|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1942-1953) |
DC Comics (1972-present)
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (December 1942)|
|Created by||Otto Binder|
|The Marvel Family|
|Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr. on the cover of The Marvel Family #4 (Sept. 1946). Art by C.C. Beck.|
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||December 1945 - January 1954|
|Number of issues||89|
|Main character(s)||Marvel Family|
|Artist(s)||C. C. Beck, Pete Costanza, Kurt Schaffenberger|
The Marvel Family, also known as the Shazam Family, or simply the Shazamily, are a group of superheroes who originally appeared in books published by Fawcett Comics and were later acquired by DC Comics. Created in 1942 by writer Otto Binder and artist Marc Swayze, the team was created as an extension of Fawcett's Captain Marvel franchise, and included Marvel's sister Mary Marvel, their friend Captain Marvel Jr., and, at various times, a number of other characters as well.
Because Marvel Comics trademarked their own Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the demise of the Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel comics in 1953 and DC's revival in 1972, DC Comics is today unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties under those names. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! for their comic book titles with the Marvel Family characters, and the name under which they market and promote the characters. When referring to the Marvel Family on comic book covers or various merchandise, they are by this legal necessity called the "Shazam Family".
In 2012, DC officially changed Captain Marvel's name to Shazam, making Shazam Family the name of the superhero's associates. In current continuity, the Shazam Family comprises the superpowered alter egos of Billy Batson (teenaged alter-ego of Shazam/Captain Marvel) and his foster siblings: Mary Bromfield (formerly Mary Marvel), Freddy Freeman (formerly Captain Marvel Jr.), Darla Dudley, Pedro Peña, and Eugene Choi.
The Marvel Family was established in 1942 after the introductions of Captain Marvel's partners, the Lieutenant Marvels (Whiz Comics #21, September 1941), Captain Marvel Jr. (Whiz Comics #25, December 1941) and Mary Marvel (Captain Marvel Adventures #18, December 1942). With Junior and Mary's additions to his adventures, Captain Marvel became the first superhero to have a team of sidekicks who share his powers, abilities, and appearance; a concept later adapted for heroes such as Superman and Aquaman, among others.
The members of the Marvel Family appeared both separately and together in many of Fawcett's comic book series, including Whiz Comics, Wow Comics, Master Comics, Captain Marvel Adventures, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, and The Marvel Family. By the late 1940s, Marvel Family comics were among the most popular in the industry, and the Marvel Family had expanded to include both non-superpowered characters (Uncle Marvel and Freckles Marvel) and even funny animals (Hoppy the Marvel Bunny). By 1953, all of these books had ceased publication, due to Superman publisher DC Comics' lawsuit against Fawcett.
In 1972, DC licensed the rights to the Marvel Family characters, and began publishing them in a comic series titled Shazam!. Fawcett sold DC the rights to the characters in 1980, by which time Shazam! had been cancelled, and the Marvels had been relegated the back-up feature of World's Finest Comics, and, later, Adventure Comics. DC retconned Captain Marvel in 1986 with their Legends miniseries, establishing him as a solo hero without a team. Writer/artist Jerry Ordway resurrected the Marvel Family in 1995 with his Power of Shazam! series, establishing the team as being made up solely of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. Following several attempts at relaunching the Shazam! franchise during the mid-2000s, the Marvel Family was temporarily dissolved by writers Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway in Justice Society of America (third series) #25, with only Captain Marvel Jr., now known as Shazam, retaining his powers, but from another source. In the interim, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel continued to appear in Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!, an all-ages comic book series published under DC's youth-oriented Johnny DC line which ran from 2008 to 2010. Captain Marvel Jr. joined the pair towards the end of the run of Magic of Shazam!, following a brief period serving as the sidekick of the Marvels' enemy under the name Black Adam Jr.
The Shazam Family was reintroduced during DC Comics' continuity-altering Flashpoint miniseries in 2011, as six kids who all spoke "Shazam!" in unison to become one superhero, Captain Thunder. In the later company-wide "New 52" reboot that followed Flashpoint, the Captain Marvel character was renamed "Shazam" and starred in a backup segment of the Justice League series (second volume) from 2012 to 2013. These backups, by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, introduced Billy Batson/Shazam and his new Shazam Family, consisting of Billy and his five foster siblings, with whom he shares his powers.
The "World's Mightiest Mortal", Captain Marvel is the superpowered alter-ego of Billy Batson, an orphaned boy who speaks the name of the wizard Shazam to become an adult superhero. Billy has the powers of Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed); and served as the wizard Shazam's champion and herald.
In the Golden Age and Bronze Age comics, Billy chose to share his powers with his sister Mary and his friend Freddy Freeman, creating the Marvel Family. Outside of the Marvel Family, Captain Marvel served briefly as a member of both the Justice League International and the Justice Society of America.
After the 2011 New 52 reboot of the Shazam! characters by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank, Billy Batson is a troubled foster child who has inherited the name, powers, and seat on the council of magic of the wizard Shazam. Becoming a hero inspired the initially brash and standoffish Billy to evolve into a noble hero and leader who embraces his new foster family. As Shazam, Billy has powers and a red-uniformed appearance similar to the traditional version of Captain Marvel with the added ability to wield magic via the "living lightning" that powers him.
In traditional Shazam! stories, Mary is Billy's once-lost twin sister Mary Batson (adopted as Mary Bromfield), who found she could say the magic word "Shazam!" and become a Marvel as well. The Golden Age Mary Marvel remained a teenager in superhero form, while the modern version is transformed into an adult like her brother. The Golden Age Mary Marvel had a different set of patrons from Captain Marvel who contributed to her powers. They were Selene (grace), Hippolyte (strength), Ariadne (skill), Zephyrus (swiftness), Aurora (beauty) and Minerva (wisdom).
During the 2007 and 2008 limited series Countdown to Final Crisis and Final Crisis, Mary Marvel lost her powers and gained the powers of Marvel Family foe Black Adam. She temporarily became a villain working for Darkseid and possessed by the New God Desaad.
In current DC Comics continuity from 2012 on, Mary Bromfield is Billy Batson's foster sister, having run away from an abusive home at a young age and being placed in the Vázquez home. The oldest of the Shazam kids, Mary acts as the "den mother" and conscience of the group. She shares Billy's secret, and by saying "Shazam!" she can gain a superpowered form similar to the traditional Mary Marvel in a red uniform.
In both the Golden Age and 1990s versions of the Marvel Family, Billy's friend and classmate, Freddy Freeman, was attacked and left disabled by the supervillain Captain Nazi, and was given the power to become a Marvel to save his life. Whenever he spoke Captain Marvel's name, Freddy becomes a teenage version of Captain Marvel. This created the odd problem that he could not identify himself without changing back to his regular form.
During the mid-1990s, the Freddy character went by the alias CM3 (short for "Captain Marvel Three", "CM1" being Billy and "CM2" being Mary) so that he could identify himself without transforming. He was a member of the Teen Titans during the late 1990s and later, the Outsiders in the early 2000s. The 2006-2008 Trials of Shazam! mini-series featured Freddy gaining the powers of Captain Marvel as Shazam, while Billy took over for the dead wizard Shazam as Marvel.
In current DC Comics continuity from 2012 on, Freddy Freeman (now a blond teenager instead of the traditional black-haired youth, though still physically disabled) is Billy Batson's foster brother, a smart-mouthed pickpocket and trickster whose parents are in prison. He shares Billy's secret and by saying "Shazam!" can gain a form similar to an adult version of the traditional Captain Marvel, Jr., in a blue uniform.
Eugene Choi is Billy Batson's foster brother, an intelligent, bookish teenager about his age of Asian descent with a love of technology and video games. Eugene's bookishness is offset by a competitive and impulsive nature that causes trouble for him and the others at times. Introduced in the Flashpoint miniseries, Eugene can share Billy's power by saying "Shazam!" and become an adult Shazam-powered version of himself in a silver/gray uniform. In addition to the standard Shazam power-set, Eugene has the additional power of technopathy, which allows him to talk to and control machines and technology.
Pedro Peña is Billy Batson's foster brother, an overweight teenager of Mexican descent who is around Billy's age. Introduced in the Flashpoint miniseries, Pedro can share Billy's power by saying "Shazam!" and becoming an adult Shazam-powered version of himself in a green uniform. Pedro's adult form, resembling a tall, bearded powerlifter, is a stark contrast to his personal insecurity and shyness. While the comics have yet to make any such distinction, the 2019 live-action feature film Shazam! implies that Pedro is gay or asexual. In superhuman form, Pedro has extra amounts of super-strength compared to the rest of the Shazam Family.
Darla Dudley is Billy Batson's foster sister, an exuberant African-American preteen who was abandoned by her parents and adopted by Billy's foster parents, the Vásquezes. Despite her hardships growing up, Darla is very openly affectionate and loving towards her foster family and virtually anyone she meets. Introduced in the Flashpoint miniseries (as a teenager the same age as the other kids), Darla can share Billy's power by saying "Shazam!" She wears a purple uniform, and her speed abilities are amplified, making her faster than the others. She is also unable to keep secrets, which proved rather difficult to overcome.
Clarence Charles "C.C." Batson (named after Captain Marvel co-creator Charles Clarence "C.C." Beck) is the biological father of Billy Batson. Billy's biological parents had been alluded to in a handful of Shazam! stories published prior to 1990 under different names. The 1994 graphic novel The Power of Shazam! by Jerry Ordway introduces C.C. and his wife, Billy's mother Marilyn, and how their deaths in that Post-Crisis continuity at the hands of Theo Adam (alter-ego of Black Adam) led to Billy gaining his powers. Much emphasis is made of Captain Marvel/Shazam's almost-identical appearance to the deceased C.C. Batson.
In current DC Rebirth continuity, C.C. Batson is still alive, resembling an older Captain Marvel/Shazam with greying hair. As a younger man, C.C. had abandoned Marilyn and Billy when Billy was a toddler. After spending a decade in prison, C.C. returns to Philadelphia to find Billy at the Vazquezes' foster home. C.C. is attacked by Black Adam and the Seven Deadly Sins, leading Billy to share his powers with his father to save his life,, making C.C. the prophesied seventh member of the family. In superhero form, C.C. Batson wears a yellow/gold costume with red trim (an inverse of the colors of Billy's costume). It is revealed that C.C. Batson had been possessed by Mister Mind the entire time, who intends to uses the Shazam powers in a plot to unite the Magiclands under his rule, with the help of the Monster Society of Evil.
These members of the Marvel Family appear in stories set in the future.
|Black Marvel Family|
|First appearance||52 #23 (October 11, 2006, first joint-appearance of Black Adam, Isis, and Osiris)|
|Created by||Otto Binder, C. C. Beck, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison|
|Base(s)||Royal Palace, Kahndaq|
|Member(s)||Black Adam |
An older Egyptian renegade protégé of the wizard Shazam, who was the first to be granted superpowers by the wizard. Adam eventually grew to abuse his power, and became a tyrant. Shazam returned to punish Adam with either exile into deep space (in the original Fawcett Comics) or death (in the modern DC Comics). He returns to Earth (or life) after Shazam appoints Captain Marvel his new successor, and was soon established as Captain Marvel's most powerful foe in physical abilities. In later DC continuity, Black Adam joined the Justice Society of America, claiming to have reformed, later turning on the Justice Society by using some of its younger associates to help him overthrow the government of his home country Khandaq.
Adam was one of the main characters in DC's 52 weekly maxi-series, which followed his attempts to establish himself as a hero, which led him to create a "Marvel Family" of his own, which included his superpowered wife Isis and his own "Captain Marvel Jr.", Osiris.
In the current "New 52" continuity, Black Adam was a former Khandaqi slave in ancient times who was granted the power of Shazam along with his young nephew, whom he kills for not sharing his taste for vengeance against their enemies. Adam kills the members of Earth's Council of Wizards save for the wizard Shazam, who imprisoned him and hid magic until Adam was freed by Doctor Sivana in modern times.
The superheroine Isis was originally created for live-action television to star in Filmation's The Secrets of Isis TV show, a sister series for Filmation's adaptation of Shazam!. Isis teamed up with Captain Marvel on occasion in both television and comics, and briefly starred in a licensed DC comic book in the late 1970s.
In 2006, DC Comics created a new, unrelated Isis and introduced her into the DC Universe. This Isis is the alter-ego of Adrianna Tomaz, originally a slave from Egypt offered to Black Adam by the terrorist group Intergang as a token to curry his favor. Although Adam dealt harshly with the slavers and kills one of them, Adrianna becomes Adam's love interest and made him a more merciful figure, and was granted a special amulet that allowed her to become the avatar of the Egyptian goddess. Adam married Isis, but her death at the hands of the Four Horsemen of Apokolips drove him to a fit of mass murder. At the end of the Black Adam: The Dark Age mini-series in 2007, Isis was resurrected by Felix Faust. However, the ordeal of her death, and many months spent as a brainwashed slave, routinely abused by Faust, left her much colder and ruthless than before, making her even less merciful than her husband. In current "New 52" continuity, Adrianna Tomaz is a peaceful freedom fighter who helps her brother Amon resurrect Black Adam after his defeat at the hands of the superhero Shazam.
The teenaged Osiris is Amon Tomaz, Adrianna's long-lost brother who was kidnapped, enslaved, and crippled by Intergang. Adam shared his powers with Amon, allowing him to transform into the superpowered Osiris by saying the name "Black Adam". Osiris was murdered by his trusted companion, Sobek the talking crocodile, revealed to be Famine, one of the Four Horsemen. During the 2009-2010 crossover event Blackest Night, Osiris was resurrected alongside other heroes, and was later resurrected as a White Lantern, for the purpose of releasing Isis, for which he joins the new Titans. In current "New 52" continuity, Amon Tomaz is a rebellious freedom fighter who helps resurrect Black Adam after his defeat at the hands of the superhero Shazam.
Sobek is an intelligent humanoid crocodile, created and abandoned by the Sivana Family, who befriends the Black Marvel family during the 52 maxi-series after escaping from his cage at the Sivana compound. Despite his monstrous appearance, the character is portrayed as timid, meek, and good-natured, making him the Black Marvel Family's analogue to Tawky Tawny. Sobek reveals a more horrifying side in 52 Week 43, when he convinced a distraught Osiris to change into his mortal form, then suddenly killed and devoured him. Sobek was revealed in Week 44 to be the Fourth Horseman, Famine. He appeared to have been killed by Black Adam both in self-defense and revenge, but reappears in the 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen mini-series.
Besides the Black Marvel Family, the following are among the most prominent members of the Marvel Family's rogues gallery, in order of first appearance in the comics.
Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, Sr. - "The World's Wickedest Scientist" - debuted in Whiz Comics #2 alongside Billy Batson and Captain Marvel, quickly becoming his main archenemy and most frequently recurring villain. A mad scientist who fights the Marvel Family using his genius intellect and inventions, the Golden Age Sivana had been a humanitarian scientist who bitterly fled 20th-century Europe after his inventions were ridiculed by the scientific society. Living on Venus with his four children, he became a mad scientist, bent on taking over the universe.
Other versions of Sivana in later DC Comics have positioned him as Billy Batson's wicked step-uncle (Shazam!: The New Beginning), a wealthy, wicked businessman driven to ruin by his entanglements with Black Adam (The Power of Shazam!), and the wicked Attorney General of the United States (Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil). The current-continuity Doctor Sivana, following the 2011 reboot, is a rich scientist determined to prove the existence of magic, which leads him to free both Black Adam and Mister Mind. Sivana acquires the ability to both see magic and project magic lightning from his right eye.
During the early and mid-1940s, Dr. Sivana was often assisted, under duress, by his good-natured adult daughter Beautia (and, briefly, Sivana's oldest child, his son Magnificus). From the mid-1940s onward, his youngest children - teenaged twins Thaddeus, Jr. aka Sivana, Jr, and Georgia Sivana, both dead ringers for their father - became his henchmen as the Sivana Family. Georgia Sivana became a prominent villain for Mary Marvel, as did Sivana, Jr. for Captain Marvel, Jr.
Originally known as the "Seven Deadly Enemies of Man" and first appearing in the Whiz Comics #2 origin story in 1940, the sins are seven powerful demons held prisoner by the Wizard Shazam in his lair. The demons, whose forms vary by era and artist, sometimes escape and cause havoc through murder and using their powers to influence sin in humans.
Based upon the seven deadly sins as enumerated in Christian legend, the original "Seven Deadly Enemies of Man" were slightly censored for suitable reading for children: Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Selfishness, Laziness, and Injustice. Each demon could influence their namesake sin in human victims. Beginning with DC's JSA series in the mid-2000s, the proper Christian names/versions of the sins were used: Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Sloth, Gluttony, and Lust.
Introduced in a three-part crossover between Master Comics and Whiz Comics in 1941 during World War II, Captain Nazi - real name Albrecht Krieger - is a genetically-altered Nazi who is Adolf Hitler's champion. Wearing a green costume with a swastika insignia, Captain Nazi has super-strength, near-invulnerability, and can use a special chemical gas to fly.
Created to wreak havoc on America, Captain Nazi murders an elderly man and cripples a teenage boy during his fight with Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #25 (December 1941). The boy, Freddy Freeman, is granted powers by Captain Marvel to save his life, becoming Captain Marvel, Jr. and declaring Captain Nazi his mortal enemy.
A frail thug named "Stinky" Printwhistle who was empowered by Lucifer himself after Lucifer saved Printwhistle from a fall caused by Captain Marvel. Printwistle is imbued with the powers of four of the most evil men to walk the face of the earth (Ivan the Terrible, Borgia, Attila the Hun and Caligula). When he says the name "IBAC", he is engulfed in green fire and brimstone and becomes a large, muscular brute with super-strength. Saying his name again transforms him back into Printwhistle (therefore, like Captain Marvel, Jr., Ibac also cannot say his own name).
Ibac first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #8 in 1942 and became a recurring Marvel Family villain through the characters' run in Fawcett and DC Comics. The 2011 rebooted version of Ibac is the descendant of a long line of evil despots, the first of whom - Ibac the Terrible - was known in ancient times as "the man who invented evil."
Similar to Ibac, Timothy Karnes is granted the powers of six demons when he says the magic word "Sabbac". As opposed to fire, Sabbac transforms via black lightning cast up (rather than down) from Hades. First appearing in Captain Marvel Jr. #4 (February 1943), Sabbac's pantheon - - grant him powers similar to the Marvel Family, with the added power of pyrokenesis. A second Ibac, Ishamel Gregor, was introduced in the mid-2000s in the Outsiders comic book. While Karnes' Sabbac became a more muscular version of himself in a green cloak with demon fangs, Gregor's Sabbac is a large, muscular, horned demon with red skin and hair.
In the 2011 Shazam! reboot, the Seven Deadly Sins have the power to possess a wicked human and transform him into a fifty-foot tall demon resembling the Ishamel Gregor version of Sabbac.
First appearing in Captain Marvel Adventures #22 (1943) as a disembodied voice, and later in issue #26 in his actual form, Mister Mind - "The World's Wickedest Worm" - is an evil alien caterpillar with genius intellect. Given his small stature, he wears a talkbox to communicate and is often depicted wearing eyeglasses as well. He runs the supervillain team The Monster Society of Evil, whose membership includes most of the Marvel Family's key and recurring villains, including characters such as Doctor Sivana, King Kull, the Crocodile-Men, Captain Nazi, Mister Atom, Ibac, and Oggar. Mister Mind's own powers have included mind control (typically by crawling into a host's ear), telepathy, mental projection, and, once evolved into a "Hyperfly", the ability to eat time itself.
The 2011 reboot of Mister (Maxivermis) Mind presents him as a native of one of the Seven Magiclands (The Monsterlands according to Mind, The Wildlands according to rumor) who gained high-level magic powers by reading every book in the Rock of Eternity's library. His Monster Society includes creatures from across the Magiclands who had been banished to the Monsterlands' Dungeon of Eternity by the Council of Wizards. Its members include Doctor Sivana, Black Adam, the Crocodile-Men, King Kull, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Red Queen[disambiguation needed], Jeepers, Evil Eye, and Mister Atom, as well as new villains Mister Merry-Go-Round and Scapegoat.
The Crocodile-Men (also called "Punkusians") race of humanoid crocodiles from the planetoid Punkus who were members of the Monster Society of Evil in Captain Marvel Adventures during the mid-1940s. There were many unnamed Crocodile-Men who just acted as henchmen for Mister Mind. One of them was one of Mr. Mind's Monster Professors while others were Monster Students.
The third volume of the ongoing Shazam! comic book series, launched in 2018, introduced an unnamed three-headed Crocodile-Man in striped prison attire from the Wildlands who is a member of the Monster Society of Evil.
A wizard who is the "World's Mightiest Immortal." Oggar was originally part of the Shazam pantheon before the Wizard, then known as "Shazamo"", dismissed him. Seeking revenge, Oggar uses his extensive magic powers to battle Shazam and his champions, though his powers do not work on women and girls, allowing Mary to battle him directly. First appearing in a multi-issue arc starting with Captain Marvel Adventures #61 in 1946, Oggar recurred regularly in Shazam! stories during the 1970s and 1980s.
The king of the beast men, Neanderthal-like humanoids who ruled the earth in ancient times and enslaved the Homo sapiens populace. Kull fakes his death and goes into suspended animation, awakening in the modern-day and attempt to take over or destroy the world again. He possesses super-strength, near-invulnerability, and expert weaponry and military skills. Kull first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #125 in 1951.
Originally introduced in the early 1990s as Superman villains, Blaze and Satanus are powerful twin demons who are among the rules of Hades. They are also the estranged children of the Wizard Shazam, from his younger days as the ancient Canaanite superhero Vlarem The Champion. While Satanus has a soft-spot for his father and assists him from time-to-time (including giving life to Tawky Tawny), Blaze hates the Wizard and stages attacks on both him and the Marvel Family, believing the power of Shazam to be her birthright.
In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-5". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-S, including the Marvel Family characters. The names of the characters are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but characters visually similar to the Marvel Family appear. There is also an alternative version of Green Lantern Hal Jordan that also exists on Earth-5 alongside the Marvel Family.