Classic superhero Captain MarvelShazam! is getting a makeover…and it’s out with the “circus strongman” suit, and in with a mystical new cloaked look. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank will be bringing readers new monthly adventures of Shazam! in an ongoing “Justice League” back-up story starting with issue #7.
The New York Post has the first look at the new, darker Shazam!, who,according to writer Johns, is headed back to his magical roots: “With SHAZAM! Gary and I will be focusing on the magic hero instead of the super hero. For centuries, science has ruled the world, but now magic is returning.” The “Justice League” backup story will mark the official name-change for the character from its marvel-ous roots. Johns told the Post: “We changed his name [to Shazam] for a lot of reasons. One of them is that Shazam is the word most associated with the character, so we just felt it made sense — a lot of people already thought that was his name, anyway.”
The publishing history of Captain Marvel/Shazam! is one of those epic decades-spanning stories involving multiple publishers, multiple names, lawsuits, revamps, and etc. Created in 1939 by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker for Fawcett Comics, the wildly popular Captain Marvel ran afoul of DC Comics for its alleged similarity to Superman; due to a copyright infringement suit, the adventures of the “Big Red Cheese” were discontinued in 1953. Ironically, it was DC who licensed the character in 1972, re-introducing him and his friends to comics.
HOWEVER, while C.M. was cooling his heels as a result of the copyright suit, Marvel Comics trademarked the name…forcing DC to promote the comics with the Shazam! trademark. But, as Johns pointed out, a lot of people just assumed that Shazam! was his name anyhow. And here we are.
Will Shazam! eventually get his own new title? Will hard-core fans accept the character’s new look? And what of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny? Stay tuned!