If you have landed on this particular post then you are probably here looking for information about Shazam!; specifically the answer to the question: Who is Shazam?
Well, if you are not so familiar with the comic book/movie super hero then you might want to read on, for I have the answers. I have many answers.
Who is Shazam?
Shazam is a comic book super hero appearing in comics and graphic novels published by DC Comics. The character was created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck and made his debut in 1939.
Who is Shazam’s alter-ego?
Shazam is the alter-ego of Billy Batson, a young boy who transforms into an adult super hero upon uttering the magic phrase ‘SHAZAM!’
The phrase ‘SHAZAM!’ is an acronym, which references six different mythical beings: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.
So, Shazam is really a kid?
Although Shazam is an adult super hero, in essence he remains a kid at heart. Basically, when Billy utters the phrase ‘SHAZAM!’, his physical appearance changes to look like an adult.
Hmm… think of him as being a bit like Tom Hanks’ character, Josh Baskin in the movie Big (1988). He is a kid inhabiting an adult’s body.
Has Shazam always appeared in comics published by DC Comics?
Originally, the character appeared in comics published by Fawcett Comics. During the 1970s, the character was licensed to DC and he has remained with the company ever since.
Hey wait a minute, wasn’t Shazam called Captain Marvel?
Yes – originally Shazam was called Captain Marvel – but this has nothing to do with the Marvel Comics comics character of the same name.
So, Shazam was once called Captain Marvel… but he isn’t the Captain Marvel that is a Marvel Comics character?
Yes. Here’s where things may get a little confusing…
Originally, Shazam was called Captain Marvel and appeared in comics published by Fawcett and then DC. However, Marvel Comics were less than enthused about the idea of a rival comic book company utilising the name Captain Marvel, so some legal toing and froing took place to convince DC to stop using the name.
After much discussion an arrangement was made whereby DC could continue to utilise the name Captain Marvel, but only in the pages of the comics – not on the cover etc. So while the character went by the name of Captain Marvel in the comics, the title of those comics was changed to Shazam!.
So why is he now called Shazam?
The arrangement remained in place until 2011 when DC decided it was all getting a little too confusing and completely dropped the name Captain Marvel.
Put simply, lots of people assumed the character was called Shazam, so it made little sense to keep calling him Captain Marvel.
Was there any other reason for the name change?
Changing the character’s name also helped to distance the character from Marvel’s very own Captain Marvel who received her first solo movie in 2019 (the same year a Shazam movie was released). Imagine if DC and Marvel had both tried to release Captain Marvel movies in 2019 – it would have been a marketing nightmare!
Hang on a minute – isn’t there also a wizard called Shazam?
Yes. Billy Batson was given his abilities from a wizard called Shazam.
What?! How many Shazam’s are there?!
I told you it was a little confusing. There are two characters and a phrase.
- Shazam (the wizard) gave Billy Batson the ability to transform into a super hero
- Billy utters the magic word ‘SHAZAM!’ to initiate the transformation
- Billy becomes a super hero called Shazam
So that’s The Wizard Shazam, the super hero Shazam and the magical phrase SHAZAM!
OK, so answer me this – why is Shazam more goofy than say Batman or Superman?
Shazam was always designed as a more colourful character; he’s kind of like Superman but with a child’s sense of wonder. So when it comes to comics, movies and any other adaptation, Shazam is always meant to be a little brighter than other heroes. In fact, in the comics his nickname is the big red cheese!
Oh and as Shazam is secretly a kid, he actually looks up to Superman and his fellow super heroes as a source of inspiration. He also hangs around with a kid called Freddy.
Hang on, who is Freddy?
Freddy Freeman is Billy Batson’s foster brother. In the comics, Freddy also has abilities and can transform into Captain Marvel Jr.! He’s part of the Marvel Family.
There’s a Marvel family?!
Yeah, there’s a few characters that exhibit similar powers to Shazam. And don’t even get me started on the talking tiger.
There’s a talking tiger?!
Yep – Mister Tawky Tawny, an anthropomorphic tiger who occasionally appears in comics about Shazam. He doesn’t have powers, but he is a talking tiger!
There’s also a talking worm. Don’t ask.
What else do I need to know?
Shazam has had his fair share of legal battles over the years and a bit of a bumpy publishing history, but outside of this he’s a really cool character. He’s meant to be colourful, he’s meant to be optimistic and he’s meant to be a bit dorky – so embrace who he is!
I hope this information about Shazam has proved useful. For more posts, take a look around It’s A Stampede! or check out one of the recommended reads below.