3.19.2007

WITH ONE MAGIC WORD...SHAZAM!!!








I couldn't be happier that the world at large might finally appreciate the charms of my favorite superhero, the "World's Mightiest Mortal". According to Rich Johnson's column, "2008 is going to be all Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel. DC Comics will be pushing the character with the animated series and toys. Mary Marvel will have a starring role in Countdown. The Jeff Smith series will get a huge promotional push when it's collected, and is just the first of a number of Captain Marvel projects with large appeal. Warner believes it can create a movie franchise based on the character, but in order to do so, they've got to get people talking the character up..."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter John August has been hired to
write Shazam!, which is named after the magic word that teenager Billy Batson must utter to transform into Captain Marvel. The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.

Despite the character's modern obscurity with the mass public, Captain Marvel was the most popular superhero being published, and was at one point being published weekly with a circulation of 1.3 million copies an issue (sales of 100,000 copies of any comic book now makes it a runaway hit). What separated the character from it's competition was it's humor and offbeat nature of many of the stories, as well as a colorful supporting cast. Following a 1953 lawsuit, which Fawcett Comics lost to it's competition at the time (National Periodical Publications, now DC Comics) the Captain Marvel and Marvel family titles were considered derivative of Superman and ceased publication. The character lay dormant for some time until Fawcett's characters were purchased by DC and a comic book and live action series were released in the mid 1970's. Subsequent relaunches have all been a bit of a failure, as many creators lacked the humor or understanding of the character.

Recently, Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith created Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil which has been an absolute brilliant execution of the character.

I sure hope John August reads it.

1 comments:

Shaun Wong said...

I'm really happy DC Direct's 13" version of him turned out to be arguably the best in the line. I've got some pix of him here.