If there was ever a time for comic book and superhero fans its now! With a major blockbuster release seemingly every and every month Superhero films have dominated the screen and box office for the past year, and it doesn’t seem like its slowing down anytime soon.
Now with the Marvel’s Captain Marvel, and DC’s Shazam out in theaters at the same time, both properties look so different its easy to forget that the two cosmic superheroes were once one! That’s why this pilot comic book series will focus on the link between Shazam and Captain Marvel – it’s a pretty epic story!
To begin with a short history lesson (that gets a bit messy, but bear with me) two comic book houses National Comics and Fawcett comics were publishing comic books that featured a certain American superhero that were basically mirror images of each other. When Fawcett comics Captain Marvel began selling better than National Comics Superman, (so well it landed its first live action film) National took Fawcett to court and basically sued them into oblivion. As Fawcett couldn’t keep up with legal bills they settled to never publish another Captain Marvel book again, and eventually was bought out by National Comics– now DC. DC thought all was laid to rest on their rival character as Captain Marvel books disappeared from 1953-1967, until one genius (we all know him) at Atlas publishing house decided that they could use this character because it correlated so well with their future namesake.
That’s right! When Atlas became Marvel comics they began publishing the Marvel Captain Marvel, a male alien who once was a conqueror turned protector of Earth. This time DC couldn’t take legal action as they sued Fawcett over character and story – not title. Marvel snatched up the title rights to Captain Marvel meaning DC couldn’t publish a book using that specific name and DC’s version of Captain Marvel just began zooming around in their universe. So, DC basically stonewalled, gets a lightbulb idea to take what makes up their Captain Marvel powers and his word to activate said powers christening their hero as SHAZAM! Now able to publish as many books as they please, DC’s Shazam and Marvel Captain Marvel is now existing in book and media at the same time.
As if this couldn’t get any more confusing (it certainly does) there were several more heroes with the name Marvel, not to mention Mar-vell (separate story, separate time) the two mega publishing houses have been able to keep both of their Captain Marvels in existence without stepping on each others toes – lets hope it stays that way. Now, with that pretty muddled story out of the way, its time to get down to business.
Seeing as how Shazam has recently hit the big screen this week’s spotlight will focus on Big Red Cheese! As superhero stories go this one is pretty stellar, imagine being a kid and with one word transforming into a major, cosmic, kick ass superhero! The movie did an awesome job of breaking this down but as always there is some difference between the film and the book. His profile is as follows:
Name: Billy Batson
Origin: After being orphaned by his parents he is guided to the Rock of Eternity where he encountered the ancient wizard Shazam, and became their first champion of earth. With one word and calling down a lightning bolt SHAZAM! transforms Billy Batson into one of the strongest beings on the planet.
Powers: The name says it all: S – Wisdom of Solomon, H – Strength of Hercules, A – Stamina of Atlas, Z – Power of Zeus, A – Courage of Achilles, and M – Speed of Mercury. In his Shazam form, he is immortal, bulletproof, and can use the Living Lightning to enhance magic spells.
Did you know!: Shazam formally known as Captain America had the best selling comic book of all time!
In a Kingdom Come (1996) issue Superman and Shazam go to blow to blow in a clash of the titans knock out fight. Seeing as Superman has always been susceptible to magic Shazam has the upper hand. Superman pleads with Shazam to find his senses (as he is being controlled by Lex Luthor), but by the end of their fight Shazam sacrifices himself to stop the world from nuclear annihilation.
Shazam can see the future!
So hopefully you’ve enjoyed the first comic book spotlight of the superhero that has recently commanded the screen. Shazam has definitely proven to be a force to reckoned with and no doubt Carol Danvers Captain Marvel is just as equal in power!
Be sure to look out for her comic book spotlight next week!