Shazam’s Darkest Story Ruined The whole lot Nice About The Character?
First printed in 1987, Shazam: A New Starting was an try to make Shazam related for the instances, however it ruined what was nice about him.
Shazam’s darkest story, Shazam: A New Starting, ruined a lot of what was nice in regards to the character. Gone was the Shazam household, Tawky Tawny, and the overall sense of enjoyable and whimsy and was changed by a grim and gritty tone extra becoming for the 1980s. Spinning out of the Legends mega occasion, the four-issue mini-series was written by comics legend Roy Thomas (Avengers) and illustrated by Tom Mandrake (The Spectre) and was first printed in 1987.
Shazam and DC Comics have had a protracted and considerably checkered historical past. Shazam (then generally known as Captain Marvel) first appeared in 1941, and from the beginning, DC accused Shazam’s writer, Fawcett Comics, of copying Superman. The case went to court docket and the following authorized battles contributed to Fawcett going beneath. The characters lapsed into limbo, however DC revived them within the early 1970s; at first, they merely licensed the characters however outright purchased them within the early 1980s. Shazam was then built-in into the mainstream DC Universe in the course of the Disaster on Infinite Earths. A couple of years later, Shazam: A New Starting was an try to replace the character for trendy instances.
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The story sadly jettisons a lot of what made Shazam nice. Within the first problem, historical past replays itself as Billy is led right into a subway tunnel by a mysterious stranger and is bequeathed the ability of the wizard Shazam; after he grants Billy the ability, the wizard has a imaginative and prescient of the pre-Disaster Shazam household, however in the end pushes it away, claiming “for that approach lies insanity.” Not solely was the Shazam household gone, so was Shazam’s finest good friend Tawky Tawny. The character of Shazam is enjoyable, and all that was enjoyable in regards to the character was now gone, in favor of business tendencies. The comedian stripped the character of what made him nice and what remained was a bleak and bland retelling of Shazam’s origins.
Within the preface for the 30th Anniversary Collected version, Thomas made it clear these adjustments weren’t his or Mandrake’s and as an alternative got here down from DC editorial. Fortuitously, a lot of the adjustments A New Starting introduced had been retconned out by Jerry Ordway’s Energy of Shazam! – which was the second try to make Shazam work within the trendy DC Universe, this title was way more profitable at doing this.
Regardless of the story’s shortcomings, it’s nonetheless an enchanting learn. It reveals DC was determined to make the character work however forcing him right into a mildew he wasn’t constituted of did him no favors; as an alternative, it was when the corporate opted to make a extra traditional model of Shazam just a few years later that he lastly discovered his place within the DC Universe.
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