|First appearance||Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940)|
|Created by||C. C. Beck|
|Alter ego||Jebediah of Canaan|
|Team affiliations||Marvel Family|
Squadron of Justice
Council of Immortals
|Notable aliases||The Champion, Jebediah O' Keenan|
Shazam (//) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by both Fawcett Comics and DC Comics. The wizard Shazam is not to be confused with his champion Shazam/Captain Marvel, the former bestowing powers on the latter as detailed in the 1940s Whiz Comics.
The wizard Shazam has appeared in numerous DC comics series and various media including television and the DC Extended Universe. Djimon Hounsou played the ancient wizard Shazam in the 2019 theatrical film, a cameo in Black Adam, and is set to return in the sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods to be released in 2023.
Created in the 1940s by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck for Fawcett Comics, he is an ancient wizard (Whiz Comics #2 gives his age as 3,000 years) who gives young Billy Batson the power to transform into the superhero Captain Marvel. Despite the new comic's popularity and theatrical success, Captain Marvel was similar enough to Superman that a court ruled against Fawcett in 1952.
Two decades after gaining the rights to Captain Marvel, DC Comics began publishing new stories under the title Shazam!. This became a problem for DC's lawyers, as the company had abandoned any rights to the Captain Marvel name, and it was now owned by rival Marvel Comics.
In 2012, DC officially changed Captain Marvel's name to "Shazam", to resolve trademark conflicts with the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Both the wizard and his champion shared the name of "Shazam" in the comic book stories published from then to date, the Wizard later revealing "Shazam" is an adopted name, his original name being Mamaragan.
Shazam informs Billy that he is an ancient Greek/Egyptian wizard who has been using his powers for many centuries to fight the forces of evil, but that he is now old and not long for this world. He therefore passes along part of his power to Billy, who shouts his name – "SHAZAM!" – to transform into Captain Marvel/Shazam. Although Shazam is killed, as prophesied, by a giant granite block falling on him, Billy/Captain Marvel/Shazam can summon the ghost of Shazam for guidance by lighting a special brazier in Shazam's lair (the Rock of Eternity). More superheroes soon joined the superhero Shazam in carrying on the legacy of the wizard Shazam, including Shazam Family members Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. Shazam tells that once, 5,000 years before, he gave powers to Black Adam, but Black Adam was killed while turning back to his regular self. He died due to his advanced age.
When Billy first meets him, Shazam tells Billy that his name is an acronym for six ancient heroes. Each letter empowers him with certain attributes:
Originally, the wizard's name was Shazamo, the last letter standing for the hero of magic Oggar. However, Oggar became corrupt and tried to take power from Shazamo. The wizard defeated Oggar and cursed him to live in the world of mortals. He was given cloven hooves as a sign of his inner evil, and could cast each magic spell only once. Shazamo then dropped the last letter of his name.
In a story written by E. Nelson Bridwell for World's Finest Comics #262 (cover date April/May 1980), Shazam's origins are further explored. This gave him a backstory in which he was a young shepherd who becomes the Champion, one of the world's first superheroes in ancient Canaan, over 5,000 years ago. By speaking the magic word "VLAREM!" (an anagram of "Marvel"), he gained the power of the following fictional gods:
|M||Stamina of Marzosh||Using Marzosh's endurance, the Champion can withstand and survive most types of extreme physical assaults. Additionally, he does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe and can survive unaided in space when in his Champion form.|
|A||Speed of Arel||By channeling Arel's speed, the Champion can fly and move at unlimited speeds.|
|R||Power of Ribalvei||Ribalvei's power, besides fueling the magic thunderbolt that transformed the Champion, also enhances the Champion's other physical and mental abilities, provides physical invulnerability, and grants magic resistance against most magic spells and attacks as well as allowing interdimensional travel.|
|V||Strength of Voldar||The Champion has incredible amounts of super strength, and is able to easily bend steel, punch through walls, and lift massive objects.|
|E||Courage of Elbiam||Like wisdom, this aspect is primarily psychological and gives the Champion superhuman amounts of inner strength on which to draw. It also makes him highly resistant to mind control.|
|L||Wisdom of Lumian||As the Champion, Shazam has instant access to a vast amount of scholarly knowledge, he can understand all languages.|
At one point, the Champion is seduced by a demoness disguised as a beautiful woman, and the two of them conceive two half-demon offspring, Blaze and Satanus, much to the displeasure of the gods. The Champion later creates the Rock of Eternity from two large rock formations – one from Heaven and one from Hell – to hold the Three Faces of Evil, a dragon-like demon, captive. Shazam trapped demons of the Seven Deadly Sins in statues of themselves and imprisoned them at the Rock of Eternity.
Many centuries later, the Champion, now going by the name of "Shazam", feels the need to pass along his powers to a successor. He selects the pharaoh's son Teth-Adam to receive the power to become the superpowered Mighty Adam by speaking the word "SHAZAM!" However, Blaze interferes with this succession and Adam is given powers from the following deities instead:
As her mother did, Shazam's daughter Blaze takes on the form of a beautiful woman and seduces Adam, convincing him to kill the pharaoh and take over the kingdom. An angry Shazam draws Mighty-Adam's powers out of him and into a large jeweled scarab, thereby killing Adam as he ages to death. Shazam then seals his remains and the amulet in a tomb. A wicked reincarnation of Teth-Adam named Theo Adam would steal the scarab many centuries later and use the power of Shazam to become Black Adam. Shazam was upset by this and did not consider passing on his powers for millennia.
The wizard resurfaces as an aide on the 1940 Malcolm Expedition, one of many archaeological expeditions into the tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt. The sarcophagi of Ibis the Invincible and his mate Princess Taia are uncovered and brought to the United States. Shazam follows the sarcophagi. Once they are on display at the Fawcett City Museum, Shazam uses ancient spells to resurrect Ibis. Ibis then joins Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Minute-Man, and others to fight evil during the World War II era.
In 1955, a thug knocks Shazam across the head with a crowbar and causes him to lose his memory. A clueless Shazam wanders around Fawcett for the next forty years until C.C. Batson, a young man Shazam had met on the Malcolm Expedition, recognizes the old man and brings him to the museum to restore his memory. Shazam feels that he has truly found his successor in the upstanding Batson, but before he can act on this, a possessed Theo Adam murders Batson and his wife Marilyn for the magic amulet. He therefore decides to enlist C.C. Batson's young son, Billy, as the successor to his power. In the Marvel Family series, he was shown in some early issues carving the Marvel Family adventures into the Rock of Eternity.
In Superman (vol. 2) #216, Shazam calls upon the Spectre to free Superman from being controlled by the demon Eclipso. This action breaks a covenant between Eclipso and the Spectre and sets Eclipso permanently at odds with the wizard. Possessing the body of Jean Loring, the Atom's ex-wife, Eclipso corrupts the confused Spectre into joining forces with her, and begins a war against all magic-powered beings in the DC Universe.
Because of his previous action, Shazam is one of the duo's primary targets. In the Day of Vengeance mini-series, Shazam enlists Captain Marvel to keep the Spectre at bay while the wizard gathers all of his power to battle him. With the assistance of the newly formed Shadowpact, a band of magic-based heroes, Captain Marvel fights the Spectre nearly to a standstill, but the Spectre escapes and makes his way to the Rock of Eternity to confront Shazam directly. While Shazam is preparing for his bout with the Spectre, he is confronted by Mordru who has just escaped the Rock of Eternity. Mordru and the wizard fight for a short time while the Spectre begins to approach, despite being delayed by fighting Captain Marvel. More concerned with escaping and staying out of the Spectre's way, Mordru leaves a slightly wounded and tired Shazam to fight the Spectre, who is already more powerful than him at full power. The Spectre overpowers the wizard, absorbs his magics, and kills him. As a result, the Rock of Eternity disintegrates above Gotham City into "a billion pieces" and explodes, freeing the Seven Deadly Sins along with many other demons and sending a depowered Billy Batson falling into the city.
In Infinite Crisis #1, Billy finds he is still able to transform into the Captain before he strikes the ground by saying the wizard's name as usual. It is also revealed that the entire affair was orchestrated by Alexander Luthor Jr. and the Psycho-Pirate to reduce magic to its raw form, the death of Shazam turning his name into a tether for the rest of the raw magic that Alexander could harness to power his tower by acquiring one of Shazam's champions, eventually forcibly 'enlisting' Black Adam for that purpose after failing to capture any of the other Marvels.
In Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special, the Shadowpact teams up with the majority of the DC Universe's surviving magical characters to rebuild the Rock of Eternity and reseal the Seven Deadly Sins. The final piece of the reconstruction, revealed by Zatanna, is that a new wizard has to be appointed to guard the Rock. Billy, as the only real candidate, is chosen to succeed Shazam as the Rock's new caretaker.
In the comic series 52, Captain Marvel is revealed to be currently headquartered at the Rock of Eternity, acting in Shazam's stead. He has already imprisoned the Sins again, although he claims they cause trouble at the full moon.
Main article: Trials of Shazam
A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, The Trials of Shazam! mini-series features Captain Marvel, now with a white costume and long white hair, taking over the role of the wizard Shazam under the name Marvel while a powerless Freddy Freeman attempts to prove himself worthy to take on the powers of Shazam. Mary lost her powers a year after Shazam's death and fell from a great height, placing her in a coma. She later wakes up and accepts power from Black Adam.
Also attempting the Trials is Sabina who, with the assistance of The Council of Merlin, manages to gain several of the Powers of Shazam before Freeman can. During the Trials, Sabina kills Atlas with the dagger of three points, forcing Freddy and Marvel to briefly take on Atlas's burden until Freddy can convince Apollo to take on Atlas's burden instead in the hope that his healing power will be a sufficient substitute for Atlas's stamina, but Apollo shares his powers with Freddy and Sabina out of bitterness that he lost the family of his mortal identity when taking Atlas's place. At the series finale, Sabina and the Council of Merlin seek audience with Merlin himself, and convince him to aid them in an assault on New York City that would send the magical world out of balance. Merlin opens a portal through which several demons appear and begin converting humans to their ranks, the intention being that if one million souls are taken, Zeus will be forced to give his power to Sabina as Merlin will have a foothold on Earth. The Justice League arrive to join the fight and Freddy battles Sabina herself, but is seemingly beaten. However, during the fight, Freddy Freeman proves that he is willing to sacrifice himself by attempting to force both Sabina and himself back through the portal that the demons emerged from; an act that would end the assault, destroy the powers of Shazam, and kill both of them. Witnessing Freddy's willingness to die so that magical balance can be restored, Zeus, who had been disguised throughout the series as Freddy's friend Zareb Babak, a retired necromancer, reveals himself and informs Freddy that he is the most worthy, granting him the full power of Shazam. Freddy says the word aloud and the lightning comes down, transforming him into Shazam. Sabina is forced through the portal and killed, and the demons disappear or turn back into humans.
In this new incarnation, Shazam looks essentially like the original Captain Marvel, only with Freeman's long hair.
Some time after Shazam's appointment, Black Adam and his resurrected bride Isis, along with the corrupted Mary Marvel, wrest control of the Rock of Eternity from Marvel, turning him back into Billy Batson at the same time. The spirit of Billy and Mary's father recruits Jay Garrick to go on a mission to the netherworld domain called Rock of Finality where Shazam's spirit sealed in stone resides ever since he was slain by Spectre. Jay brings Shazam to Earth where Black Adam is convinced to give back his powers to restore Shazam so that the greatly corrupted Isis can be saved as she is planning to wipe out humanity. The restored wizard removes the powers from Isis and the Marvels and turns Teth-Adam and Adrianna to stone. Shazam tells Billy and Mary that they failed him and that their access to his power is cut off. He also returns Stargirl to Earth as his final favor to them. Shazam also mentions Freddy, stating that his magic comes from elsewhere, and that he too will be dealt with as Shazam closes up the Rock of Eternity to go deal with Freddy.
While not part of the first wave of DC's The New 52 2011 line wide relaunch, it was announced at New York Comic Con on October 15, 2011, that Billy Batson would be featured in a backup story, "The Curse of Shazam!" beginning in Justice League (vol. 2) #7 in March 2012. It was confirmed by Geoff Johns, DC Comics' chief creative officer and the author of the story, that Billy Batson's alter ego would be called "Shazam" rather than "Captain Marvel" from now on. In DC's, 2012 Free Comic Book Day offering called The New 52 FCBD Special #1, it was revealed that seven wizards representing seven different mythologies occupied the Rock of Eternity at the dawn of time in The New 52. They harnessed the power of magic to cast out a "Trinity of Sin", which acted as a precursor to the 2013 Trinity War crossover event. A younger version of the Wizard is part of this group of wizards.
In this version, the Wizard is depicted as a native of the Middle Eastern kingdom of Kahndaq. The Wizard was the last of a council of beings who controlled magic from the fortress known as the Rock of Eternity. One of their first actions was to punish and sentence the Earth's greatest transgressors. So they summoned Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and Question to the Rock of Eternity and evoked the different punishments on them. At some point in the Council of Wizards' history, most of the council members were killed by Black Adam except for the Wizard. Many years later, the Wizard appeared before Pandora. He is very weak and tells her that he has just given his power to a new champion of magic who will take his seat on the now destroyed council. The Wizard says that he has come to tell Pandora that he and the council were wrong for punishing her. He says that the other two members of the Trinity deserved their punishment but she was just a curious girl and he asks for her forgiveness. He then tells her that she can no longer open the box and that what had been released could not be put back. But there was still power within the box and it would take the strongest of heart or the darkest to open it. Then the vision disappears before Pandora can find out who that person might be. When Doctor Sivana opens Black Adam's tomb and frees Black Adam, the Wizard begins abducting people one by one via magic and bringing them to the Rock of Eternity to assess them for the job of inheriting his powers only to dismiss each of them for not being pure of heart. The Wizard then summons Billy to the Rock of Eternity as his last candidate, but upon meeting him sees how rotten a child he is and dismisses him as well until Billy argues that perfectly good people "really don't exist" and that the Wizard may never find what he is looking for. Agreeing with Billy and aware that he is dying, the Wizard sees that Billy has the potential to be good and passes on his powers to the boy by asking him to speak the magic word "Shazam" with "good intentions" as merely saying the word has no effect. After saying the magic word, Billy is struck by a bolt of lightning which transforms him into Shazam, a super-powered being possessing super-strength and flight. The Wizard then passes away and transports Shazam back to Earth.
When Billy Batson's powers to the original gods of the magic lightning are severed, the spirit of the Wizard arranges for new gods to empower Billy. The Wizard reveals to Billy that he is himself one of these gods – the Wizard is just a name he acquired – and that his true name is Mamaragan.
In the DC Rebirth relaunch, Mamaragan appears as a key member of The Immortals, a group founded by Hawkman and Hawkgirl to study the Dark Multiverse. In the present, they are headquartered in Antarctica. They advised Lady Blackhawk/Kendra Saunders to use the brain of Anti-Monitor to destroy the Dark Multiverse. His knife is taken by Batman and then Talia al Ghul in preparation against Barbatos.
Mamaragan later appears in the Gamelands part of the Magiclands where he picks up Pedro and Eugene. He teleports them to the Wozenderlands where he saves the White Rabbit from the winged monkeys that work for the Wicked Witches of the North, South, East, and West. Then he asks the White Rabbit where Alice is. As the White Rabbit comes along with them to meet up with Alice and Dorothy Gale, Mamaragan explains that all will be explained shortly. But right now, the trees are listening. While roasting apples and cucumbers at their campfire with the White Rabbit learning about Pedro and Eugene's experiences in the Funlands and the Gamelands, Mamaragan explains that the disruption in the transformation is on Billy's part as the seventh's champion needs to be found. Mamaragon later teleports Billy, Mary, and C.C. away from Black Adam and the Seven Deadly Sins and brings them to the Wozenderlands. He then teleports the rest of Billy's foster family after Billy and Mary fought off the Cheshire Cat. After explaining that he needed Billy to believe that he passed away after their first meeting, Mamaragan explains that the error in the power-sharing spell is because of the conflict of his foster family and the return of C.C. where it can be remedied by sharing it with those that he deems family. Billy was able to remedy this by declaring that he'll share his powers with anyone he considers family. After the Shazam Family defeated King Kid, Billy brings Mamaragan the dinner that Tawky Tawny made. When asked about King Kid, Mamaragan states that King Kid has been returned to the Funlands where the adults will decide how to deal with him. He sends Billy on his way so that he can uncover the latest disturbance in the Magiclands. After seeing what he has to do later that night, Mamaragan strikes down C.C. as he states that he can't have him interfering. Billy investigates what happened and asks Mamaragan why he struck down his father. Mamaragan claims that C.C. is corrupting the magic which will interfere in stopping the upcoming threat while claiming that he chose poorly with Billy like he did with Black Adam. The rest of the Marvel Family join in the fight and suspect that he is not the real Mamaragan. As C.C. regains consciousness, he informs Victor, Rosa, and Tawky about a vision he had about the Magic War where Mamaragan slaughtered creatures throughout the lands and sealed them off from one another. Billy and C.C. use their powers to send Mamaragan back to the Rock of Eternity just as Black Adam arrives. Shazam figures out that Mamaragan attacked C.C. because he is the actual host of Mister Mind and not Doctor Sivana as they have freed the Monster Society of Evil. When Mamaragan witnesses the spell that Doctor Sivana cast to bring the Book of Champions out of the Rock of Eternity, Mamaragan comments that he made a big mistake. Mamaragan watches the fight between Shazam and Mister Mind from the Rock of Eternity. Following the defeat of Mister Mind and Superboy-Prime, Mamaragan has left the Rock of Eternity. From an unknown location, Mamaragan states that he is proud of Billy and that he would eventually lead Black Adam to a full redemption.
Shazam has many superhuman powers and abilities as the result of his magical skills as well as powers bestowed to him as the representative of the various gods whose powers the Wizard gives to certain representatives of those gods as their champion as in the cases of Black Adam and Batson.
As the Guardian of the Rock of Eternity, he is one with the Rock as it is a part of him. He channels the energies of the primal God-wave and the Greek Lords of Magic through the Rock of Eternity. As such, he is infused with the duty to keep the power and the magic of the earth realm in balance. As keeper of the Rock of Eternity, he also holds the dark forces at bay. Due to being bound to the Rock of Eternity, Shazam's spirit can only leave the Rock of Eternity for short periods of time, with Shazam becoming weaker the longer he is away from it.
Pre-Crisis, he once claimed to get his powers from his magic mantle which protected him from evil harm and enabled other powers. When it was removed, he lost his powers and became just an old man, although it does not appear to work for others; when Sivana put it on, he was not protected from Captain Marvel as it only protects the wearer from evil harm. In other stories, he is shown as being weaker, being captured even while wearing the mantle, and it is once shown that the brazier being lit will summon him even if he is not at the Rock of Eternity. He also possessed a device with which he could observe the past, present and future, and can throw lightning bolts from the Rock, which transform the Marvels. In another story, it is claimed that Shazam's powers come from a Shazamium bracelet which enables him and anybody else wearing it to become ethereal and travel back and forth from the Rock of Eternity. If Shazam has it off for 24 hours, he dies.
In the Kingdom Come reality, Shazam is a member of the Quintessence and has been displeased that Billy Batson has been corrupted by Lex Luthor's influence.
In Flashpoint reality, the power of the six Elders is divided up between six children who say Shazam together to transform into Captain Thunder, similar to the Lieutenant Marvels. They claim to have gotten on the subway car to Shazam's lair.