Shazam (comics)


Shazam (comics)

Superherobox|

caption=The wizard Shazam in a portion of a panel from "Action Comics" #826 (June 2005), art by Ian Churchill.
character_name=Shazam
publisher=Fawcett Comics (1939–1953)
DC Comics (1972–present)
debut="Whiz Comics" #2 (February 1940)
creators= C. C. Beck
Bill Parker
alter_ego=Jebediah of Canaan
alliances=Marvel Family
Squadron of Justice
The Quintessence
aliases=The Champion, Jebediah O' Keenan
powers=Magically bestowed superhuman strength, speed, stamina and courage.
Invulnerability
Nigh-omnipotent mastery of magic and mysticism.
Omnipresent and omniscient
Telepathy|

Shazam is a comic book character created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck for Fawcett Comics. He is an ancient wizard ("Whiz Comics" #2 gives his age as 3,000 years) who gives young Billy Batson the power to transform into the superhero Captain Marvel. Because DC Comics has billed Captain Marvel's adventures under the name "Shazam!" since 1973, the superhero is often mistakenly referred to by his mentor's name.

Fictional character biography

Creating Captain Marvel

Shazam informs Billy that he has been using his powers for many centuries to fight the forces of evil, but that he is now old and not long for this world. He therefore passes along part of his power to Billy, who shouts his name — "SHAZAM!" — to transform into Captain Marvel. Although Shazam is killed—as prophesied—by a giant granite block falling upon him, Billy/Marvel can summon the ghost of Shazam for guidance by lighting a special brazier (a torch like apparatus) in Shazam's lair, the Rock of Eternity. More superheroes soon joined Marvel in carrying on the legacy of Shazam, including Marvel Family members Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr. and the Lieutenants Marvel, including the "Black Marvel family," formerly consisting of Black Adam, Isis, and Osiris.

Origin

When Billy first meets him, Shazam tells Billy that his name is an acronym for six Greco-Roman deities and heroes, and Judeo-Christian prophets. These deities empower him with certain attributes::*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.

In a story written by E. Nelson Bridwell for "World's Finest Comics" #262 (cover date April/May 1980) Shazam's origins are further explored. This gave him a back-story in which he was a young shepherd who becomes the Champion, one of the world's first superheroes in ancient Canaan over 5,000 years ago, by speaking the magic word "VLAREM!". Vlarem (an anagram of "Marvel") represented the following fictional gods who granted him power:

At one point, the Champion is seduced by a demoness disguised as a beautiful woman, and the two of them conceive two half-demon offspring, Blaze and Satanus, much to the displeasure of the gods. The Champion later creates the Rock of Eternity from two large rock formations — one from Heaven and one from Hell — to hold the "Three Faces of Evil", a dragon-like demon, captive.

Many centuries later, the Champion, now going by the name of Shazam, feels the need to pass along his powers to a successor. He selects the pharaoh's son Teth-Adam to receive the power to become the super-powered Mighty-Adam by speaking the word "SHAZAM!" Black Adam draws his energies from::*The stamina of Shu;:*The speed of Heru;:*The strength of Amon;:*The wisdom of Zehuti;:*The power of Aton; and:*The courage of Mehen.

As her mother did, Shazam's daughter Blaze takes on the form of a beautiful woman and seduces Adam, convincing him to kill the pharaoh and take over the kingdom. An angry Shazam draws Mighty-Adam's powers out of him and into a large jeweled scarab, thereby killing Adam. A wicked re-incarnation of Teth-Adam named Theo Adam would steal the scarab many centuries later, and use the power of Shazam to become Black Adam.

Millennia later, the wizard resurfaces as an aide on the 1940 Malcolm Expedition, one of many archaeological expeditions into the tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt. The sarcophagi of Ibis the Invincible and his mate Princess Taia are uncovered and brought to the United States. Shazam keeps an eye on the sarcophagi and, once they are on display at the Fawcett City Museum, uses ancient spells to resurrect Ibis. Ibis then joins Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Minute-Man and others to fight evil during the World War II era. In 1955, a thug knocks Shazam across the head with a crowbar and causes him to lose his memory.

A clueless Shazam wanders around Fawcett for the next 40 years until C.C. Batson, a young man Shazam had met on the Malcolm Expedition, recognizes the old man and brings him to the museum to restore his memory. Shazam feels that he has truly found his successor in the upstanding Batson, but before he can act on this, a possessed Theo Adam murders Batson and his wife Marilyn. He therefore decides to enlist C.C. Batson's young son, Billy, as the successor to his power.

"Day of Vengeance"

In "Superman" #216, Shazam calls upon the Spectre to free Superman from being controlled by the demon Eclipso. This action breaks a covenant between Eclipso and the Spectre, and sets Eclipso permanently at odds with the wizard. Possessing the body of Jean Loring, the Atom's ex-wife, Eclipso corrupts the confused Spectre into joining forces with her, and begins a war against all magic-powered beings in the DC Universe.

Because of his previous action, Shazam is one of the duo's primary targets. In the "Day of Vengeance" miniseries, Shazam enlists Captain Marvel to keep the Spectre at bay, while the wizard gathers all of his power to battle him. With the assistance of the newly formed Shadowpact, a band of magic-based heroes, Captain Marvel fights the Spectre nearly to a standstill, but the Spectre escapes and makes his way to the Rock of Eternity to confront Shazam directly. The Spectre overpowers the wizard, absorbs his magics, and kills him. As a result, the Rock of Eternity disintegrates above Gotham City into "a billion pieces" and explodes, freeing the Seven Deadly Sins and sending a de-powered Billy Batson falling into the city.

In "Infinite Crisis" #1, Billy finds he is still able to transform into the Captain before he strikes the ground by saying the wizard's name as usual. It is also revealed that the entire affair was orchestrated by Alexander Luthor and the Psycho-Pirate to reduce magic to its raw form, enabling him to harness it through one of Shazam's champions (namely Black Adam) to fuel his tower.

In "Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special", it is revealed that the Shadowpact teams up with the majority of the DCU's surviving magical characters to rebuild the Rock of Eternity and reseal the Seven Deadly Sins. The final piece of the reconstruction, revealed by Zatanna, is that a new wizard has to be appointed to guard the Rock. Billy, as the only real candidate, is chosen to succeed Shazam as the Rock's new caretaker.

In the comic series "52", Captain Marvel is revealed to be currently headquartered at the Rock of Eternity, acting in Shazam's stead.

"The Trials of Shazam!"

A year after the events of "Infinite Crisis", the miniseries "The Trials of Shazam!" features Captain Marvel, now with a white costume and long white hair, taking over the role of the wizard Shazam under the name "Marvel" while a powerless Freddy Freeman attempts to prove himself worthy to take on the powers of Shazam.

Also attempting the Trials is Sabina who, with the assistance of The Council of Merlin, manages to gain several of the Powers of Shazam before Freeman can. At the series finale, Sabina and the Council of Merlin seek audience with Merlin himself, and convince him to aid them in an assault on New York City that would send the magical world out of balance. Merlin opens a portal through which several demons appear and begin converting humans to their ranks, the intention being that if one million souls are taken, Zeus will be forced to give his power to Sabina. The Justice League arrive to join the fight and Freddy battles Sabina herself, but is seemingly beaten. However, During the fight, Freddy Freeman proves that he is willing to sacrifice himself by attempting to force both Sabina and himself back through the portal that the demons emerged from; an act that would end the assault, destroy the powers of Shazam, and kill both of them. Witnessing Freddy's willingness to die so that magical balance can be restored, Zeus, who had been disguised throughout the series as Freddy's friend, reveals himself and informs Freddy that he is the most worthy, granting him the full power of Shazam. Freddy says the word aloud and the lightning comes down, transforming him into Shazam. Sabina is forced through the portal and killed, and the demons disappear or turn back into humans.

In this new incarnation, Shazam looks essentially like the original Captain Marvel, only with Freeman's long hair.

Other Media

*Shazam appeared in The Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial from the 1940s, where he was played by actor Nigel De Brulier.
*Although Shazam doesn't appear in the Shazam! television series, all of the elders that he got his powers from do appear; Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
*Shazam is referenced in Legends of the Superheroes by Captain Marvel, when he tells the Riddler that his powers came from "an ancient wizard."
*Shazam will appear in the upcoming video game Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.marvelfamily.com/whoswho/whoswho.asp?castid=2 Marvel Family Web entry on the wizard Shazam]


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