November 20, 2005

The host of Dial B for Blog, a very popular comic book website, recently posted a four-part series extolling the idea that super-hero Captain Marvel Jr. influenced much of Elvis' life and appearance If you'd like to read the long and very complete essays, with lots of pictures, If not, here's the short version.

Do you recall ever reading about the origin of the lightning bolt in Elvis' TCB jewelry? I have numerous reference books that say it was inspired by the lightning bolt worn on the chest of Captain Marvel Jr., Elvis' favorite comic book hero.

Captain Marvel jr.

In fact, Elvis featured the lightning bolt and the TCB letters in his Karate logo. Also, that same lightning bolt (without the letters T.C.B) is part of the wall decorations in the basement game room at Graceland.

Dial B for Blog website asserts that Elvis read Captain Marvel Jr. Comics from September 1949 to January 1953 while living at the Lauderdale Court. In fact, the Presley's apartment has been preserved as a historic site, and a copy of Captain Marvel Jr. #51 sits on a desk in Elvis' old room.

Elvis Night Stand

In her book "Elvis Presley: The Man, The Life, The legend," author Pamela Clarke Keough states, "Elvis used comics as an escape… Around the age of 12, Elvis discovered Captain Marvel Jr. and quickly became almost obsessed with him."

Billy Smith, Elvis' cousin and longtime friend, said that Elvis especially admired the dual image of Captain Marvel Jr. and his alter ego. There was an everyday guy, poor teenager Freddy Freeman. But, when he said the magic words, Freddie Freeman turned into super crime-fighter Captain Marvel Jr.

Dial B for Blog sums it up nicely: "This is why Elvis idolized Cap Jr. - because the Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel Jr. character was a perfect mirror image of the once and future Elvis. Freddy represented Elvis as he was, and Captain Marvel Jr. represented Elvis as he wished to be."

Captain and Freddy Jr.

Pictures of Captain Marvel Jr. in the early fifties do indeed show a hairstyle ultimately affected by Elvis: long, glistening, black, with unruly locks hanging down over his forehead. Also, there is a distinct similarity between Captain Marvel Jr.'s outfit and the seventies Elvis. The argument certainly can be made that Elvis copied his one-piece jumpsuit, wide belt, boots, and most of all, the cape from his boyhood hero.

Finally, young Freddy Freeman was often seen wearing white scarves, and we all know how Elvis would go through dozens of them at every concert.

I think the host of Dial B For Blog did a good job presenting his case that Captain Marvel Jr. helped shape Elvis' entire lifestyle. He also calls his blog "The World's Greatest Comic Blogazine." I like that. I wonder if he'd sue me if I called Elvisblog the "World's Greatest Elvis Blogazine."