Shazam! Shazam! Shazam!…movie

It’s been a long time coming, but they’re finally going through with the Captain Marvel…I mean…Shazam, movie. I don’t remember the last time I was so excited about a DC movie.

There’ve been rumors running around for a long time about a Captain Marvel (it’s hard for me to call him Shazam. It doesn’t feel right) movie. I’ve been let down before, but when Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), confirmed that he was going to play Black Adam, I knew that my prayers to the Geek Gods had been answered. Those virgin sacrifices upon an altar made of comic books and old issues of Dungeon Magazine worked.

I’m not going to talk about the history of Captain Marvel or anything like that (this link is a great start). I’m going to talk about why I love The Big Red Cheese.

An interesting redesign

Me and Captain Marvel (Not Shazam, godammit!)

One of my oldest memories is waking up early to watch the Shazam! tv show. I didn’t really understand it, but i remember having to watch it every week. I don’t think I was even three years old.

Growing up, my great-uncle Irving used to bring me comic books. Huge packages of random comic books. Mostly he’d bring me Marvel, but sometimes DC. This exposed me to a wide rang of heroes, but I never got one of that weird guy with the white cape and lightning bolt. I used to buy comics at the local Lamstons (a NYC chain similar to Woolworth’s) and they had a small variety of books. I mostly picked up Spidey and Captain America. It wasn’t until I discovered real comic books shops where I saw The Power of Shazam!

Captain Marvel and Superman

Captain Marvel stories are like Superman stories, but goofy and fun. They’re not afraid to be for kids. It’s pure childhood wish fulfillment: an orphan child that becomes a superhero through his own heroism, and then spreads his power to others. He builds a family that he never had. I didn’t realize it until I started writing this article, but I did the same thing with Song of Simon. In Watchmage, you could analyze Nathaniel as the wizard Shazam that gives power to others (Hendricks). It’s proof that the experiences of your past (even things you barely remember) color your writing.

My favorite Captain Marvel appearances come much later, as a member of the JSA and Marvel universe in general. He’s the moral compass that keeps other heroes from sinking too far. He believes in redemption and fair play. He’s as powerful as Superman. I think that he’s more powerful, with the combined might of several gods and the wisdom of Solomon, but they usually have the two fight to a draw (don’t even get me started on the DC Injustice bullshit). The JLA Unlimited episode “Clash” is a good example of the differences between the two (including Marvel wanting to stop fighting around all the bystanders, and Supes not caring.

I especially his interplay with some of the younger women in the JSA, like Stargirl. It shows his duality, a teenage boy in a grown man’s body. At one point the JSA had an intervention to ward off his interest in her. He chose to leave Stargirl and the JSA rather than reveal his secret, as the wisdom of Solomon advised against it. Sometimes wisdom hurts.

I haven’t read any of the new Captain Marvel, but from what I’ve heard, I don’t know if I like it. They made him less of the moral hero and a little bit shady. That takes away from what appeals to me about him. He stands out because he’s unadulterated goodness. He’s the hero that others should aspire to be like, even Superman.

You know why I like Captain Marvel? This:

We’re done here *drops mic*

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Captain Marvel and Revisionist History (link below)

I’ve mentioned the blog The Middle Spaces before as my go-to site for intelligent discourse about comics.  I’m sending you a link to a recent post about Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) which discusses feminist theory, revisionist history, and the little known WASPs of WWII.  I’m including the first few paragraphs below, and then a link.  You should read this.

As I mentioned in my post “Captain Marvel and More Black Iron Man,” in 2012 Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel (sometimes Warbird, once Binary) took up the name Captain Marvel in a new (but now discontinued) series by that name written by Kelly Sue DeConnick—one of the few women currently writing mainstream comics.  While I developed an appreciation of disappointment felt by some fans regarding Monica Rambeau’s loss of the “Captain Marvel” name, I still like the idea of Carol Danvers using the name and think it works in the scope of her military background and source of her powers.

msmarvelvol1no1Rereading the first major story arc in DeConnick’s series I also came to appreciate her attempt to write Ms./Captain Marvel into a revisionist feminist text. It struck me as a laudable attempt to make manifest the purported feminist subtext of the character.  The “Ms.” part of her former name alone suggests the kind of Gloria Steinem independence associated with the Second Wave of feminism of the era when the first Ms. Marvel title was published. Of course, being written and drawn by men has undermined this ostensible subtext many times over—starting with her halter-top, sometimes backless, sometime mid-riff showing  costume and reaching its height when she was kidnapped, mind controlled, raped, forced to give birth to her own attacker and then allowed to be carried off again “to be happy” in another dimension with her assailant.  Luckily, that was all undone (kind of).

It bears mentioning that when I use the words “revisionist” or “revisionism” in terms of history, I do not mean this pejoratively in the least bit. History requires revision, not only because of the various social and cultural forces that obscure the achievements of and the crimes against various people of different races, genders, classes, etc… but also to counteract the ridiculous notion that there is a such thing as a monolithic “history,” as opposed to competing stories comprised of the different ways knowledge is created through analysis, research and story-telling.  History needs continual revision because it is not only what is being told, but how it is being told.  Some of the historical events that DeConnick uses in this arc are not necessarily newly revealed (to many), but the way in which she uses them are new.

Read the full article here.

Novel Updates and more Comic Book Questions

Hi everyone. I decided that I am going to update every Tuesday and Friday. I’ll try, anyway. Sometimes I get so caught up in other work, I forget to update here.

I just finished writing the first 5 chapters to the currently unnamed Watchmage novel, which is a retelling of the serial that I’ve been working on since november. I expect to have the first draft done by the end of the Summer, unless I get a life. My serial, on the other hand, is going strong. It recently moved into 8th Place. If you haven’t VOTED, you really should. We emerging artists need your help.

Song of Simon is still at the editors. I recently submitted all of my author info, including my dedication and acknowledgements. I dedicated it to my Mom and to Valerie. There are some people that might be surprised that they’re in my acknowledgements. If I leave anyone out, I apologize in advance.

My publisher would like me to make a video trailer for SoS. I know nothing about that kind of thing. Luckily I have several filmmaker friends, that I can arrange something with (hopefully). I might even be able to get original music. I like getting my friends involved, so they could get some credit and exposure too.

Now about comics: i was thinking about DC the other day. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam (Captain Marvel) all have connections to Greek Mythology. WW is an Amazon and the daughter of Zeus, AM is King of Atlantis, Shazam draws his power from several Gods/ heroes. So why hasn’t there been a WW, AM, and SZ crossover. As they all have connections to different gods (give AM to Neptune), it would be easy to turn a conflict between the gods into a conflict between their proxies. Both WW and AM, when they are at their best, are flawed heroes (as the best greek heroes are). Put them in a story with Shazam, who has always been portrayed as the purest of heart of all the DC heroes, and you are bound to find sparks.

I heard that the new Shazam isn’t quite as heroic as the one before the reboot. This really pisses me off. The whole appeal of Captain Marvel is his innocence and unshakable devotion to good. Sure, it makes it hard to carry a series like that, but as part of an emsemble, he’s fantastic. In fact, all three of these characters work best in an ensemble (IMHO). Put them together, see what happens.

Earth's Mightiest Mortal...I still think he can take Superman