Curator

The Superhero Show: 6 Actors Who Could Play Shazam

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I try to leave the Shazam movie discussion to others who are better qualified but I thought this video from IGN‘s The Superhero Show might be of interest to Shazamcast readers.

The last good idea I had on this front was to cast Logan Lerman as Billy Batson but, considering Lerman is now 23 years old, that ship has sailed.

So, what do you think about IGN’s choices?  I guess the only non-negotiable (in my heart anyway) is “John Cena?  Are you kidding?”

Curator

All I Want for Christmas is a Captain Marvel On-Going Series

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Comics Alliance has released their list of Characters Most in Need of a Solo Book in 2016.  They’ve rightly picked Shazm, née Captain Marvel.  And look which books and creator they point to as models for the suggested on-going:

I can’t claim to be a long-time fan of DC’s Captain Marvel. In a universe that already has a Superman, he always felt like a slightly goofy spare to me. But in the past twelve months, I’ve read two comics that changed my mind: Multiversity’s Thunderworld Adventures and Convergence: Shazam. The artists on each series — Cameron Stewart and Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner — offer up different but equally simple takes on the character, all square-jawed heroism and joyously improbable strongman muscles. The Shazam series — easily the best thing to come out of Convergence — played up the simple bright appeal of the characters even further, by contrasting the incredibly crisp reds and yellows of Jordie Bellaire’s colours with the darkness of Gotham by Gaslight.

So now I’d love to see a Shazam series drawn by Shaner, one that goes to the bright, silly places that modern Superman comics often fear to tread, ideally with Mr Mind as the recurring big bad. I mean, a psychic mastermind caterpillar — what’s not to like? [Alex Spencer]

In a word, yes.  Even Spencer, someone who confesses himself not a fan of the character, gets the appeal of the character which Stewart and Shaner both tapped into and continued in their respective works.  Both Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam were unembarrassed by the character’s light-hearted history while also carrying that light-heartedness forward without being trapped by what had already been done.  (TL;DR – they wrote a historically faithful version of the character that was a blast to read in a contemporary context.)

Thunderworld

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So again, yes, what is needed this year is a Shazam on-going.  Come on Santa DC – make it happen for all of us volunteer members of the Marvel Family.  Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men might not be in your reach but giving Cap a chance to shine certainly is.

Curator

Shazam’s New Patron Gods

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NewPatrons-Small

Lachlan Hibbert-Wells of the wonderful Ask the DC Multiverse Historian Blog has posted on Reddit what is definitively the best introduction I’ve seen yet to Captain Marvel Shazam’s new patron gods.  Be sure to follow the link to Reddit above and upvote his comment if you are a redditor and check out his blog.

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DC Gods

  • S’ivaa: An ‘Old God’ – as in the ones that came before the New Gods – and the new source of Shazam’s strength. From the DC Wiki:

After the death of the Old Gods and before the rise of the new, there was a time when monstrous shadow elementals walked he cosmos. The last of them remaining is S’ivaa, the Dancer of destruction, a powerful monster whose dance could destroy the universe. When the New Gods came to power, S’ivaa fell asleep under the eternal sea on New Genesis, there sleeping undisturbed for eons.

When Darkseid corrupted the Source S’ivaa awoke, and immediately proceeded to carry out his purpose. With all the Gods either powerless or uncaring due to the madness in the Source, S’ivaa made way to the middle point between Apokolips and New Genesis. There, he began his dance of destruction, which, when completed, would tear apart the fabric of space and time. To battle him, Highfather called upon Superman and Orion to stall S’ivaa, while himself and Darkseid sought to breach the Source and undo the damage Darkseid has done.

Eventually, S’ivaa was defeated when Superman and Orion tossed him through a hole in space he himself created, hurling him to the rupture in the Source Wall created by Highfather and Darkseid. S’ivaa was pulled into the Source Wall, becoming a part of it forever.

  • H’ronmeer: A Martian God of fire – you’ll probably have heard Martian Manhunter mention him – and the soure of Shazam’s new fire powers, which might also be linked to how he still flies somehow.

H’ronmeer is recognized as one of the more powerful and active Gods within the Martian pantheon.

The Green Martians are not always in agreement concerning H’ronmeer’s true motives and function. Some factions consider him the God of Death and Fire, while others consider him the God of Light and Life.

As H’ronmeer is a God of Death, he may function as an analog, or even an aspect of The Endless entity known as Death. Many members of the Endless are recognized by different names in different alien cultures. Death’s little brother, Dream, for example is known as the Martian God of dreams, L’zoril. It stands to reason then, that H’ronmeer actually is Death, albeit in a different form.

  • Zonuz: Another Old God, in fact the last of them, and along with being Darkseid’s father he’s also now the source of Shazam’s ‘source of manipulation’

Zonuz was the last Old God, original wielder of the Torment Sanction and the first God of Evil who adopted the name Yuga Khan. He also wielded the Anti-Life at one point in his life.

Reanimating the Old Gods his son murdered, Yuga Khan was decided to eliminate the New Gods so the Old Gods never die, but his children joined against him and was ultimately slain by the resentful, power-hungry Uxas while he was about to kill Izaya, his first-born son and Uxas’ older brother.

Real World Gods

  • Ate – A real world god from Greek mythology who is now the one that grants Shazam his ‘boldness’. From Wikipedia:

Atë is the Greek goddess of mischief, delusion, ruin, and folly. Até also refers to the action performed by a hero, usually because of hubris, that often leads to his or her death or downfall. Mythology personifies Atë as the daughter either of Zeus or of Eris.

  • Anapel – a Goddess of reincarnation worshipped by the Koryak people in Siberia, Russia. More obscure than the rest, she’s now the source of Shazam’s compassion. From Wikipedia:

Her name means “Little Grandmother” in the Koryak language. She was worshipped at ceremonies following the birth of a new child.

  • Mamaragan – A lightning God from Australian Aboriginal mythology, and now the source of Shazam’s lightning but, more interestingly, it’s revealed this is the true identity of the Wizard who chose Billy (and who, until the name switch post-Flashpoint, was known as the Wizard Shazam).

In Australian Aboriginal mythology, Mamaragan or Namarrkun is a lightning god who speaks with thunder as his voice. He rides a storm-butt and throws lightning bolts to humans and trees. He lives in a puddle.

Curator

As Mentioned in Episode 4 – Review of the Justice League: Darkseid War Shazam One-Shot

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Listen to the Episode HERE!

1. Go Get This IssueJustice League: Darkseid War – Shazam #1

2. Interview: C.C. Beck by Tom Heintjes for Hogan’s Alley Magazine (This is Really Worth Reading in Its Entirety)

When I looked at the first Captain Marvel story, I knew at once that here was a story worth illustrating. It had a beginning, a carefully constructed development of plot and characters leading to a climax and an ending, and nothing else. There was no pointless flying around and showing off, no padding, no “Look, Ma, I’m a superhero!” Out of 72 panels, Captain Marvel appeared in 18, or one-fourth… Without Bill Batson, Captain Marvel would have been merely another overdrawn, one-dimensional figure in a ridiculous costume, running around beating up crooks and performing meaningless feats of strength like all the other heroic figures of the time who were, with almost no exceptions, cheap imitations of Superman. In fact, I have always felt that flying figures in picture form are silly and unbelievable, and I would much sooner have never drawn them, but the publisher insisted on them. Most of the time Captain Marvel’s ability to fly had little or nothing to do with the plots of the stories in which he appeared.

3. Tweet from Writer Steve Orlando Regarding Mars/Malecandra

It was really kind of Orlando to reply and there is more to the conversation if you want to go read it all.

4. Go Check Out Ryan Daly’s Comic and Pop Culture Blogs

Follow Ryan on Twitter

The Secret Origins PodcastBlog / iTunes – Start with Episode #3 🙂

Flowers & Fishnets: A Black Canary PodcastBlog / iTunes – Episode 18 has the Shazamcast! shout out I mentioned.

Dead Bothan Spies: A Star Wars PodcastBlog / iTunes

G.I. Joe: A Real American Headcast – BlogiTunes

4. For Real: Get This Issue – If Only for the Final Splashpage of Shazam

The headshot above is cropped from that final splash; really gorgeous work.  And, once you get the issue, let me know if you think that final splash indicates that Captain Marvel… er, Shazam, is flying (in contradiction to the earlier in-story implication that he cannot fly).

Curator

Episode 04 – Review of the Justice League: Darkseid War Shazam One-Shot

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Episode 04 – Review of the Justice League: Darkseid War Shazam One-Shot

This brief episode of the Shazamcast focuses on the recently released Justice League: Darkseid War Shazam #1 One-Shot.  Despite some weaknesses, this issue turns out to be one of the best of all the Darkseid War one-shots as well as a stand-out single-issue. Join us for the details!

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Today is the Day: The Shazam Darkseid War One Shot Releases

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Way back 16 days ago we got word from creator Steve Orlando that Earth’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel – alias: Shazam – was getting his own one-shot issue as part of the Justice League’s Darkseid:War storyline.

After that intolerably long wait we can finally snag a copy at your local comic book store or digitally.

I can’t help but urge you to pick this one up and right away.  As you know, raising Captain Marvel’s profile is the major aim of the Shazamcast! and there is no better way to convince DC to give us more Captain Marvel stories than to demonstrate there is money to be had in the venture.

If you need extra motivation check out the following links then head out to get your copy!

Preview Monday: JUSTICE LEAGUE: DARKSEID WAR: SHAZAM! #1

Steve Orlando Talks Redesigning Shazam’s Pantheon For His Justice League: Darkseid War One-Shot

Curator

Brokenhearted: We Almost Had a Marvel Family Ongoing???

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Fam

Yeah, I chose brokenhearted for a reason. I just got alerted to CBR’s article about the Morrison, Waid, and Simone Marvel Family ongoing that almost was but now never will be.

What an incredible concept:

“The idea was, three features, rotating the lead story; Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Mary Marvel,” Simone explained of the unproduced book. “Grant Morrison would write Jr., Mark Waid would write Cap, and I would write Mary Marvel.”

“I mean, how freaking cool would that be? Mark Waid on Cap, Grant on Jr? That would be the best DC book ever,” said Simone. “That is one of the few real regrets I have for a project that didn’t quite happen.”

No joke: I would have bought this title if only for Simone’s take on Mary Marvel:

“The thing is, I love Mary Marvel for some very specific reasons,” Simone explained. “I love the entire Marvel family because I think they are the best wish story in comics. They are poor, abandoned orphans with no one, and they are granted all the power in the world with a magic word. A word anyone reading could say.”

“And they don’t use their power to be grim dickheads, they use it to be kind and charming and to stop bullies and oppressors,” she continued. “More than that, quite specifically, Mary Marvel was always one of the few girl heroes who actually behaved like a girl.”

“I can’t stress what a big deal that was. So many young girls oversexualized or endlessly, shallowly aggressive in comics. But Mary had that early Peter Parker thing where she actually dealt with being young in a different, believable way.”

Not only would I have bought this title with giddiness I would have purchased additional copies of every issue for my daughters.

We were this close… and that makes New 52 Billy, The Curse of Shazam, and all the rest that has gone wrong so, so, so much worse by comparison.

If anyone needs me I’ll be at my desk trying to unknot my stomach…

Curator

Favorite Ordway Power of Shazam Cover

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I’m posting this just for some gratuitous enjoyment of good art featuring [a verson of] Earth’s Mightiest Mortal.

Yes, I realize this shot, taken from Power of Shazam #26, is of an alternate world.  It is gorgeous nonetheless and is my favorite cover among the very rich crop of selections from Ordway’s run.

Is it too much to ask for a year’s worth of Elseworlds issues coming from this world?  I propose the name Earth-Awesomest for the designation.

Ordway

Curator

Reddit Discussions of the Captain Marvel Trademark Proposal

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Reddit Discussions of the Captain Marvel Trademark Proposal

Yesterday was a big day for this website; hits exceeded, by far, anything recorded until now.

Most of those hits came from the places on Reddit where I posted links to Carl Shinyama’s argument about Marvel and DC sharing the Captain Marvel trademark.

If you are interested in reading those discussions you can find them at the following links.  And yeah, I accidentally wrote copyright rather than trademark the first two times I posted links on Reddit.  Sorted from most comments to least:

DC Subreddit: Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Copyright?

Marvel Subreddit: Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Copyright?

Comic Books Subreddit: Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark?

Shazam Subreddit: Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark (no comments at the time of this writing).

Curator

Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark

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Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark

So fundamental to being a fan of DC’s Captain Marvel is the copyright issue I chose that subject as the first post for this website.  Really, despite the longevity and commercial appeal of this character, there is no factor more controlling of this character and his stories.

Below you will find Carl Shinyama‘s most thorough review of how Cap came to be in the copyright mess he is in.  This comes from his notes on Episode 3 of the Shazamcast!  If you listened to that episode – and, I mean, of course you did, right? – you know that Carly also proposed what I believe is the most common sense idea associated with the Captain Marvel character since at least 1953 (see section IV below).

There is one small tweak that I think needs to be added to Carl’s argument and I’ll post it after you read through all the goodness of his write up.

I. The Backstory

This is a subject with a complicated backstory, but necessary to know in order to understand and discuss the Captain Marvel trademark, that is, how Marvel Comics came to own the Captain Marvel trademark despite Captain Marvel originating elsewhere almost thirty years prior.

National Comics Publications (Now DC Comics) sued Fawcett Publications for copyright infringement of their Superman in 1941 under the Copyright Act of 1909. Under today’s copyright laws, the case would have been thrown out.

Before Captain Marvel, National had established a habit of eliminating the competition; they were suing anyone who was publishing Superman-like strongmen for copyright infringement. In fact, in 1940 before the famous Captain Marvel case, National had sued Fawcett for their Master Man character (despite him being published two months after Captain Marvel). Rather than pursuing the matter, Fawcett decided to cease publication of Master Man after just six issues.

However, in the case of Captain Marvel, when National decided to take legal action, Fawcett decided to fight the lawsuit.

The initial trial, which began in 1948, was actually decided in Fawcett’s favor. Despite ruling that Fawcett infringed on National’s Superman copyright, it was decided that National had abandoned their Superman copyright when the McClure syndicate failed to copyright several of their Superman newspaper comic strips, making it no longer a valid copyright.

Unfortunately, in the appeal, the original ruling of the abandoned copyright was reversed.

Fawcett then settled out of court (for a total of $400,000) and agreed to cease publication of all Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953. Captain Marvel would then be out of print for the remainder of the 1950’s and throughout the entirety of the 1960’s.

II. Marvel Comics Steps In

This is all relevant because…

Marvel Comics trademarked the Captain Marvel name in 1967. (October 27th, 1967 to be exact.)

Two months later, they would publish their own Captain Marvel in Marvel Superheroes #12. In May of 1968, Captain Marvel got his own on-going comic series.

What this meant…

When DC Comics licensed the character in 1972, they couldn’t legally published a comic book with the Captain Marvel name in the title (even though they did just that for a little while).

As a result, DC Comics decided to title Captain Marvel’s books as Shazam. Shazam, as we know, is the name of the wizard who gave Billy Batson his powers, but this lead to confusion, with people thinking that Captain Marvel’s name was Shazam. (This would be something that would plague DC’s Captain Marvel for decades.)

Marvel, because they didn’t want to lose the trademark¹, would have to continue publishing a Captain Marvel book every few years or risk losing the trademark. DC Comics would snatch it up the first chance they get. This resulted in Marvel publishing seven different Captain Marvel characters before finally achieving a critical success hit when they promoted long-time Ms. Marvel  to Captain Marvel.

¹ Trademark laws require that your mark has to be used in commerce. If you stop using the mark in commerce, you lose it.

III. Where Things Stand Today                       

Having said that…

Despite their newfound critical acclaim with Carol Danvers, too many long-time comic book fans associate Captain Marvel name with the Big Red Cheese. In fact, many people often mistake which character belongs to which company.

Trademarks are a brand name. It’s intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods and/or services of one seller from those of others, and to indicate the source of goods and/or services.

This is not a problem for Marvel per se, but it does raise a concern because…

Despite legal ownership of the Captain Marvel trademark, there exists a shaky, if not outright lack of distinguishment of the goods by consumers in the Captain Marvel brand that Marvel is providing them. Worse, a lot of people mistake the source of the goods.

IV. Time for a Change

Here’s the money question:

This poses a question: If, after almost five decades with the trademark, and Marvel cannot provide consumers with a goods that predominantly distinguishes itself from their competitor’s goods, WHY NOT SHARE THE CAPTAIN MARVEL TRADEMARK?

After all, Marvel and DC already share joint ownership of the super-hero trademark. This establishes a precedence.

Due to the unique history with the Captain Marvel name, where both Marvel and DC have a character of the same name, surely they share the trademark?

Before I get to my argument, I fully acknowledge that…

Marvel has little to no incentive to share it. In fact, I’m quite sure they’d feel too threatened by DC’s Captain Marvel.

They’d have a point, because as recent history indicates, DC’s Captain Marvel is a bigger commercial threat than Marvel’s Captain Marvel. Since Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, according to ICVo2, not once did any of her issues outsell Thunderworld. Clearly, the appeal of C.C. becks’ and Bill Parker’s Captain Marvel is a commercial threat.

And here’s my argument…

Marvels own Captain Marvel’s single issues struggle to sell more than 25,000 in print and that’s with DC treating their own Captain Marvel like an unwanted step-child with no regular publication (Captain Marvel is the only New 52 Justice League character with no on-going book). Worse, Marvel’s new Ms. Marvel outsells the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel by a considerable amount on a regular basis. This proves that the Captain Marvel name does little for Marvel, and that the driving force for commercial success has more to do with the appeal of the character. Speaking of which, what happens when Carol Danvers is no longer Captain Marvel, and she’s replaced, whether by a new one or an old one? The cycle will repeat itself. Marvel will continue to struggle commercially with character even if they singlehandedly own the mark.

Even if Marvel is or would be unwilling to share the trademark, their inability to establish a clear source of the Captain Marvel brand and long-time branding ambiguity makes that irrelevant; as long as DC Comics publishes Captain Marvel, as they currently do even with a main-continuity Shazam in the fold, they’ll still struggle to clear the Captain Marvel brand as they always have whether they share it or not. Sharing it won’t make it even more ambiguous.

Still…

It could work as far as branding goes. So that each company can distinguish their own Captain Marvel’s from one another’s, much like how companies attach their brand name to generic terms (such as Kellogg attaching their name to corn flakes; Kellogg’s® Corn Flakes), Marvel could allow DC to put their brand on a Captain Marvel book and call it DC’s Captain Marvel. While ambiguity will still be prevalent by consumers, this still allows both companies to distinguish their goods.

Last but not least…

Sharing the trademark with DC wouldn’t hurt Marvel’s bottom line: While Marvel would be extremely unlikely to consider it unless they could make money from it – and that’s (highly) improbable – they aren’t in any real position to lose money by not sharing the trademark, either. Only lack of current and historical buying consumer demand hurts their bottom line, not trademark branding.

Here’s the one caveat I would add: I think there is tremendous incentive for Marvel to embrace the sharing of the Captain Marvel trademark with DC: the opportunity to make one of the most significant gestures of goodwill to comics fans in the history of the medium

In fact, doing so has no downside – this action will have no adverse affect on sales of Marvel’s Captain Marvel – the two characters are completely distinct in the minds of buyers – and demonstrates on Marvel’s part a real confidence in Carol Danvers as a character which, of course, is totally deserved.

So, since no shine comes off Carol (as if it could, right?), no damage is done to potential sales of Marvel titles, and sharing the copyright would be a monumental boon to the comic buying community how soon can this get done?

In all seriousness, I’d like to see this idea get some distribution (and, as a result, some traction).  If you are willing to share it with others I would appreciate that very much.  Also, a quick review on iTunes of Episode 3 would be greatly appreciated as well!