Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Review of The Power of Shazam #27

Last month I had the privilege of writing a guest blog for one of my favorite comic blogs - Coffee and Comics.   I look forward to reading each article on this blog, as well as Clinton's other blog, Armageddon 2001.  I have learned a lot from them and cannot recommend them enough.

For my guest article on the Coffee and Comics blog, I wrote a review of The Power of Shazam #27.  If you would like to read it, please click here.  I hope you enjoy the article and take the time to check out these two great blogs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Captains Marvel

Here are some brief differences I wanted to point out from golden age Captain Marvel and the Captains Marvel of The Power of Shazam!  In the golden age Fawcett comics, Billy Batson and his sister Mary are known as Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel respectively.  But in The Power of Shazam! series, Billy and Mary are both called Captain Marvel!  In The Power of Shazam! #27, the wizard Shazam reveals that both Billy and Mary are to have his powers as the Captains Marvel.

Another difference you'll see in The Power of Shazam! is that when Mary transforms, she transforms from a teenager to an adult (and rumored to look like her mother, Lyn).  In the golden age when Mary transformed into Mary Marvel, she remained as a young girl.

A final difference you'll notice in The Power of Shazam! series is that when the Captains Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior are all 'powered up' their individual powers are weakened by 1/3.  This plays a significant part in battles with Black Adam in the early part of the series.

These are three differences from the golden age Captain Marvel, but I enjoy the differences and Jerry Ordway does a great job using them to enhance the stories and add more depth to the characters!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Power of Shazam! - Great Title and Script for Upcoming Captain Marvel Movie

I've mentioned this before on Twitter, and now I'd like to write out in more detail why I think the upcoming Captain Marvel/Shazam movie should be based on The Power of Shazam! graphic novel.
  • The Power of Shazam! is a fantastic movie title for several reasons.  First, it bypasses the copyright restrictions DC has on using the character name 'Captain Marvel' in a title.  My understanding is they can use the Captain Marvel character name, just not in a comic title.  Second, it is an accurate title in that Captain Marvel gains his powers through Shazam.  DC's unfortunate renaming of the character to Shazam has created a lot of problems and this would help restore Captain Marvel's true and original name.
  • The graphic novel is a self-contained unit that stands on its own. Yes, it launched The Power of Shazam! series, and I'm very glad it did, but it's an awesome story by itself and seems to be ready made for a movie script.  (NOTE: In a Twitter conversation I had with Jerry Ordway, I asked him if he has been involved in the upcoming movie and he replied, "At one point, when John August was doing a script, I heard that they were looking at my painted book."  In another tweet he mentionded, Jonathan Peterson, the editor, and I set out to make "the movie adaptation" of Captain Marvel, without the actual movie."  I have to agree with Mr. Ordway - the graphic novel should be the movie adaptation!!! )
  • Captain Marvel's origin as well as that of Black Adam's is well developed in the graphic novel.  We already know Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is playing Black Adam in the movie, and Black Adam has a major role in The Power of Shazam! that he never had in the golden (Fawcett) age of Captain Marvel comics.  Yet in the graphic novel it stays true to Black Adam's character as a villain, not as an anti-hero.  Black Adam needs to be a villain, an antithesis to the wholesomeness of Captain Marvel.  Captain Marvel and Billy Batson's origins also remain intact but with some nice modernizations that do a fine job of bridging the golden age hero with our modern times.
  • By using The Power of Shazam! graphic novel, DC leaves the door open for future Captain Marvel movies.  It would ruin the movie if you try telling Cap's origin and throw in the entire cast of villains that Cap has faced over the years.  By sticking to the story in the graphic novel both Cap and Black Adam will be able to have future movies with well-established back stories.  The original Superman movie, Batman '89, Man of Steel, etc. used this format of introducing us to the character but not overwhelming us with villains.
For these reasons, The Power of Shazam! should be used as the title and script for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article, feel free to share them!  If I come up with any more reasons, I'll update this article and let you know.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Unofficial Captain Marvel Theme!

John William's Superman Theme is iconic - when you hear that music, you identify it with Superman.  For me, the same can be said about Danny Elfman's Batman Theme for the 1989 Batman movie.  But what about the world's mightiest mortal?  Captain Marvel has no iconic theme music!  This post seeks to rectify that and I humbly submit that the song, "The Impossible Dream" should be Captain Marvel's theme song.

Here are the words to the song.  As you read them, keep Captain Marvel in mind.  

The Impossible Dream
(Composed by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion)

To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,
to follow that star --
no matter how hopeless,
no matter how far.

To fight for the right
without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a
heavenly cause.

And I know if I'll only be true to this
glorious quest
that my heart will be peaceful and calm
when I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To reach the unreachable stars.

The lyrics are very moving, and truly capture the character and essence of Captain Marvel.  Regardless of whether its Captain Marvel in Whiz comics, The Power of Shazam! or Kingdom Come, Cap is willing to strive with his last ounce of courage to protect the helpless and defeat evil.  

Here's a video of my favorite version of the song as sung by Elvis Presley.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A New Uniform For Mary

In The Power of Shazam! #28 we see Mary wearing a white uniform.  Up until this issue, Mary had been wearing a red uniform, very similar to the classic Mary Marvel one of the golden age.  In the beginning pages of the comic, Mary's asked why she switched, but she doesn't have time to answer as she is dealing with an emergency on the highway.

At the end of the comic, we finally get the answer as to why Mary switched her uniform.  She's talking to a Professor Bibbowski who opines, "I like the costume, by the by.  Set you apart from the other Marvel."  Mary responds, "That's the general idea..."

Mary changed her red uniform to white to set her apart from her brother, Billy, the other Captain Marvel!  I think the white costume looks great, and not all Captain Marvels need to wear red.  Think about it, even Captain Marvel Junior's uniform is blue!  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

An Overview of Captain Marvel's Modernization!

Captain Marvel is introduced to us in the pages of The Power of Shazam! graphic novel.  Captain Marvel had his beginning in Whiz comics #2, published on December 1, 1939.  The Power of Shazam! graphic novel (TPOSGN) does a fantastic job bringing Captain Marvel back, keeping some of his classic golden age elements while giving him some modern age updates.

The first thing I noticed was Cap is in his classic uniform complete with bib front, Captain's sleeve marks, and cape with fleur-di-lis design! (Note, I wrote two articles on Cap's uniforms which you can read here and here.)  Look at the pictures below, the first being Captain Marvel from the cover of Whiz comics #2 (1939) and the Captain Marvel from TPOSGN!  Cap's uniform is unique and I greatly appreciate how Jerry Ordway brought his classic uniform back in TPOSGN.  

Captain Marvel from Whiz comics #2
Captain Marvel - The Power of Shazam!

Captain Marvel's powers are given to him from the wizard Shazam, and in the graphic novel we have the classic powers of wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed from Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.  I like how Cap struggles with learning how to handle these new powers in the graphic novel - things like learning how to fly, how much strength he possesses, and how to use the wisdom of Solomon.  Billy Batson/Captain Marvel never struggled with this in the golden age comics, but it really adds a greater dimension to his character and makes a great (and sometimes comical) plot twist in the graphic novel.

While The Power of Shazam! graphic novel isn't a whimsical story as you would find in Whiz/Captain Marvel Adventures comics, it isn't a 'dark and gritty' modernization either.  It brings back enough of the classic Cap elements to please old-time fans and giving just enough modern updates to keep it light but realistic.  Captain Marvel's character is intact, he works within the law and doesn't take matters of justice into his own hands.

This article was just to give a brief overview of Captain Marvel as introduced in The Power of Shazam! graphic novel while making some comparisons to the Captain Marvel introduced to the world in the pages of his golden age comics.  Needless to say, the Captain Marvel in the pages of TPOSGN is the worthy heir and successor to the golden age hero so many of us love!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Welcome to The Power of Shazam!

The Power of Shazam! was both a graphic novel and a comic series that gave us an updated origin and story line for Captain Marvel.

The Power of Shazam hard cover
The graphic novel came out first as a hard cover book on January 11, 1994.  A soft cover version was later released on December 6, 1994.  The graphic novel presented us with the origin of Captain Marvel and reintroduced fans to other Marvel characters such as the wizard Shazam, and Black Adam.  Jerry Ordway was both writer and artist for the graphic novel.

The Power of Shazam TPB

The Power of Shazam comic series premiered on January 31, 1995 and ran for 47 issues.  The last issue printed January 6, 1999.  (Note: The Power of Shazam! #48 was a one shot edition that printed on January 13, 2010)  Jerry Ordway was the writer and created each issues cover.

The Power of Shazam! #1

This blog will cover aspects of both the graphic novel and comic series.  I'm a big fan of the golden age Captain Marvel, and in my opinion The Power of Shazam! is a good modernization of classic Cap and his cast of characters.  I have two other Captain Marvel blogs, so please check those out for information on the golden age and bronze age Captain Marvel adventures!  I welcome your feedback and comments and sincerely hope you enjoy what you read here!

Say the word...Feel the power!!!