Saturday, 10 December 2016

DC TV: Shazam #21 (1976)

Shazam #21 (DC)

Credits: C.C. Beck & Pete Costanza (a)

Young Billy Batson having been given super-powers by the Wizard Shazam at the Rock of eternity and only had to say the wizard's name and in a flash of lightning became Captain Marvel Originally in Whiz Comics #2 (Feb 1940), the good captain went on to be the best selling superhero and comic book throughout most of the forties.

Unfortunately this caught the ire of National Comics (DC) who sued for plagiarism as theya rgued he was too similar to their flagship character Superman.. The court battle went on for several years,and although Captain Marvel's publishers, Fawcett won the first round an appeal by DC eventually led to an out of court settlement with Fawcett ceasing publication of their Comic.

The last issue of Whiz Comics was #155 in June 1953, Captain Marvel Adventures ended with #150 (November 1953) and The Marvel Family shortly after in January 1954 with #89.


That wasn't the end of the character though he went into hiatus for a couple of decades until DC decided to licence Captain Marvel (eventually acquiring full rights) and began publishing a new series under the title of Shazam ( as Captain Marvel's trademark had been taken by Marvel) in February 1973. This bi-monthly comic did not last long (just  35 issues including several 100 page specials) but this did become a TV series.

The comic was promoted as a "tie in" to the TV series but the contents did not match the show at all which must have confused readers a great deal, This particular issue I picked up at random (mainly because of it's cover) contains two stories reprinted from the fifties.

The World of Giant Rats (upon which the cover is based) sees Captain Marvel head to the future where he finds the world dominated by sentient giant rats and humans living underground seemingly persecuted by Earth's new rulers. However not all is at seems and it is the humans who remained on Earth whilst everyone else who headed to stars that are the real bad guys here.

The second feature is a Captain Marvel Jr story featuring Freddy Freeman in The City in the Mirage. Again first impressions are false and Freddy helps overthrow the evil dictator who runs the show.

I don't think this programme ever aired in the UK but certainly I've never seen it except on You Tube. Here's a taste of what was on offer. How far modern TV shows have come in terms of production values since those days!

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