COMIC TITLE: Shazam #1 (1973)
C.C. Beck– Artist
Ever since I saw the premiere of DC Comics and Warner Brothers trailer for the new film 2019’s Shazam! which stars Zachary Levi as Shazam, I was finally excited for a DC film that wasn’t called Aquaman. The trailer sort of reminds me of what would happen if you took Superman and mashed it with the Tom Hanks film Big and who doesn’t want to see that? With that being said, I wanted to take the opportunity today to read up on some old Shazam comics and I know it’s not Thursday, but this is my challenge after all, right? So, I hoped in the DeLorean and I traveled back to February 1973 to check Shazam #1 which was written by Dennis O’Neil (Batman: Birth Of The Demon) and illustrated by C.C. Beck (Adventures Of Captain Marvel). In this comic, we get to witness how lonely newspaper selling orphan Billy Batson became the one and only Captain Marvel (a.k.a. Shazam). We also get to see our first battle that Shazam is in when he returns after being in suspended Animation due to a sinister scientist hellbent on taking over the world plus you get a story originally published in Captain Marvel Adventures #55.
One of the things I found interesting about this comic book is that the words The Original Captain Marvel are plastered everywhere in the comic or at least in any possible place they can put it. It’s an interesting conundrum that we have here because who had Captain Marvel first? Was it DC or was it Marvel? The story basically is that Captain Marvel was a comic produced by Fawcett Comics and it out sold Superman. So, DC sued Fawcett claiming that he looked too much like Superman so Fawcett stopped making the comics until this issue in 1973 after DC bought out the character. The only problem is that Marvel Comics created a character called Captain Marvel in the 1960’s and they sued DC Comics which in turn made them called the comic Shazam instead of Captain Marvel. The original Captain Marvel tag stopped after a cease and desist order by Marvel after issue 15 of Shazam. Back to the comic. I liked the comic overall, but it has too much of the cheesy 70’s story lines and his villain in the issue was uninteresting to be honest. I loved the artwork because it has that classic 70’s look to it which I love. I definitely think it’s a good thing to look back at the history of a character before you check out their movie. Check out my grades below:
Character Representation: A
Entertainment Value: A