With news that Captain Marvel is coming in 2019 - both as a film and as a character the studio promises will shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe - fans still have time to brush up on Captain Marvel's comics backstory. It's easy to understand if fans aren't well versed in Captain Marvel facts. Before her recent boost in popularity and prominence, Carol Danvers wasn't exactly in Marvel's A-list superhero tier alongside Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Captain America. That's not to say she hasn't been around for a while. In one form or another, Danvers has been a part of the Marvel Universe for more than 50 years, and her devoted supporters have plenty of Captain Marvel predictions for what they hope to see in her movie debut.
As plain old Carol Danvers, the character made her comics debut in 1968, created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. Almost a decade later, in 1977, Danvers finally gained her Captain Marvel powers and took on her first superhero mantle, Ms. Marvel. It was another few decades before she officially became Captain Marvel, but in between, Danvers managed to rack up one of the most diverse, underrated, and unheralded superhero careers in the entire history of Marvel Comics.
Most superheroes have their origin spelled out in their very first appearance, but that's not the case when it comes to Carol Danvers. She debuted as a character in 1968's Marvel Super-Heroes #13, but didn't receive any special abilities until the late 1970s. In the meantime, Danvers put together an impressive nonpowered resume that included time as an Air Force pilot, an intelligence officer, and the head of security at NASA. Throughout that period, Carol teamed up with heroes like Nick Fury, Wolverine, and Ben Grimm (before he became the Thing). Her gig with NASA, however, brought her into contact with alien races and put her on the path to becoming a superhero.
When Carol Danvers first appeared in the comics, she didn't have any code name aside from her military rank. While she now goes by Captain Marvel in the comics, Danvers went through a number of other superhero pseudonyms before reaching that point. Fans are probably most familiar with Ms. Marvel, a title she held on multiple occasions, but Danvers also went by Binary when she traveled the cosmos with the Starjammers, and Warbird after she returned to Earth in the late '90s. However, with Danvers starring in 2019's Captain Marvel, don't expect a name change anytime soon.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, the title of Captain Marvel was originally associated with members of the Kree race. The first and most famous wielder of that title was a Kree warrior named Mar-Vell. He became familiar with Carol Danvers while she worked for NASA, and he ultimately decided to betray his people to become one of Earth's protectors. Mar-Vell was later one of the first prominent superheroes to permanently meet his end in 1982's The Death of Captain Marvel, but the title of Captain Marvel bounced between various other Kree characters for a few decades before finally settling on Danvers in 2012.
Outside of Marvel Comics, there have been a couple of other characters who could be confused with Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel. The most famous, by far, is the DC character of Captain Marvel, who now goes by Shazam after decades of legal wrangling. Carol Danvers now has the exclusive claim to the title of Captain Marvel, but she also has an unfortunately similar name to another DC Comics character - Kara Danvers, better known as Supergirl. Although Supergirl was created first, the similarity appears to be just a coincidence, given that Carol didn't gain superpowers of her own until many years after her debut.