Imagine yourself as a child back in the nineteen thirties reading comic books. Superman, another worldly being with no known weaknesses possessing super powers, is all of the rage. He has been around for a little while now, along with his counterpart Batman. You enjoy his adventures, but you cannot relate to him as a character. Enter Captain Marvel; no not Carol Danvers, the alter ego of Billy Batson.
Billy is a young boy, who is sought out by an ancient wizard. Seeing the good in the young boy, the wizard gives him the ability to access the powers of ancient gods by uttering one word, “Shazam” Some of you may be reading this and are thoroughly confused by the names of this one character. The answer is yes, Shazam and Captain Marvel are the same person. With this article, let’s get you all caught up with Captain Marvel/Shazam.
In the early days of superhero comics, DC, Detective Comics, has Superman who reigned until he was challenged by Captain Marvel, who at the time was owned by Whiz Comics, who started to surpass the man of steel in sales. DC retorted with a lawsuit stating that Captain Marvel was a direct copy of their golden goose, and to be fair to Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, the similarities are numerous. Super speed, strength, and invulnerability are just to name a few of the similar powers. While the big blue boy scout lost in the court room, Captain Marvel was eventually bought by DC and rebranded to the new name of Shazam. While he has been addressed as Captain Marvel by other characters in the comics, he is now formally and informally known as Shazam.
The change in name may have been for the simple fact of that is what Billy says when he needs to transform into his superhuman adult form. The other reason may have been due to DC’s opposite, Marvel Comics. The company may have feared the confusion of readers, or perhaps the unintentional advertising to their competitors. Especially since Captain Mar-Vel and Miss Marvel had emerged in the mid to latter half of the twentieth century. Eventually, Carol Danvers had fully embraced the title of Captain Marvel by twenty ten. This not only cemented her title, but also cemented Billy Baston’s title as Shazam in his respected comics.
Now that you all have a small history lesson behind Shazam, am I excited for the Shazam movie? From the trailers, it looks like Billy is more akin to his updated origin. A more wayward and untrusting of a person, but with a good heart underneath the prickly exterior. When in his Shazam form, Billy is still a kid with the powers of a superhero, and his childish glee realistically reflects that mindset. These characterizations read to me as a more flawed and relatable protagonist. After my expected enjoyment of Aquaman, I am equally excited to see the on-screen interpretation of Billy Batson aka Shazam.