Monday, May 23, 2016

Did You Know....

Did you know Shazam is not only the great protector of mankind, he is also the guardian of the vast cosmos?  We learn about this in Captain Marvel Adventures #144!

In this adventure we learn that Shazam meets with Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury to resolve the problems of the galactic universe!  From his castle on the Rock of Eternity, Shazam and his helpers not only protect the earth, but the entire universe!

Did you know Shazam was the guardian of the cosmos?  I didn't until I read about it in Captain Marvel Adventures #144!

Shazam's Robe of Immortality

The wizard Shazam has been the beneficent protector of mankind, the earth and the cosmos for thousands upon thousands of years.  Shazam has proven to be immortal - but there is a secret to his immortality!

In Captain Marvel Adventures #144 we learn that Shazam wears a robe of immortality that protects him from harm.  Unfortunately for Shazam, Sivana learns of this robe and takes it from him while he sleeps.  Sivana let's us know that without the robe, Shazam is "as helpless as a baby!"  

Sivana's scheme is foiled by Billy Batson and the robe of immortality is returned to Shazam just in the nick of time!  And now we know the secret to Shazam's immortality - his magical, powerful robe!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Suggestion for DC's Rebirth

The news from DC today is that they have updated their comic logo.  Additionally, there was a press release from Geoff Johns, DC Chief Creative Office, in which he gave some insights into DC's upcoming Rebirth.  There were a few quotes that I really liked from Geoff.  He wrote, "To me, “Rebirth” is about how to approach mythology—about how to honor and celebrate the characters and their respective universes and embrace the values they embody. It’s about the past, the present and most importantly the future...For the DC Universe, it’s about more than just the heroes or villains we might not have seen in a while; it’s about the intrinsic values of what DC Comics and its universe stand for.  That’s epic storytelling.  That’s legacy and honoring the past, while moving it all to the future.  That’s hope." (italics are mine)  

When I thought of DCs new logo, and Geoff's desire to honor the legacy of the past while looking to the future, I had an idea!  Since DC publishes under the DC and Vertigo imprints, why not start publishing under a new imprint - Fawcett??!!

If DC started a Fawcett imprint, they could bring back the original Captain Marvel - in his own universe - starring in such titles as The Power of Shazam! or Thunderworld.  The Shazam character of the new 52 could continue under the DC imprint, but the original Captain Marvel and the values he has embodied for 75 years could once again be back in print, starring in his own adventures with the rich cast of characters his fans have loved.

If DC does start a Fawcett imprint, here's my suggestion for their logo:

Publishing under a Fawcett logo would allow DC to bring back the original Captain Marvel, embracing his past legacy while moving to the future!  

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Biography of the Wizard Shazam

Sometimes when we think of the wizard Shazam, we only think of his appearance in Whiz comics #2 when he gives Billy Batson his powers and commissions Captain Marvel.  But I've found within the pages of Captain Marvel's comics a few glimpses of Shazam's life before his meeting with Billy.  Based on what I've found, let me present you with a brief biography of the wizard Shazam!

Shazam is the guardian of mankind. (Whiz comics #47)  In ancient times, Shazam was known as Shazamo.  He was the leader of seven great heroes: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and Oggar.  These heroes helped mankind at the direction of Shazamo.  Oggar rebelled against Shazamo and was banished to the mortal world, and Shazamo struck the 'o' for Oggar from his name, thus becoming Shazam.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #62 "The Arena of Horror")  Shazam was also a leader among the gods on Mount Olympus and assisted them in their counsel while dealing with heavenly matters. (Marvel Family #12 "Captain Marvel in the Kingdom of Ulysses")  During this time of Shazam's ancient past he defeated seven evil gods, turning them into stone statues of the seven deadly enemies of man. (Captain Marvel Adventures #137)

During the First Dynasty of Egypt (c. 3150 - 2890 BC), Shazam used his magic powers to help Pharaoh.  An Egyptian impersonating Shazam attempted to rob Pharaoh, but his plot was foiled and Shazam's name was cleared.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #79 "Captain Marvel and the Ancient Crime")

In 3055 BC, Shazam chooses Teth-Adam to be his champion to fight evil in the world.  When Teth-Adam spoke Shazam's name, he became Mighty Adam.  Mighty Adam abused his powers, killed Pharaoh and planned to conquer the world.  Shazam changed Mighty Adam's name to Black Adam and banished him from the earth to the farthest star in the universe!  Shazam resumed his duties as earth's protector from evil.  (Marvel Family comics #1 "The Mighty Marvels Join Forces!")  Note:  I've read this comic multiple times and in no place does Shazam indicate that Mighty Adam was going to be his replacement.  Could it be Mighty Adam and Shazam were going to be a team to fight evil?

In 3048 BC Shazam faced a threat to our world from the Mad Mummy!  The Mad Mummy was ruler of the netherworld who invaded the world of the living to take over as ruler!  Shazam defeated the Mad Mummy and sent him and his evil pyramid to the bottom of the ocean! (Marvel Family comics #79)

Shazam's history is clouded in mystery after he banishes the Mad Mummy.  We next find Shazam in December of 1939.  Here we have Shazam in his final hours.  He has summoned Billy Batson and let's Billy know who he is and that he has chosen Billy to be his successor.  Billy speaks his name, "Shazam!" and transforms into Captain Marvel!  Shazam commissions Captain Marvel as his successor and it is Cap's "sacred duty to defend the poor and helpless, right wrongs, and crush evil everywhere."  When Captain Marvel speaks Shazam's name, he transforms back into Billy Batson and Shazam is crushed by a huge block of granite, thus ending Shazam's life.  (Whiz Comics #2)

Shazam enters a thousand year sleep, and is called upon by Billy to help Freddy Freeman.  Shazam allows Captain Marvel to share some of his powers, transforming Freddy into Captain Marvel Junior! (Whiz comics #25)  Shazam is the great patron of the Marvel Family, giving powers to Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Junior.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #18)

Shazam now lives in his castle on the Rock of Eternity (The Marvel Family #7) and can transport himself to his earthly headquarters/throne room in the underground subway tunnel (where he first met Billy) by using a bracelet made of Shazamium - a mystical element unknown to man!  The Shazamium bracelet allows him to adopt ethereal form, and whisk back and forth between the Rock of Eternity in the wink of an eye.

Since commissioning Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, Shazam hasn't exactly gone into retirement.  He keeps himself busy in the following ways:

  • He is the protector of Captain Marvel. (Captain Marvel Adventures #18 "Captain Marvel and the Three Wishes of Tim Tucker!")
  • He meets with Captain Marvel every leap year. (Captain Marvel Adventures #41)
  • He ensures Pandora's box is kept safe and secure. (The Marvel Family #7)

  • He is the guardian of the vast cosmos, solving the problems of the galactic universe.  (Captain Marvel Adventures #144)
  • He protects the earth every 1000 years from falling under the authority of evil gods! (Whiz comics #125 "Captain Marvel and the Olympic Games of the Gods!")

  • He served as a General in the Army during World War 2 and sent Captain Marvel on missions in support of the Allies. (Captain Marvel Adventures #12 "Captain Marvel Joins the Army!")

I'm so glad to have found glimpses into Shazam's biography from the pages of Captain Marvel's comics.  Once again it has given me such a great appreciation for the rich history of Captain Marvel, Shazam, and the other Marvel characters from the pages of Fawcett comics.  It's been a lot of work - and a lot of fun - piecing Shazam's history together and I hope you've enjoyed reading it.

(Updated 6/30/18)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Introducing Uncle Blacky

Uncle Blacky is Uncle Marvel's dastardly doppelganger introduced in Mary Marvel #9 in the story, "Mary Marvel and Her Thrilling Birthday Party!"  Like Black Adam, who he gets his uniform ideas from, Uncle Blacky makes only one appearance in the pages of Captain Marvel related comics.  

The first we hear of Uncle Blacky is on the opening page of the story.  In the list of characters he is described as "Uncle Blacky, who has donned a black Marvel suit and is determined to get rid of all the Marvels."

Uncle Blacky is secretly hiding out on the floor above Shazam, Inc., and is eavesdropping on what's happening with the Marvels in an attempt to get rid of them.  We learn that he has recently formed a new gang called Crime Inc., so he needs the Marvels out of the way to carry out his criminal plans.  He even invents high-tech weapons to use against the Marvels!

Uncle Blacky's first attempt on the Marvels happens when he sends his henchmen Monk and Limpy to "bump off" Mary and Freckles Marvel.  Monk and Limpy try to dispatch Mary with Uncle Blacky's rocket pistol.  Monk and Limpy end up on the receiving end of some Marvel wallops courtesy of Mary and Freckles!

Upon realizing his first plan failed, Uncle Blacky mobilizes Slug and Spike to take care of Mary Marvel but this time using Uncle Blacky's atomic fire flame thrower!  Did it work?  Mary might have felt the heat, but she quickly dispatches Uncle Blacky's lackeys with two well placed punches!

Not to be deterred, Uncle Blacky launches his final assault.  Using potent poison gas - which could kill an elephant with one whiff - Blacky tries to wipe out everyone in the office at Shazam, Inc.  Mary quickly rushes everyone to safety and then returns to take on Uncle Blacky herself!  With a mighty Marvel swing, Uncle Blacky crashes against the wall and Mary let's him know he'll be making a visit to the warden!  Three strikes and Uncle Blacky is out - his plan foiled and his gang and him in jail.

I really enjoyed this story as there's plenty of action and humor.  I love the characters - Mary Marvel, Uncle Dudley, Freckles Marvel and Uncle Blacky - they all contribute in their own way to make this story great.  Even though Uncle Blacky makes only one appearance in the Fawcett comics, he makes a lasting impression on Captain Marvel fans!