Friday, February 09, 2007

Shazam Thing

Shazam ATMSOE_01

So I see that Jeff Smith is a fan of Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose. Issue #36 in particular.

I kid, I kid. I always open a Shazam title with trepidation, because creators are often trapped by the original concept of the character. Shazam is often seen as a children's book and the 70s revival didn't do anything to change that perception. Most of the stories seem to be this odd mixture of what someone thinks a post Comics Code Authority C.C. Beck story is like mixed with 70s camp. There is also this "hands off" policy that seems to be applied to the Marvel Family, with the feeling being that if they are changed to be contemporary (grim and gritty) then it will forever ruin the characters as a viable property.

I enjoyed the first issue of Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith. Hopefully when this series is completed DC will get around to collecting the original Golden Age story in a trade because I hear it is a classic tale. There were a couple of interesting twists to the first chapter of the story by Smith. The Billy/Marvel dynamic is presented differently and could be interesting. The idea of the host hero has been done before (Specter, etc) but I will wait and see what Jeff Smith pulls out of his sleeve for this. Billy and Mary are portrayed nearly as toddlers, which would go far to explain the the naive aspect of the characters more and makes their cheesy innocence as heroes understandable. The Power Pack series did this in their original run at Marvel, though I doubt Jeff Smith will allow the Marvel Family to lose their innocence like the Power children did. I've always seen the Marvel Family as the avatars of good magic in the DCU. Someone has to be the nice guys because they are intimately tied into the spirit of the universe, which in the DCU isn't an uncaring thing, it is alive and tries to take care of its occupants.

On another note, if I had been allowed to write the Shazam mini series it would have turned out with an entirely different vision.
Shazam Thing



  1. LOL! Nice Photoshopping there, Sleestak!

    It occured to me that, instead of "Shazam" or "Alan Moore", you could also cram "Ian McKellan as Galdalf!" in the word balloon.

  2. The host hero has been done before- by Captain Marvel! As writer Paul Tobin made clear to me, a big Fawcett storyline had Billy trying to get a birthday present for the Captain, who was very clearly a separate entity.

    I WISH creators would feel trapped by the original concept of the character, it's pure escapism and the kind of thing that made me love comic books. Now we get a series where we don't even see the characters in costume for several issues.


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