Robot 6

Quote of the day | Erik Larsen on the curse of Shazam!

“By that logic I should change my name to Eric Larson. Geoff Johns should change his name to Jeff Johns since everybody spells it that way anyway.”

Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen, responding to the news that, after 40 years of dancing around Marvel’s trademark by using titles like Shazam and The Power of Shazam, DC Comics is officially changing Captain Marvel’s name to … Shazam. Geoff Johns explained the decision was made, in part, because “everybody thinks he’s called Shazam already, outside of comics.”



Maybe if he was prevented by law from referring to himself as Erik Larsen he might have a point. The closest analogy with a real person would be a member of SAG having to pick a screen name because there’s already a member with their real name, and then getting it legally changed for convenience’s sake.

No one outside of comics has heard of or ever thinks of “Shazam.”

However, I believe it is of vital importance that King Features Syndicate immediately change the name of their one-eyed sailor to “Spinach.” Spinach the Sailor. Otherwise, people will think he’s promoting fried chicken.

@Cattleprod: Your analogy’s broken too — DC is not prevented by law from referring to Captain Marvel as Captain Marvel, just from using his name as the title of the book.

Anyway, it’s silly. The reason DC has trouble selling Captain Marvel comics has nothing to do with confusion over the main character’s name. Maybe forty years ago it was a problem, but not now.

The problem is and always has been that DC plays the character so repeatedly wrong. Look at Jeff Smith’s Shazam book. That was insanely amazing and the character was pitch perfect. Mike Kunkel’s version was pitch perfect. Those two did wonderful work with the character. Because it was outside of the standard DC universe and didn’t try to pigeonhole him into things he shouldn’t be attached to.

Captain Marvel is Captain Marvel. The New 52 version is a pointless waste. Just let the character live on as he always has, as Billy Batson, a boy who shouts Shazam to become Captain Marvel. If he shouts Shazam to become Shazam, how will he ever tell people his superhero name? He’d change back, every single time.

For more examples of great usage of Captain Marvel, look at the Young Justice animated series. Rob Lowe as the Big Red Cheese was perfect. He was goofy, but in the best possible way. He was just a bright-eyed kid who could do anything because he could kick the crap out of anybody, but he still had the mindset of a 12 year old.

There is absolutely no reason why Captain Marvel wouldn’t work in the DC film universe. It’s Big with a Superhero twist. There, I just sold the story to you Hollywood. Now pay me my money.

The problem comes about from lazy creators like Geoff Johns who don’t want to work at making the character vibrant and awesome. They just want to make him be a pastiche of every other character and make him dark and gloomy. That’s not Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel deserves better than that.

But they can’t use the name in marketing. Every cover, every toy, every TV show, every t-shirt featuring the character is marketed as ‘Shazam’. Is there any other comic book superhero whose name literally can’t be on the cover of his series? Even Action Comics can say ‘featuring Superman’.

To be fair, I would’ve preferred ‘Captain Thunder’ if they had to change it, but the reasoning for not using Captain Marvel anymore goes beyond simply ‘people get it wrong’.

When I was a kid, and first saw Captain Marvel in comics, I called him Shazam. It bugged me that “Marvel” was in his name, for obvious reasons.

Not saying it’s logical, but I am saying that it is “kid”-logical.

doesn’t bother me and like others have said the legal issue is an issue when you can’t even use the name on merch or the comci itself.

He is and always will be CAPTAIN MARVEL. The REAL CAPTAIN MARVEL. This New52 thing, this “Shazam”, means absolutely NOTHING.

@ Richard: Spinach the Sailor?! EPIC, sir, EPIC!

“One is that everybody thinks he’s called Shazam already, outside of comics.”

In other words, we’re bowing to what we perceive to be the will of people who neither care about our product nor purchase our product. Yeesh.

Where’s the Wisdom of Solomon when ya need it?

— MrJM

That is pathetic.

I think their problem with Captain Marvel stems all the way back to him outselling Superman in the Golden Age. DC has done, and continues to do, everything they can to make the character second rate. My 6 year old knows his name is Captain Marvel – largely due to “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”

As for other characters that can’t use their own names in titles – the original Daredevil, the original Hydroman, the original Blue Beetle, to name a few, and now Dynamite has John Carter (Warlord of Mars) and Tarzan (Lord of the Jungle) books.

And does this mean we’ll now have the “SHAZAM” Family – SHAZAM, Mary SHAZAM and SHAZAM Jr.? And what is old Shazam himself going to be called now? 73 years of comic history tossed aside for the sake of toy packaging.

given how for so long the character has been called shazam captain marvel not suprise dc finaly decided to just go with shazam which after aquiring the character they should have just renamed him shazam from the start. though it will also mean mary marvel and freddy will have to be called shazam junior and mary shazam now.

Something that I haven’t seen mentioned is the fact that this new Shazam has essentially turned into Captain Marvel Jr. If Shazam’s magic is word is “Shazam,” how will he introduce himself at parties?

The real “Curse of Shazam” has been the way DC has treated Captain Marvel since the end of the Power of Shazam title in the last 90s.

I think they should have gone the Eclipse route and called him Captain Miracle.


January 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Captain Thunder. Not only available, but not too big a change. And they recently used it in Flashpoint. I like it.
Shazam just sounds weird as a superhero name.

And am I the only one kind of looking forward to seeing whatever terrible 90’s lookin’ new costume they give “Shazam”?

Should we expect Mary Marvel to be Mary Shazam as well? Accompanied by Shazam, Jr ? Will Freddy be saying “Shazam” to summon the lightning? I suppose we’ll see soon enough.

I didn’t even know this was happening. DC is changing Captain Marvel’s name to Shazam?

Well: gollllllllll-ee!!

I’m pretty sure the general public thinks of “Kazaam,” the movie where Shaquille O’Neil plays a genie when they hear the word “Shazam.” At least, I think of that whenever I hear Shazam.

Changing his name is totally dumb.

But it’s totally dumb to force such a beautiful, unique, childlike character like Captain Marvel to exist in the same universe with characters like Batman and Superman.

DC just doesn’t “get” Captain Marvel. Never has.

The problem isn’t changing it to SHAZAM. DC can’t publish Captain Marvel without Marvel suing them. That’s why it doesn’t say Captain Marvel on the cover. And there can’t be any ads for a movie that has him called Captain Marvel in the ad. Not without Marvel suing. It’s a mess that goes back many many years. I don’t like the name SHAZAM, but I do understand why this was necessary.

Captain Thunder would be a better idea. I had forgotten they’d used it in Flashpoint, but I do know it’s been referenced once or twice in the past back in day. At least one was used in an Elseworlds Annual, where a descendant of Captain Marvel took the name of Thunder.

No, Mary Marvel will be known as She-zam and Jr as Kid-zam

I wish they would call him Gomer Pyle.

I agree that “Shazam” will forever be tied to Gomer Pyle, making it an out of date expression that sounds really weird as a superhero name.

So, I propose an update. One that is closer to, oh, modern day sensibilities.

That’s right: Captain Bazinga.

Obviously this is not about the comics but a decision about licensing, which is sad now that the movies and products based on the comics now dictate the direction the comics go. IT’s sad that these corporations don’t respect the product or audience they have but want to suck the life out of them to sell other kinds of products.

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