Whiz Comics was a monthly ongoing comic
book anthology series, published by Fawcett Comics from 1940–1953,
best known for introducing Captain Marvel, who
was more popular than Superman in the late 40's and early 50's.
The series told the adventures of young
Billy Batson, who by speaking the magic word "SHAZAM!" would
receive super powers.
The first issue published of Whiz Comics
was issue #2, published with a cover-date of Feb. 1940. Fawcett created
two black-and-white ashcan #1 issues to solicit advertisers and to secure
the copyrights to the material. The two copies were identical but carried
different titles: Flash Comics and Thrill Comics; the Captain Marvel
character was called Captain Thunder in a near-identical story. When
Fawcett went to press with the magazine, the first issue was retitled
as Whiz Comics, a name inspired by the company's bawdy humor magazine,
Captain Billy's Whiz Bang. Further complicating matters, when they
got to issue #3, Fawcett, through either mistake or intent, used the
number twice. Thus, if viewed from the perspective of the second #3
(and, therefore, all the issues that followed it), Whiz #2 unofficially
became Whiz #1.
The cover art for the first issue showed
Captain Marvel throwing a vehicle at a wall, and was inspired by the
cover of Action Comics #1, which shows Superman lifting a car.
Since these powers were similar to those
attributed to Superman, and depite the fact that Captain Marvel's stories
tended to have a lighter and more humourous element to them, DC sued
Fawcett for infringement. After a protracted plagiarism lawsuit, which
DC eventually won, Cap and the rest of the Marvel Family disappeared
from the comic world for about 20 years.