Who Is Shazam?

 

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Many of you who follow what goes on in the DC and Marvel Universes are well aware that DC has recently released their newest movie Shazam! Shazam just so happens to be my favorite hero that exists in either DC or Marvel, so I want to let you all know six cool things about Shazam.

 

  1. Shazam is a very unique hero because he's just a kid named Billy Batson.

He was originally only 12 years old, even though he's a bit older in more modern renditions. He is a misplaced orphan that tries to do good, but still has the mentality of a child. That makes his career as a hero more engaging because he's not a hero to aspire to. He's a hero that could be you. He's not super cool, really smart, nor does he possess oddly keen battle sense. He's really just a child who has been blessed with superpowers for having a heart of gold and that makes him a worthwhile hero to invest your time in.

I'll admit, you'll get warm fuzzies when he meets Clark Kent who becomes a role model for him.

 

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  1. He was not originally a property of DC Comics.

Superman came out in 1939 and really took off. No one had expected costumed crime-fighters to be so popular! Following Superman, many knock-offs came out looking to cash in on that. Captain Marvel (then dubbed Captain Thunder) was one of these knock-offs created by Fawcett Comics in 1940. All was well until Captain Thunder began to outsell Superman. DC Comics took Fawcett to court for copyright infringement which, to make a long story short, was settled outside of court with Fawcett paying damages to DC and stating in a contract that he would no longer use the character Captain Marvel. Later DC Comics acquired the license to Captain Marvel in the Silver Age and changed his name (because there was already a Captain Marvel with more prominence) the rest is history.

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 3. Shazam is both the name of the wizard who gave him his powers and an acronym.

Shazam is a mysterious wizard who is more akin to a demigod than a wizard. He lived for several millennia and still lives on, though not in physical form.

The name is also an acronym— S.H.A.Z.A.M— representing each of the legendary figures he derives his powers from. The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. While he does possess many of these powers still, you'll find that the magical component is what is most elaborated in modern conceptions of him.

 

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  1. In the Golden Age of comics in the 1940s, Shazam was the most popular superhero (even more than Superman, who is totally overrated).

Comic books had two ages wherein they sold millions of copies and sales were incredibly high. The first was the Golden Age during World War II and the second was the Silver Age between the mid-1950s and around 1970.  He was even more popular than Batman. During the Golden Age, Shazam was the most popular superhero that ever graced the pages of printed comics.

Captain Marvel comics sold regularly more than a million comics each month, today even best-selling comics only sell about 100,000. 

 

 

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  1. Because he has magic-based powers, he has an edge over Superman.

There are few things that Superman is weak to. One, of course, is Kryptonite, the mineral from Superman's home planet that deprives him of his powers. The other? Magic. Superman has a weakness toward magic and that just so happens to be Billy's greatest strength. I'm not really a fan of Superman and I never have been, so it is nice to see Superman get whacked around sometimes for being a morally upright and boring character. I must say, Billy's greatest weakness can be his immaturity and that can cause a lot of problems for him in battle.

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  1. His nemesis is cool too.

Teth-Adam aka Black Adam is one of the coolest supervillains in the DC universe. Adam was, as his name suggests, the first one to receive mighty powers (though not from the wizard Shazam). He's ruthless, powerful, and has an agenda of vengeance against the great wizard Shazam. As such, his first goal is to take out Shazam's hero of justice, Billy Batson. The recent reboot of Shazam! has an even juicier origin story. I look forward to seeing where DC will take Billy and I hope that they won't ruin him.

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 Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7