wore a white Mary Marvel costume on both days. She entered the costume contest and in general caused quite a stir as the various geeks, dorks, and fanboys (and I say that with the greatest of love) were stopped in their tracks by her image. They were quite possibly the most photographed pair at the convention. You can see some of the pictures we took on the convention photos page.

We made contact with a great number of artists, writers and editors who had worked on various Captain Marvels who agreed to help in various ways, and all of them signed the CMC poster. These included Jerry Ordway, Rich Buckler, Carmine Infantino, Joe Runbenstein, Rags Morales, and Neal Adams.

We collected over 150 names for the Captain Marvel Culture mailing list. This was a great kickoff to the year and hopefully is a good sign for the success of the project.

Chapter 1: The Captain and the Major
Chapter 2: The Big Blue Guy
Chapter 3: The Big Red Guy
Chapter 4: Early Captain Marvel
Chapter 5: Powers and Personality
Chapter 6: Going Hollywood
Chapter 7: Friends and foes: The Lietenant Marvels
Chapter 8: Friends and Foes: Captain Marvel Junior
Chapter 9: Friends and Foes: Mary Marvel
Chapter 10: Friends and Foes: Mr. Tawny
Go to the outline of Captain Marvel history
About the Authors


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