Sunday, November 15, 2015

Billy Batson? Captain Marvel?

Is Billy Batson also Captain Marvel?  We know Billy transforms into Captain Marvel by saying the magic word, "SHAZAM!"  But does Billy stay Billy - just an older and more muscular version?

Billy Batson is not Captain Marvel.  Billy Batson transforms into Captain Marvel - they are two different people! 

The illustration shows the classic magic lightning bolt coming down after Billy Batson says, "SHAZAM!" It tells us that it is the "magic lightning that changes Billy to his other mighty self -- Captain Marvel!" 

Another proof is found in Captain Marvel Adventures #41.  (I wrote about this edition previously in another post.)  Here we have Billy Batson opening a letter given to him by the wizard Shazam.

Did you notice something about the envelope and the letter?  Notice who the envelope is addressed to - it is addressed to Billy Batson and Captain Marvel!  Did you notice what the letter says?  It says, "Billy Batson: For four years you and Captain Marvel have fought evil..."  Shazam addressed the letter to two different people, Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.  They are two different people!

Captain Marvel Adventures #69 tells the story of the King of Grafstan who wants to make Captain Marvel a knight. (I'll be writing an upcoming post about this edition!)  Billy Batson gets the message from Mr. Morris and says, "Captain Marvel will have to decide about this himself."

Why can't Billy decide?  Because Captain Marvel is a different person! If Billy Batson is Captain Marvel, there would be no need to transform, he could make the decision himself!

Finally, let me share once again the very first time Billy calls down the magic lightning from Whiz Comics #2.

"As Billy speaks the magic word he becomes Captain Marvel!"  Billy Batson becomes - is transformed into - Captain Marvel!!

Is Billy Batson also Captain Marvel?  No, Billy Batson transforms into Captain Marvel.  Billy and Cap are two different people.  

I hope you've enjoyed this article and found it informative - thanks for reading!

(NOTE: The idea that Billy Batson stays Billy Batson but older and with muscles when he says, "SHAZAM!" is a new twist to the Captain Marvel origin that started in 1987 (Shazam: A New Beginning) and has continued with the Shazam character of DC's 'New 52' comics.)


  1. most of this can be explained by the fact that Captain Marvel has the wisdom of Solomon, therefore Billy and Shazam would defer to his greater wisdom on any issue. I have always looked at Captain Marvel as a magically grown up and enhanced Billy. If he were a totally different person he would not look so similar. Even the first pic you used calls Captain Marvel his "other mighty self" which indicates it is a version of himself.

    1. I believe that it's been explained that the reason the Captain Marvel avatar looks so similar to Billy because the avatar is actually the image of his father.

    2. The element you're referring to comes from Jerry Ordway's Power of Shazam Graphic Novel. But it's a bit ambiguous, Captain Marvel's visage looks so similar to Billy's father that the man who killed him, mistakes Captain Marvel for him. Now one could say that Billy, idolizing his father as a hero, subconsciously picked that visage as his mighty other self, or it could simply be that the grown-up Captain Marvel, a magical adult Billy, just looks a lot like his father. I certainly have heard many people tell me as I was growing up "oh you look just like your father" so that could simply be what Billy will look like as a grown adult.

      I have always viewed it as they are the same consciousness, but 2 different entities. Essentially the same soul, but 2 different people or personas. The goodness and purity is constant between both personas, as is the innocence and moral code. The difference is as Captain Marvel, he has incredible powers, that enhance him both physically and mentally. The mental aspect is the key, his wisdom and understanding is enhanced and enlightened, anytime his mind changes, so must his persona as a result of that increased mental compactly, but it is still the same consciousness or soul behind both forms.

      I have to wonder if there is a religious parallel at all in this to Christianity. God in three persons, blessed Trinity. You have one holy deity in 3 forms. Where Jesus is God and the Son of God. That parallel for me at least seems to be the best way to wrap my head around it, I wonder if that parallel was intentional.