Saturday, December 1, 2018

Shazam! The Complete Live-Action Series on DVD

On September 7, 1974, Captain Marvel leaped into action on TV screens with the premier of the Saturday morning show, Shazam!  DC had already brought Cap back in comics in December of 1972 with the first issue of Shazam comics.  For me, the Shazam TV show was my first introduction to Captain Marvel and I loved watching the show each Saturday and started reading the Shazam comics.  (I still have my original copy of Shazam #6!)



The Shazam TV show only lasted three seasons with a total of 28 episodes.  The last episode aired on October 16, 1976.  Fortunately for fans, all 28 episodes are available on DVD!  

Here are some pictures of my DVD collection which was a Christmas present for me a few years ago.





The menu selection for the DVDs is pretty basic.  You can play each episode individually, or just have them play back to back.  The only extra feature is you can also play them all back to back but include Captain Marvel's "moral of the story" play at the end of each show as well.  Below is an example of one of Cap's morals.




The DVD collection is still available, I recommend you check with your favorite retailer for a copy!  On the Warner Brothers on-line shop, I noticed that you can order the collection with exclusive cover art by one of my favorite Captain Marvel artists, Jerry Ordway.  Here's a look at that special art cover.


I've re-watched these episodes quite often and always enjoy them.  I hope Warner Brothers produces the entire collection in the blu-ray format - that would be awesome!  


Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Comic That Never Was - Captain Marvel Battles Evil Incarnate!

When DC Comics brought Captain Marvel back in the 1970s, they did well to have one of his creators handle the artwork.  C. C. Beck, who drew Captain Marvel for Fawcett in the 1940s and 1950s was once again doing Cap's artwork in the '70s.  However, Beck would soon leave the Shazam! series after a small handful of issues.  He did not like the direction DC was taking the character he created and so Beck and DC parted ways.

As I was doing some research for my blog I ran across an interesting article that tells how DC reached back out to Beck in 1974.  E. Nelson Bridwell invited Beck to submit a script for a new Captain Marvel story.  If the editorial board at DC approved the script, they would let Beck draw and create the comic story.

Beck went to work and created the story, "Captain Marvel Battles Evil Incarnate!"  The story was in the vein of Cap's golden age adventures and included Billy Batson, Captain Marvel, the 7 deadly enemies of man, a witch, and magic spells.  It also included the Marvel Family - Mary, Captain Marvel, Jr and Uncle Marvel. 

Finally, after six months, DC's editorial board sent Beck back his script.  Unfortunately, there were major re-writes and changes.  According to the article, "Beck returned the rewritten script to DC and told them that he wanted nothing to do with it. DC's invitations to Beck stopped and they never contacted him again."

What a sad story!  I would have loved to read that comic as created by Beck.  It would have recaptured Captain Marvel and the Marvel family in all their golden-age glory once again.  If you would like to read the entire article, you can read it here:  The Marvel Family Battles Evil Incarnate




Sunday, October 28, 2018

Comic of the Week - Shazam! #5

The Shazam! comic of the week is Shazam! #5 which published on June 19, 1973 and had a cover date of September 1973.




This comic featured two new Captain Marvel stories and one golden-age adventure featuring Captain Marvel, Jr!  The comic cover is an almost exact duplicate of Captain Marvel Adventures #119 (February 2, 1951)!  I wrote a brief article about that whcih you can read here.

The first story is "The Man Who Wasn't!"  In this story, the world's mightiest mortal matches whits with a leprechaun!  




The second story is "The World's Toughest Guy!"  I've written about this story and you can read it here.



Finally, we have a reprint of a golden-age Captain Marvel Jr story, "Captain Marvel Jr Fights the Champ."  This was originally published in Marvel Family #25 which originally published on May 21, 1948.



I personally liked "The World's Toughest Guy!" story the best.  And also keep in mind, many people may not have been aware of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family from the 1940s and 1950s, so that's probably why DC kept including reprints from their golden-age adventures.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Going On Hiatus

Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to stop by this blog and read it.  I appreciate it!  I'm going to take a break from posting here for a while...not sure when I'll be back.  I've been trying to maintain several social media sites for Captain Marvel from blogs, Facebook and Instagram and have found that I just don't have the time to manage them all and really need to cut back.  I'm still a huge fan of Captain Marvel, but I just don't have Cap's powers and abilities to keep up with multiple social media sites!

Thank you again for reading my blogs - I greatly appreciate it!

Yours for old Shazam,

Jeff


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shazam! Comics DC TV Imprint

The cover of Shazam! #25 featured a slight change to the comics cover.  At that time DC was using the DC imprint that said "The Line of DC Super-Stars."  But on the cover of Shazam! 25 (June 29, 1976) it displayed "A DC TV Comic" imprint.

Regular DC imprint from Shazam! #19

DC TV imprint from Shazam! #26
The DC TV imprint was also used on DC's other live action Saturday morning show, The Mighty Isis as both Captain Marvel and Isis had their own programs.  The DC TV imprint on Cap's comics didn't last long as it ended with Shazam! #33 (October 4, 1977).  


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Comic of the Week - Shazam! #4

The Shazam! comic of the week is Shazam! #4 which published on April 17, 1973 and had a cover date of July 1973.



This comic featured two new Captain Marvel stories and one golden-age adventure featuring the world's mightiest mortal!  The comic cover features Billy Batson in front of some fun-house mirrors - with Captain Marvel's image reflecting back!  A similar cover was used in Captain Marvel Adventures #45.  (I wrote a brief article about that which you can read here.)

The first storys is "IBAC the Cursed!"  The front page tells us, "Out of the past comes one of Captain Marvel's deadliest foes, a hate-filled villain as bad as the world's mightiest mortal is good!"  IBAC was one of Cap's golden age villains, making his debut in Captain Marvel Adventures #8 (1942) in the story "Captain Marvel and the Curse of IBAC!"  Here, in Shazam! #4, IBAC makes a come-back!



The second new Captain Marvel story is "The Mirrors that Predicted the Future."  Billy is bummed out that it appears his friends have forgotten his birthday.  I wrote a separate article about that which you can read here.



The final story is a reprint of Cap's golden age adventure, "The Ownerless Diamond" which was first published in Captain Marvel Adventures #97 (1949).





There is also a full page of "Shazamail" with letters from fans.  Interestingly, there are letters from two people that wrote Captain Marvel stories from Cap's golden age:  Otto Binder and Manly Wade Wellman.







Sunday, February 4, 2018

Captain Marvel and A Switch In Time


In the pages of Shazam! #3 (March 15, 1973) we have one of my favorite stories, "A Switch In Time!"  Here's the lead in to this adventure from the front page, "Holy Moley, folks!  There's something wrong here!  We're seeing boy newscaster Billy Batson as a man -- and Captain Marvel as a boy!  This could lead to trouble!"



The adventure begins with Billy Batson at a dance.  He's trying to meet kids his own age but is feeling like an outsider - even though he's wearing some groovy '70s threads!  Billy's bummed because, thanks to Sivana's placing Captain Marvel in suspended animation, Billy's a boy out of time.  He doesn't understand the dances or the language of his modern-day companions.   Billy says to himself, "My problem is, I only look like a boy!  Actually I'm twenty years older - because I was in suspended animation for twenty years!"  Billy continues, "It's not fair!  I've missed growing up!  The joys...the sorrows...the heartbreak and laughter...I'll never be normal!  I'll always be behind my time..a freak!"  Then Billy has an idea - he'll go see the wizard Shazam who might be able to help him.



Saying the magic word, "Shazam!" Billy is transformed into Captain Marvel who then makes his way to the ancient throne room where he first met Shazam.  Captain Marvel explains Billy's plight to the kind old wizard and asks if Shazam can help Billy.  The wizened wizard warns, "I can accelerate his personal time stream...but I warn you...meddling with time streams can be risky!  It may affect you, too!"  Heeding the warning, Captain Marvel states that he accepts the risk and is willing to take the chance to help his buddy Billy.  (Note:  The exchange between Captain Marvel and Shazam show that Cap and Billy are two different people!)  Shazam has Captain Marvel grasp an enchanted hourglass and say the magic word, "Shazam!"  Magic lightning strikes and transforms Cap into Billy Batson - but this time Billy is a full-grown man!



Meanwhile, back at TV station WHIZ, a wizard school reject named Shagg Naste is rejected by the station.  He runs across Mr. Morris, owner of WHIZ and threatens to put a spell on him if he doesn't give the nasty Naste a television show!  Mr. Morris laughs in his face and doesn't take the threat seriously.  Shagg Naste proves his threat is real by saying a magic word, "Alakazamboola!" and turns unsuspecting newsboy Freddy Freeman (Captain Marvel, Jr) into stone!  Shagg Naste continues his threatening demands - he wants his own TV show, a big cast, lots of dancing girls, and a big salary!




Billy Batson comes upon the scene and transforms into Captain Marvel.  But he's a teen-age Captain Marvel!!  Shagg Naste tries to turn Cap to stone, but it the spell does not work.  However, it does have an effect on Cap's ability to fly!  Cap transforms back to Billy and Billy makes his way to fix things with Shagg Naste.




Shagg Naste is confronted by Billy Batson who tells him to bring the stone newsboy back to normal.  Billy picks Naste up over his head and Naste complies.  Billy tells Naste to scram and never come back - and Naste quickly complies.  Not recognizing Billy, Mr. Morris and Freddy Freeman thank Billy for helping them.  After all he's been through, Billy decides its best to head back to Shazam and see if the wizard can undo the time-mixup that Billy got himself into.  The teen-age Captain Marvel says to himself, "I hope he (Shazam) can undo the time mix-up!  After all -- Billy's better off as a teen-ager than I am!  He has more experience!"



What makes this a great story is how it deals with what someone would go through in Billy's situation.  Think about it - what if you had been in suspended animation for twenty years?  What was once your present situation is now history.  It reminds me of the Captain America movie and the struggles Steve Rogers had adjusting to modern times.  

The story also shows what a great and self-less friend Captain Marvel is.  He's warned that he might be impacted by Billy's desire to be an adult.  Cap is willing to pay the price to help out his friend.

I think it's funny to see Billy as an adult and Captain Marvel as a teenager, that's a great plot twist that I don't recall being used in the golden age comics!

Finally, the story also gives us insight into Shazam's powers.  We learn that he can manipulate the time stream and uses an enchanted hourglass as his tool to do that.

A switch in time taught is a great story that proved the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"