Posts Tagged ‘Shazam’

Posted Monday, August 16th, 2021 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

If this cover looks familiar, it should. We’ve used it before for various non-holidays, but maybe none more important than the unofficial week we are commemorating:  Elvis Week.

Elvis pre-dated Captain Marvel by a few years; the King of Rock n’ Roll was born Jan. 8, 1935. Shazam was created in 1939 and first appeared in Whiz Comics issue two cover dated February 1940.

What do the two have in common?

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

Their blue-black hair. The mid-sized cape. Their popularity in pop culture.

Arguably Elvis Presley would outshine his superpowered hero in this day and age, but there was a time when the Big Red Cheese even out shown Superman.

So popular was Captain Marvel, even Elvis admired the two-dimensional C.C. Beck and Bill Parker creation.

An avid reader Shazam reader, Elvis would later take the hair color and recreate it for his own persona. The cape was another swipe.

Shazam’s popularity was originally such DC Comics filed suit against Fawcett Comics. The legal battle waged in the court system for over a decade. Fawcett finally ceased publication of all comic books in 1953 and paid DC $400,000 in damages.

Captain Marvel became Shazam in 1972 when DC Comics brought the character into their stable of heroes. Marvel Comics had already established another hero of the same name almost a decade earlier.

Never forgetting his childhood idol, Elvis chose to adopt the hair and cape styles as his star rose. For the hair he used Miss Clariol 51D, “Black Velvet.”

Nearly 10 years after his exile to Hollywood, the legendary performer began appearing live on stage in 1969. He would fulfill his movie contract and return to the stage full time, performing until his untimely death on Aug. 15, 1977.

This week has been set aside to allow fans to remember Elvis for his talent and Dixie-dipped baritone that still resonates in the annals of rock n’ roll.

Fans commemorate the week in Memphis with a reunion, dance party, 5K run, auctions, concerts, memorial services, tours of Graceland, a candlelight vigil and more.

The Elvis Presley Estate from Graceland Mansion in Memphis, TN, hosts Elvis Week annually.

Elvis released 72 albums under his RCA label including 18 movie soundtracks, four gospel LPs, three Christmas records, six live albums, six gold record compilations and 21 theme LPs.

Posted Friday, August 13th, 2021 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1940) 93

Finishing out National Hobo Week is Captain Marvel, aka Shazam, in Whiz Comics 93.

Protagonist Hunky returns to his life on the rails after fearing his wife and child are lost in a house fire. Captain Marvel sets out to find the missing husband after said wife and child are found safe and sound in the basement of the burnt house.

This is pure 1940s hayseed. Hunky is initially seen bolting from the burning house setting up the story by screaming his family has perished and he has nothing to live for.

In the meantime, as stated, both are found in the basement and saved by Captain Marvel. They, in turn, ask the Big Red Cheese to find the missing man of the house.

Seeking the aid of other hobos, he is first being rebuffed as an outsider. Captain Marvel returns dressed in tattered clothing and is accepted and set on the path to find Hunky the hobo. The man in question evades the hero for the bulk of the story, but eventually is found sleeping behind a road sign and given the good news.

Hobo-dom is not as romantic as many writings may make the lifestyle. A hobo is a traveling worker, not a tramp or bum who only work when needed or don’t work at all.

The term hobo was originally recognized in 1890. Various explanations are given for how hobo originated. Some believe it was derived by “hoe-boy” or farm hand. It may also have come from “Ho, boy,” as a greeting. It is also believed to have been a shortened form of “homeward bound.”

Life as a hobo was transient and violent at times. Some lost limbs while attempting to hop trains, while others lost their lives. Railroad security would roust hobos with any means necessary. There was the fear of being crushed between train cars, freezing to death and starvation.

National Hobo Week is highlighted by the town of Britt, Iowa, who host the perennial National Hobo Convention the second weekend of August.

Whiz Comics (1940) 93

Posted Saturday, February 13th, 2021 by Barry

Shazam (1972) 1

For the cheese enthusiasts out there prepare to celebrate, today is National Cheddar Day.

The birthday boy is a native of Cheddar in Somerset, England.

Shazam (1972) 1

Shazam (1972) 1

No, lie.

Cheddar is so popular it accounts for about a third of all cheese sales in the United States. Half the sales in the United Kingdom are cheddar.

The (non) holiday hails from Tillamook County, Oregon, where the cows outnumber the humans. It’s a relative newcomer to the calendar of days Hallmark doesn’t recognize. The first event was held Feb. 13, 2019.

Maybe of more interest is the history of our mascot, the Big Red Cheese himself:  Shazam.

While the character began at Fawcett Publishing in 1940 under the moniker Captain Marvel, he’s better known these days as a house hero for DC Comics.

How Shazam came into the DC fold has already been covered at Four Color.

Focusing on his reemergence, Shazam returned to spin racks in late 1972 with his self-titled book. Superman buried the hatchet with his former rival and appeared side-by-side on the cover, introducing the Big Red Cheese to a new era of comic book reader.

Not long after his return to the comic book world, Shazam became part of Saturday morning television in a live-action series by Filmation. The series ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS. In in 1975 Shazam became a double feature with The Secrets of Isis.

Later the character would appear as part of Hanna-Barbera Productions Legends of the Superheroes in 1979.

Filmation optioned Shazam for an animated series on NBC from 1981 to 1982.

The former Captain Marvel remained in the DC animated universe appearing in animated films Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Justice League: The New Frontier. In 2010 Superman and Shazam teamed for an animated short in The Return of Black Adam.

His 2019 feature film earned $74 million at the box office after expenses.

Oh, and if you’ve read this far and aren’t aware, Shazam was christened The Big Red Cheese by arch nemesis Dr. Sivana. Hence, he’s our ambassador du jour.

Posted Thursday, February 11th, 2021 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

February 11 is the day we commemorate the people who have made our lives easier, more interesting or just plain cool. February 11 is National Inventors’ Day. A day to remember those who allowed us to fly, to communicate with anyone anywhere on Earth and beyond, to allow Jeff and I into your homes without worrying about cleaning the bathroom or put out finger foods before our visit.

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

The inventors we want to remember are not as keen on advancing mankind. They prefer their own personal advancement. Normally associated with world domination.

Today Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is in the spotlight.

For those unfamiliar with the multi-syllabic honoree, he is Captain Marvel/Shazam’s arch villain. Much like Batman’s main nemesis, the Joker, Doctor Sivana shared his debut in the shade of Captain Marvel’s in Whiz Comics 2.

He would continue to co-star as Fawcett’s most notorious bad guy, appearing in half of Marvel’s adventures. That included the first four of the Captain’s stories.

Sivana wasn’t born bad. He became embittered when big business blocked his every attempt to help humanity.

The doctor followed Marvel from Fawcett to National Comics in 1972.

He continued to be a force in the DCU surviving Crisis on Infinite Earths and Final Crisis. In the New 52 Sivana is different in that he pursues magic to aid in his scientific endeavors. And, after the DC Rebirth, became  a resident of the Rock Falls Penitentiary following continued battles with the Marvels.

Back to reality.

To properly observe National Inventors’ Day, recognize someone who has made your life easier. Research who made the world wide web a reality. There will be many answers. Or, whatever invention you can’t live without. It’s origins stem from somewhere.

Those so inclined may use the day as inspiration to become part of the society celebrated today. Explore and expand. See what game changer you can create.

When you need a break, learn from the hard-earned lessons presented by Doctor Sivana.

Posted Friday, September 4th, 2020 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

In case any readers out there still remember what a newspaper is, today is National Newspaper Carrier Day.

Standard bearer for the day will be Billy Batson, aka Captain Marvel.

Not that Captain Marvel.

The one who starred in Shazam.

Captain Marvel was created by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. Fawcett Comics debuted The Big Red Cheese on the cover of Whiz Comics issue 2 and within a couple years was the best-selling super hero of the 1940s. Even more so than Superman.

Captain Marvel is the alter ego of newsboy Billy Batson. A wizard bestowed the ability to gain the combined best attributes of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury by saying his name: Shazam.

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Design of Captain Marvel was based on the late actor Fred MacMurray. Whiz Comics issue two was published in late 1939 with the Captain as the headliner. His main foil, Doctor Sivana also premiered in this issue.

In 1941 Republic Pictures presented a serial, the Adventures of Captain Marvel.

Detective Comics, better known as DC Comics today, filed a lawsuit against Fawcett in 1941 citing Captain Marvel was too similar to their bread winner, Superman. It wasn’t until 1948 the case actually saw the inside of a courtroom. Captain Marvel was found to be a near clone, but DC was also found to have been negligent in copyright laws allowing Superman, and his concept, to fall under public domain.

Fawcett won the decision passed down in 1951.

DC appealed and the initial verdict was overruled. The Captain Marvel character was not found to be an infringement, though certain of his characteristics could be considered infringements. The matter would have to be retried.

Rather than continue the endless litigation, Fawcett settled with DC out of court. In 1953, they agreed to cease publication of super hero comic books and paid $400,000 in damages.

Fawcett closed its doors that same year.

DC obtained the rights to Captain Marvel and, under the leadership of Carmine Infantino, brought him back to the four-colored page in 1972. Marvel Comics had grabbed the unused Captain Marvel moniker meaning DC now had to use Shazam as the book’s title.

Initially, the book was called Shazam! with the sub-title The Original Captain Marvel, but the cross-town rival took umbrage and filed a cease and desist order. The subtitle was changed to The World’s Mightiest Mortal with issue 15.

Though never regaining the popularity he enjoyed in the 1940s, Marvel and family have endured through each of DC’s crises and incarnations. Most recently the good Captain starred in own self-titled movie that grossed $364 million world-wide. A sequel is in production.

To celebrate today, add something special for your carrier’s delivery route.

Posted Monday, December 16th, 2019 by Barry

Merry Christmas from the Marvels

This Christmas card is from the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel, and doubled as the cover for Captain Marvel Adventures (1941 ) no. 19. CC Beck. Beck was the original artist for Marvel/Shazam and did the honors. This image is from the yeti speaks! Web site. Visit his site for more Seasonal Salutations from the comic book world.

Posted Friday, March 2nd, 2018 by Barry

Batman the Outsider

For many Christmas is not the happiest time of the year as the incomparable Alex Ross depicts in what could be one of the saddest illustrations of Batman I’ve ever seen.
The only thing that could make this scene sorrier is if Ross had used the Detroit-era Justice League.

Looking In

Looking In