The hero previously often called Captain Marvel.
There was a time when Shazam (aka Captain Marvel) was the preferred superhero on the planet. And possibly that point will come once more, as a live-action Shazam film starring Zachary Levi because the World’s Mightiest Mortal is now right here.
However who is that this magical powerhouse, and the way do Shazam and his powers match into the bigger DC Universe? Learn on to study every part you might want to find out about Shazam.
Shazam Defined: The Fundamentals
Shazam is proof that the superhero enterprise would not must be reserved for adults. Younger Billy Batson is an orphan who caught the attention of a strong however growing old wizard who granted him superb magical skills and tasked him with defending the Rock of Eternity (an enchanted place on the nexus of house and time). Each time Billy utters the phrase “Shazam!”, he transforms into a strong hero with skills to rival these of Superman himself.
Ever since, Billy has lived a twin life. Some days he is a lonely foster child making his means on the planet, and a few days he soars via the sky and battles villains just like the fiendish Dr. Sivana or his twisted predecessor, Black Adam. It is all in a day’s work for Shazam.
Shazam’s Powers and Skills
Shazam’s title is an acronym that comes from the six mythological figures who present his powers. He has the knowledge of Solomon, the energy of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the facility of Zeus, the braveness of Achilles and the velocity of Mercury. In impact, this provides a Shazam a really Superman-like suite of skills that embody super-strength, invulnerability and flight. He additionally has an array of magical skills, together with the facility to generate lightning and to simply resolve advanced puzzles and codes within the blink of an eye fixed. Principally, he is an virtually unstoppable one-man military except his enemies can one way or the other trick Shazam into reworking again into abnormal Billy Batson.
Shazam additionally has the flexibility to switch a portion of his energy to others. That is given rise to sidekicks like Mary Marvel (Billy’s long-lost sister Mary) and Captain Marvel Jr. (his greatest pal Freddy Freeman).
Shazam: Origin and Background
When Superman first hit the scene in 1939’s Motion Comics #1, it sparked an instantaneous rush for different publishers to reply with their very own superhero characters. Shazam (then often called Captain Marvel) was created by CC Parker and Invoice Peck for rival writer Fawcett Comics. He debuted in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2 and quickly grew to turn into the preferred of the various Superman clones of the period.
Captain Marvel’s recognition eclipsed even that of Superman for a lot of the 1940s. Most credit score that to the truth that his standing as a younger boy who transforms into an grownup hero made him extra interesting to younger readers. He served as a type of superhero wish-fulfillment in a means the stuffy, fatherly Superman by no means might. Captain Marvel even got here to affect popular culture, with Elvis Presley reportedly modeling his gaudy stage costumes after the colorfully dressed hero.
Sadly, Captain Marvel ultimately fell sufferer to the one foe that will constantly hound him for the remainder of the 20th century – authorized issues. DC sued Fawcett for copyright infringement, and Fawcett retired the character in 1953 below the settlement that they’d by no means publish a Captain Marvel comedian once more.
Mockingly, it was DC itself who revived the Captain Marvel franchise within the ’70s by licensing the characters from Fawcett and publishing new tales. Sadly, they confronted authorized challenges of their very own, as Marvel Comics was none too glad on the prospect of one other firm publishing a collection known as “Captain Marvel.” DC’s answer was to maintain calling the character Captain Marvel in-story however to call all his comics after Billy’s benefactor, the wizard Shazam. That led to a long time of confusion over whether or not Billy’s alter ego is definitely named Captain Marvel or Shazam. DC lastly nipped that drawback within the bud with their New 52 reboot in 2011, revamping the character so that he’s and all the time has been named Shazam. (Study in regards to the many Captain Marvels from each DC and Marvel proper right here.)
No matter title you need to name him, Shazam has been a reasonably fixed presence in DC’s publishing lineup ever since 1972. At first he existed on his personal world within the DC multiverse (Earth-S), however after 1985’s Disaster on Infinite Earths destroyed the multiverse, the Shazam household have been folded into the primary DCU together with the Justice Society of Earth-2 and former Charlton Comics characters like Blue Beetle, the Query and Captain Atom.
DC has made varied adjustments to the acquainted Shazam mythology over time, together with tweaking the character in order that he retains his youthful Billy Batson character even when remodeled and briefly having Freddy Freeman take over the mantle from Billy. Shazam’s mortal enemy Black Adam has additionally modified a fantastic deal after being built-in into the DCU. In recent times, Adam has been re-imagined as a extra tragic fallen hero who usually overshadows his nemesis.
Shazam: Past the Comics
Given his speedy recognition, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Shazam/Captain Marvel started showing in different media. In 1941 Republic Footage crafted a 12-part film serial known as Adventures of Captain Marvel, which starred Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. as Billy Batson. Actor Burt Boyer additionally starred in a 1943 Captain Marvel radio program, although few traces of that challenge have survived.
The character’s subsequent large mainstream hit got here in 1974 when Filmation crafted a live-action TV collection known as Shazam! The collection took just a few liberties with the supply materials, re-imagining the wizard (Les Tremayne) and Billy (Michael Grey) as a duo touring the nation of their camper and righting wrongs alongside the way in which. Shazam! was ultimately joined by the companion collection The Secrets and techniques of Isis. Filmation later adopted these up with a 1981 animated collection known as The Child Energy Hour With Shazam!
That was just about the top of Captain Marvel headlining his personal TV exhibits. Nonetheless, the character has appeared in a lot of DC animated exhibits (Justice League Limitless, Younger Justice, Batman: The Courageous and the Daring), direct-to-DVD animated motion pictures (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam) and video video games (Injustice: Gods Amongst Us).
And now Shazam lastly returns to live-action with Warner Bros.’ Shazam film, directed by David Sandberg (Lights Out). The movie stars Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as Billy Batson, with Mark Sturdy taking part in the villain Dr. Sivana. Djimon Hounsou performs the wizard who provides the hero his powers. As for Black Adam, whereas it appears like he will not seem in Shazam as beforehand anticipated (rumors at one level instructed that Dwayne Johnson would play each Shazam and Adam), Warners seems to have large plans for the character. Johnson is claimed to nonetheless be set to star in a solo Black Adam movie.
Jesse is a mild-mannered author for IGN. Permit him to lend a machete to your mental thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.