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Monday, March 05, 2012 

DCnU version of Shazam drawn with hood-cape

The New York Post has written about what the former Captain Marvel - now only named Shazam - looks like, which is more like a cross between a sorceror and a football player wearing a hooded cape on a darker costume:
Shazam! With one lightning-infused magic word, DC Comics has relaunched one of its most iconic characters, reviving the superhero known since 1939 as Captain Marvel and renaming and supercharging him with a heavy double dose of mysticism and magic.
From what they describe here, it could very well be they really have made him into more of a sorcerer than the very wizard who'd given him the superpowers in the first place. Which only means that Billy Batson is one more victim of trendiness, and the absurd notion that he's simply got to have ultra-charged powers to make an impression on anyone. But it's only a cliche by now.
“We changed his name [to Shazam] for a lot of reasons,” said Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “One of them is that Shazam is the word most associated with the character, so we just felt it made sense — a lot of people already thought that was his name, anyway.”
Did they? Even during his run on JSA, Johns (and James Robinson) used the name Captain Marvel, and I have a feeling it has been more known what the hero's name is than what he's claiming. Johns is only insulting everyone's intellect by making it sound as though nobody's even interested in doing research. However, if another one of the reasons why they changed the name was because of legal problems with Marvel, he sure hasn't shown the courage to bring that up.

Now, here's where it really gets ridiculous:
With a new origin, a cowl, a lightning bolt on his chest, and a penchant for causing electrical appliances to explode, Shazam still bears similarities to the original hero, including the power to change from feisty teen Billy Batson into a superhero by uttering the magic word that is now his name.
"Shazam" doesn't bear much resemblance to the original take at all, and if they think this new "weakness" of causing electrical devices to blow up is something to amaze, I'd say otherwise.
“His place in the world will be far more rooted in fantasy and magic than it ever was before,” Johns said.
In that case, it's clear that it'll be less grounded in any character drama or anything the original hero lived and dealt with. Under someone like Johns, it's bound to be more about outrageous spectacle, and style over substance.

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Probably the main reason for the name change is the copyright problem. DC can call the character "Captain Marvel," but can't use the name as the title of the series. And they seem to think that their fans are too stupid to understand that the title of the series is not always the name of the main character. Gee. Aren't all fanboys sophisticated, limousine liberal intellectuals? James Bond fans don't think that their hero's name is "Skyfall" or "Moonraker" or "Thunderball." And fans of TV Westerns understood that "Gunsmoke" was not the marshal's name, "Bonanza" was not the family's name, and so on. For that matter, a lot of Golden Age comics were anthologies with generic titles: Action, Adventure, Whiz, Sensation, etc. And the preteen kids back then didn't seem to be confused. And all of this is just about the title. Don't let me get started on making Billy Batson a juvenile delinquent, and the Shazam power a "curse."

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