Superman #276: "Make Way For Captain Thunder!"

Superman #276
"Make Way For Captain Thunder!"
June, 1974

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Curt Swan & Bob Oksner
Editing: Julius Schwartz

Two alley cats bear witness to a bright flash of light appearing
nearby...  From it, emerges a startled Willie Fawcett -- a young boy who
possesses some amazing powers...  Before the youth can muster his
thoughts, he looks up into the sky, and sees the Man of Steel soaring
through the skies above.  Superman, as well as the other citizens of
Metropolis will be in for a surprise when they... "Make Way For Captain

Willie has never seen Superman before, much less has been in this part of
town before.  When he asks how to get to 51st Street and Governor's
Plaza, the youth is directed to use the uptown bus... and a transit
token.  The confusion continues when Willie Fawcett gets off at his
uptown stop...  The bus driver gave him a dirty look when he tried to pay
five cents for the ride.  He is unaware of when they raised it to
thirty-five cents.  Instead of the WHAM-TV Building where Willie works...
he finds Galaxy Communications in its place.  Two longhaired youths see
his crewcut and figure that the boy is not up on current hair trends.
For a moment, Willie Fawcett wonders if he's gone into the future.

Before he can enter the building and learn what happened to WHAM-TV --
Willie and the other pedestrians look up towards the sky.  "It's a
bird... it's a plane... it's Superman!"  While the spectators are awed by
the Man of Steel in flight, one hardened citizen has had his fill of the
tourists.  The youth watches as Superman chases after a giant flying
reptile, which has begun causing panic in the streets.  The Action Ace
knows that this is only a decoy illusion, designed to distract him from a
crime taking place elsewhere...

As the Man of Steel follows the flying reptile, Willie sees a helicopter
descending towards an armored car.  Since this looks like a crime about
to take place, he rubs his magic belt buckle and says... "...THUNDER!"
SHA-BOOM!  The magical burst of starlight causes Willie Fawcett to
disappear... and for Captain Thunder to appear in his place.  Seized by a
strange compulsion, the Captain decides to aid the armored crooks robbing
the armored car.  Their illusion has led Superman on a wild goose chase,
but they see a flying figure heading their way.

They regard the newcomer as a cheap imitation of their local hero, but
know that they're about to be in serious trouble.  BRAT-A-TAT  To their
amazement, the colorfully-clad figure tells them that he's now in charge
of the caper, and for them to follow him in their helicopter for a swift
getaway.  The bullets from the machine gun bounce off of the caped figure
before them.  On the other side of town... the Action Ace uses
super-suction to pull up some river water... creating a waterspout to
trap the flying reptile.  When the spout heads for the upper atmosphere,
both it and the "reptile" will be turned to vapor.  Superman is now ready
to head for where the action is.

His telescopic-vision leads him to the helicopter and the costumed
muscleman flying off with an armored car.  When Superman asks for his
surrender, the Captain gives him a kick in the chops.  Not impressed by
so flabby a blow, the Man of Steel delivers a punch to Captain Thunder's
solar plexus.  Realizing that this Superman must be more powerful than he
appears to be, the Captain hurls the armored car at him --

As the Action Ace catches the armored car, he does not see Captain
Thunder rubbing his magic belt buckle, and saying... "THUNDER!"  SHA-BOOM
Willie Fawcett reappears on the sidewalk, with no memory of his
alter-ego's criminal deeds.  With the armored car back on the ground,
Superman knows that he'll soon have a rematch with "Big Red", but first
he must catch up with the getaway helicopter.  After rounding up the
armored crooks -- mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is back at his desk,
where he receives a visitor.  The lad introduces himself as Willie
Fawcett... and he has learned that the reporter is a friend of
Superman's.  He has something very important to tell the Man of Steel.
As Willie shows the autographed picture of Captain Thunder in his wallet,
Clark realizes that this is the same character he had met earlier.

Since he's a friend of the Man of Steel, Willie decides to share the
important information with Clark.  Willie Fawcett and Captain Thunder are
one and the same.  As an orphan, the youth went to summer camp... and one
evening as the others slept... Willie Fawcett found himself unable to
fall asleep.  HOOT  HOO-OOT!  HOOO-OOOOOOT  A wise old owl rouses him...
HOO-HOOT... and wants him to follow.  The lad left summer camp behind...
to follow after the horned owl... and soon found himself at a hillside...
Willie gestures to the owl not to fly into the solid rock wall ahead.

The owl is in no danger, for the side of the hill has opened up.  Not
afraid of what's happened so far, Willie enters... and finds himself in
the presence of Merokee, last of the great medicine men of the Mohegan
tribe.  The medicine man bids the boy to step forward, and learns that
the tribal legends had foretold of his arrival.  A noble youth would
receive the great powers from the last of the great Mohegan shamans --
Willie Fawcett has been chosen.  When he wears the magic belt buckle, he
will have seven spiritual powers bestowed unto him.  Tornado...Power.
Hare...Speed. Uncas... Bravery. Nature...Wisdom.  Diamond... Toughness.
Eagle...Flight.  Ram... Tenacity.

Merokee tells Willie to rub the magic belt buckle and to say the magic
word made from the first letter of each name on the list.  He sees that
they spell... "...THUNDER!"  SHA-BOOM!  A bright flash of starlight fills
the ancient chamber, transforming him into... Captain Thunder!  With his
work completed, the servant of the Great Spirit is ready to pass on...
The Captain watches as Merokee passes through an opening in the ceiling,
where the shaman goes to a far better place... while he begins the battle
against evil in all of its forms.  This was Captain Thunder's task...
fighting against criminals and mad scientists alike on his world... for
no other purpose than it was the right thing to do.

The last thing that Willie Fawcett can remember is the Captain fighting
against the Monster League of Evil across nineteen hundred and
fifty-three dimensions of space-and-time...  After a long battle, Captain
Thunder decides to end it, but the Monster League has only his defeat in
mind.  The League is defeated when the Captain uses one of their number
to batter them into submission.  Now imprisoned in the strange dimension,
the Monster League of Evil will no longer be a threat to Earth.  HEH  HEH
HEH  Unbeknownst to the Captain, the Monster League have taken secret
measures against him... and he will never be the same again.  After
crossing through the barrier of space-and-time... Willie found himself in
an alley on a street he'd never been before.  He had thought that he must
have arrived in the future.  The mild-mannered reporter tells Willie that
there's no record of a Captain Thunder on Earth.  There have been reports
of a super-crook who fits the Captain's description being involved in an
armored car robbery.  The youth now realizes why he can't recall anything
as Captain Thunder.

The Monster League of Evil have turned the Captain into a super-villain.
This was the true nature of their veiled threat to the caped hero.  Clark
doesn't believe that Willie is lying -- but he might think that he is
Captain Thunder.  He suggests to the lad that they head for police
headquarters and see if there's a report on a missing Willie Fawcett.  On
the streets of Metropolis, Lois Lane has joined Clark and Willie on their
walk. When she asks her fellow reporter if he wanted her as a babysitter,
the mild-mannered reporter assures her that Willie might prove to be fit
for a human interest story.  As they arrive outside the police records
center... Lois is reassures the lad that they'll find out where he came
from, but Clark's super-hearing has picked up something coming from the
garage underneath the police station.  His x-ray vision sees a prisoner
transfer gone awry.

Pausing only to ask Willie if he's hungry, the mild-mannered reporter
offers to buy him a hamburger, and races off in the other direction.  The
youth is struck by Clark's sudden display of kindness, but Lois has seen
it before, and knows that the reporter has picked a fine time to
disappear.  While they wait outside the police building... Lois hears the
commotion and they both learn about the breakout.  Willie Fawcett excuses
himself from Miss Lane to rub his magic belt buckle... "THUNDER!"
SHA-BOOM!  Captain Thunder has come for a fight to the finish against the
Man of Steel.  When asked how he was able to reappear, the Captain
confesses that it was reflex action on his alter ego's part.  As they
collide in midair, the escape vehicle continues on its way.

The criminals will not be able to hide from Superman for long, and his
immediate concern is on Captain Thunder.  Both fly away from Metropolis,
where the Action Ace ducks into a cloud.  Not having any super-vision
powers, the Captain enters the thundercloud without fear.  On the other
side of the cloud, the Man of Steel uses his super-cold breath leave
Captain Thunder inside the freezer.  CRACKLE  Flexing his tornado-powered
muscles, the Captain breaks free, and grabs onto Superman's leg with
lightning swiftness.

The Action Ace is flung halfway through a mountain, but uses his
heat-vision to detach a large piece... lift it... and send it down on the
Captain.  FFR-RUMMP  No longer in the mood for games, Captain Thunder
wants to find out which of them is the World's Mightiest Mortal.

KA-POWW!  An irresistible force meets an immovable object... as the two
come to grips -- in hand-to-hand...  The Captain is angered... and the
time has come... THROOOOMM!  For Superman to return him from whence he
came.  Captain Thunder yells after the Big Blue Cheese -- wondering where
he's flying off to.  It's a chance, but things will have to work
themselves out.  The Captain is in no mood for any more storm cloud

The Man of Steel uses his super-wits on Captain Thunder, having studied
his speech and behavior patterns in order to predict his reactions.  By
rubbing his hand together, the Action Ace has set up an electrical-field
beneath the storm cloud... which strikes the Captain with a bolt of
lightning.  Unimpressed by a childish stunt that doesn't even tickle,
Captain Thunder decides that it's time for his turn to send Superman into
the storm cloud... and send his super-hearing ringing with the sound
of... "...THUNDER --!"  His plan worked!  As the magic word is spoken,
the Man of Steel makes the Captain rub his magic belt buckle.

SHA-BOOM!  This time, the burst of starlight is interrupted by the sound
of super-laughter...  Superman catches Willie Fawcett in midair, and
carries him to safety.  He realized why there's no record of the
Captain... because both he and Willie are from a parallel world in
another dimension.  The youth can only wonder which of the infinite
worlds is his own, but the Man of Steel has got a solution -- by having
Captain Thunder use his wisdom.  The boy realizes if his alter ego should
return, they'll be in for another fight.  Now in a super-tight grip,
Superman convinces Willie that he'll force the Captain to use his
wisdom... to force himself free from the evil grip of the Monster League.
Willie rubs his magic belt buckle and says... "THUNDER!"  SHA-BOOM! 

Captain Thunder is unable to move a muscle and the Action Ace will not
let go until he does what must be done.  The Captain's mind is on
breaking free of his foe -- but the difference in strength may be beyond
measuring... and Superman will not give.  After a painful time... a glow
of understanding begins to appear in the eyes of Captain Thunder.  He now
knows how he became lost... by an acceleration of his torque on a radius
of 6N-8 Power along a 19-Dimensional Mobius Curve...  The Captain tells
the Man of Steel to loosen his grip... so that he can rub his magic belt
buckle... and make the return trip... home -- "THUNDER!"  SHA-BOOM!  The
magical burst of starlight flares once more... and in a flash... Captain
Thunder has disappeared -- returned to one of many Earths that span
across the multiverse -- whichever world the Captain considers to be his

Clark tells Lois that both Willie and Captain Thunder have returned to
where they belong.  He's sure that the Man of Steel will fill her on the
rest of the story when next they meet.  In a mood for something to eat,
she remembers when a certain mild-mannered reporter went off to buy a
little boy a hamburger without asking if she was hungry.  It will be the
selfsame reporter who will be treating her to dinner.  Unfortunately for
Clark Kent, it is a place where he once came to have an estimate on a
donut.  Lois's persistence pays off and both reporters are soon seated in
the restaurant.  As they pore over the menu, Clark finds himself feeling
less... alone in the universe -- knowing that somewhere -- on another
Earth... Captain Thunder... like the Man of Tomorrow... fights for truth
and justice... because it's the right thing to do.  Lois Lane watches in
horror as Clark pours some catsup on his prime sirloin.  When she
suggests that he should have ordered a catsup sandwich, the mild-mannered
reporter considers this to be a good idea, and would love to order such a

On the cover by Nick Cardy, the title blurbs announce "The Story You
Thought We'd Never Dare Print!" and "The Fight To Decide The Super-Hero
Championship Of The World!"

A clever surname by Elliot S! Maggin for Willie Fawcett.

With his crewcut, red shirt, and blue pants, Willie looks like he just
stepped out from 1953.

The WHAM-TV Building where the youth works is a homage to Billy Batson's
WHIZ radio station.

The local's reaction to all of the tourists looking up in the sky at
Superman was priceless.

For Willie and Captain Thunder, life is but a dream... SHA-BOOM!

Instead of the lightning bolt insignia of Captain Marvel, we have the
yellow starburst of Captain Thunder.

The youth tells Clark that both he and the Captain are sort of the same

I don't know if Captain Thunder looks like what Willie will be when he
becomes an adult or not.

On the Earth of Willie Fawcett and Captain Thunder, the Mohicans are
known as "Mohegans."

I wonder if Merokee would be known as Mercury on Earth-One?

An editor's note informs the reader that Uncas was an outstanding warrior
chief of the Mohegan tribe.

On Earth-Prime, the character of Uncas appeared in "The Last of The

There is a counterpart to Doctor Sivana on Captain Thunder's Earth.

While the Monster Society of Evil perplexed Captain Marvel, the Monster
League of Evil were the group menacing Captain Thunder.

The Frankenstein Monster, the Mummy, Count Dracula, and the Werewolf
comprised the membership of the Monster League.

Later in the decade, we'd be seeing the debut of the Monster Squad on
Saturday Morning television, and Fred Grandy (Gopher of the Love Boat) as
their museum curator.

The nineteen hundred and fifty-three dimensions of time-and-space
correspond with the disappearance of Captain Marvel, the Marvel Family,
and Fawcett.

The bit where Captain Thunder sends Superman smashing through half a
mountain reminds me of the bit from Mad's "Superduperman" parody.  In it,
Captain Marbles decides to become a criminal while chasing a gang of
diamond thieves, and crashing his way through a mountain.  "Not everybody
could do such a thing... especially with their head." 

Superman #276 is another example where another Captain has lost his

A fun line where the Captain smashes through the hunk of mountain, and
wants to know which of them is the World's Mightiest Mortal.

Billy Batson had it easier than Willie Fawcett.  All Billy had to do was
say a magic word, but Willie would have to say a magic word, and rub his
magic belt buckle.

Now, both would be in trouble if they were captured by the bad guys,
bound and gagged.

All Billy would have to do is remove his gag, but poor Willie would be
frantically trying to rub his magic belt buckle before it was too late.
Score one for the Big Red Cheese.

Captain Thunder uses his power of flight, along with his tornado-based
powers to travel through the various dimensions of space-and-time.

On Earth-One, the inhabitant pour catsup on their doughnuts, but on
Earth-Prime, I'd pour ketchup on my donuts.

Steve Chung
"Make Review For Captain Thunder!"