Almost as old as Batman, but much less well-known, Shazam is not the first Captain Marvel in the history of comics. It was even more popular at the time of its golden age, from 1938 to 1955. Updated with Shazam! , a film adaptation has been hailed by critics, we can suppose that this character is going to be a hit in the bookstores.
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The story of Shazam, finds its source in ancient mythologies and Greek. Billy Batson is a young orphan who sees his life switch after being summoned by an old sorcerer. The old man in search of a successor to entrust him with powers that defy the imagination. By chanting the magical incantation “Shazam”, young Billy will morph into a super hero bodybuilder.
Each letter of the name of the super-hero symbolizes a superhuman power, inspired by the great myths. The “S” evokes the wisdom of Solomon. The “H” is reminiscent of Hercules and his legendary strength. The “A” is for Atlas and its endurance. The “Z” is a reference to Zeus and his mastery of the lightning. The second “A” is a reference to Achilles, and to his courage. As for the “M”, it refers to Mercury, the messenger of the gods, and his supervitesse.
Shazam ! [VOST] [trailer] – Watch on Figaro Live
The original series was an immediate hit thanks to the character of Billy Batson, which young readers will identify with easily, as well as his tone shifted. In fact, it is one of the first comics to include scenes of comedy and almost burlesque in the form of confusion created by the unexpected reactions of the young boy in the skin of a superman in the adult body.
In 79 years of existence this hero – renamed Shazam in 2011 for copyright reasons – has taken on a life under the pen of a plethora of talented authors. In order to best appreciate the adventures of Billy Batson – sometimes Captain Marvel, now Captain Thunder and of course Shazam -, Le Figaro has selected three comics to read before or even after having seen the excellent film by David Sandberg.
Gary Frank is having fun with talent from the dual identity of Billy the teen, aka Shazam. Urban Comics
● Shazam, work masterful
A strange phenomenon occurs in the world. Hundreds of people are surveyed and reported unfit by an old bearded man. Hallucination mass media, evidence of the return of magic to Earth to dr. Sivana, who see in it a direct reference to the myth of Black Adam. On his side, the young Billy Batson arrives at yet another foster family. The scowled, he was reluctant to adapt to a new home, disappointed by the previous ones. It is then that he is chosen by the Warlock, the guardian of the rock of eternity, to become the heir of the powers of Shazam… Geoff Johns in the scenario, Gary Frank in the illustration form a duo and are key to the revival of DC Comics. Editing black and white is beautiful and reinforces the epic character of the work. Only downside, the side that is a little too black and white characters.
Shazam , Urban Comics, 17,50€ color editing, 19€ black and white edition
Dale Eaglesham illustrates the story written by Geoff Johns “Shazam and the seven magical realms”. He takes over from Gary Frank with a style a little less realistic and more classic. Urban Comics
● , Shazam Anthology : the explanation of the mythological origins
This collection contains sixteen stories of the super-heroes distributed in chronological order. The editor has grouped these into four eras: the 1940s to the 1960s, 1970 to the late 80’s, 1990 to 2011 and finally in 2015 in our days. This selection motley you can travel in the universe of Shazam and appreciate the different tones that were addressed. The reader is witness to the birth of Captain Marvel or the appearance of Black Adam, the Nemesis of Shazam … This thick collection covers nearly 80 years of production the super hero and allows you to have a complete overview of its mythology.
Shazam Anthology , Urban comics, 25€
Jeff Smith has clearly made fun on this complete story in one volume. The reader is a fan of Bone found in the pulp writer’s illustrator with delight. Urban Comics
● , Shazam against the company of monsters or the ultimate mission
When Jeff Smith, the creator of the wonderful series Bone looks at the universe of Shazam the result is explosive. The author rejuvenates Billy Batson, who was a teenager of 14-15 years old becomes a child of 7 or 8 years. The author jumps to the foot joint in the universe of Shazam , claim to be the frenetic pace almost hypnotizing a comics book good child.
While five of the seven deadly sins has been made, the world is more than ever in danger. Billy, the new heir of the powers of the guardian of the rock of eternity will be difficult to face alone this scourge. Fortunately, he will find his twin sister, Mary whom he was separated at birth accompanied by Tawny the tiger endowed with speech, able to change appearance . Together they will face the terrible Mister Mind and his army of monsters, humanoids and intelligent. A title that is accessible from the youngest age.
Shazam against the company of monsters , urban kids, 10€