Posts Tagged ‘Shazam’

SHAZAM: The Art of the Deal!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

from the author/artist/cartoonist Mark Engblom:

One of my favorite comic book concepts has always been Captain Marvel and the power of SHAZAM. A clever synthesis of modern and ancient mythology, the story of Captain Marvel began in Whiz Comics #2 (1940) as orphan Billy Batson was drawn to a mysterious underground chamber. He was met by SHAZAM, a wizard who could channel the power of ancient heroes…all of whom were inscribed as a handy acronym¬†on a nearby wall. Speaking the wizard’s name, Billy was magically transformed into the superhero Captain Marvel, who also possessed the abilities of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.

As cool as the concept will always be, that acronym of gods, heroes, and a Hebrew king continues to fascinate me. I love the child-like simplicity of its assumption that mythic figures would freely share their power with mortals…but my adult cynicism often kicks in and suggests another story behind the wizard’s consolidation of godly power. In other words, it’s…

SHAZAM: The Art of the Deal!

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What are the concepts that don’t “work right” in a unified DCU?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I’ve come to the conclusion that as much as I like seeing the Shazam characters in the DCU, they really need to be their own universe. Captain Marvel needs to be in a world where Superman doesn’t exist, 11-year-olds have broadcasting careers and talking animals being a part of your circle are unquestioned. Where Mr. Mind is a cartoony worm whose significance is that he is a diabolical mastermind who looks ridiculous… instead of this mental parasite as he is in the DCU. More to the point, Billy Batson needs to be eternally the same age, and he simply does not work anywhere on the DCU timeline. Remember, the current Robin was *conceived* after 1986’s “Legends”, so Billy Batson should be 20 or older by now!

Stanley and his Monster, The Inferior Five, Angel and the Ape… they don’t really gibe with the rest of the DCU. The I5’s parents are carbon copies of the JSA, so somehow that superteam has to fit into DCU history. And I don’t really want Stanley forced to consume blood as part of his grandfather’s Satanic cult, or the Monster having a dark side that he doesn’t show Stanley. (Oddly enough, Phil Foglio was able to make his “Stanley” book totally gibe with “Sandman” without compromising the funny!)

The World War II books are OK, I guess. There’s just something odd about their happening in a world where, Spear of Destiny excuse be darned, the JSA should be able to tilt WWII’s balance of power.

What do you think? What are the concepts that should really be outside of the DCU’s one universe?