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Matt Hawes
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 11:25am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The new SHAZAM film opened this week, and it portrays the character as a child in a man's body, with superpowers. Basically,  it's a superhero makeover of the Tom Hanks film BIG.

Even in the comics it seems writers can't decide if the character once known as the original Captain Marvel is supposed to be a child in adult form, or a child who changes into an adult. But for the camp that thinks it's the former, where does the wisdom of Solomon fit in? His powers are derived from the gods, and the "S" in "Shazam" stands for "Solomon," so why would Captain Marvel ever act childish? Is the wisdom something he has to concentrate on in order to access it?

Thoughts?


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Michael Roberts
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

You stole my comment! :D

Even in the comics, the Wisdom of Solomon is never handled consistently.

If we wanted to be literal about the Wisdom of Solomon, reading the bible verses concerning that, Solomon was asking God for the ability to judge right and wrong. So I guess one can argue that Captain Marvel's power is the ability to discern right from wrong, but he'd still have the choice to act on that or not. Much like Solomon chose not to act on his wisdom when it came to the ladies.

Black Adam's wisdom was derived from Zehuti/Thoth, which was a more general god of wisdom/knowledge, so I guess you can also argue that the Shazam wisdom power was more than just moral judgment (or perhaps it's the difference between Captain Marvel and Black Adam).

In conclusion, I don't know.

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John Byrne
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 12:27pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Cap was an “innocent abroad”, but not a child.

I’ve been wondering, tho, since they changed him to “Shazam”, is he now trapped in the old Captain Marvel Jr problem, where he can’t say his own name?

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James Johnson
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Cap was an “innocent abroad”, but not a child. I’ve been wondering, tho, since they changed him to “Shazam”, is he now trapped in the old Captain Marvel Jr problem, where he can’t say his own name?

===============================================

LOL!

Did DC editors ever think this through?
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Paul Gibney
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 1:06pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

As I understand it, he has to actually want to change when he says Shazam!, so, no. Too bad; it was a charming bit for Junior. Charming is not in the current lexicon, I guess.
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John Byrne
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 1:09pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

How many Billy Batsons does it take to change into Shazam?

Only one, but he has to WANT to change.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 1:28pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 Micheal Roberts wrote:
...You stole my comment! :D ...

WHOOPS! It was one of those "two minds thinking alike" things, I promise. :-)


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Eric Jansen
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 8:49pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I assume that, post-CRISIS, DC wanted to differentiate Capt. Marvel from Superman more than he had been, and I think the Keith Giffen crowd thought it would be funny if the big strong guy had the mind of a kid.

I've read the ALTER EGO articles that talked about all the SHAZAM proposals that were rejected, and I think I would have preferred any of them to what was ultimately done.  The Roy Thomas/Tom Mandrake mini-series was a hit and should have gone to series but fell through the cracks somehow.

So, to answer the question--the Wisdom of Solomon DOESN'T fit with childish actions and mistakes.  The question is: Is it a good trade-off?  In a shared universe (comic book or cinematic), it probably works.  Ideally though, I'd prefer if the character headed his own comic company and universe and, then, I don't think that's the way a smart editor and creative team would go.
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: April 04 2019 at 11:57pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I just saw the movie and every time Billy/Shazam says the name, he
changes whether he intends to or not. I think that’s also the case on the
animated JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION show. I’m not sure what the
current status quo in the comics is.
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: April 05 2019 at 12:16am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I imagine Captain Marvel's lack of familiarity but heightened wisdom to be akin to Schwarzenegger's character in Twins. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: April 05 2019 at 12:40am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The idea that Billy and Cap were one and the same and referred to themselves as one person started in the 1987 Roy Thomas mini-series, in which the wizard Shazam briefly recalls the original Marvel Family before saying that he must put such memories out of his mind forever, for that way lies madness. 

I think the concept of the "little kid in an adult body" is awful within a shared universe or otherwise. Kids do not move, speak, or think like adults. Every villain he encounters should tumble to his "secret" pretty quickly and take advantage of it at every turn. At the very least, he would be regarded as "differently abled."

The "wisdom of Solomon" is not going to compensate for a kid's lack of grace, awareness, or experience. He may be able to weigh complicated decisions and come to wise conclusions regarding the means by which to proceed, but that's not the same thing as behaving as an adult. If fact, based on my experiences in the adult world, that ability occurs infrequently at best.

Going ahead with a Captain Marvel feature in which the lead character no longer appears holds no appeal for me. Billy Batson comics starring the great Billy Batson in disguise as Billy Batson may be your idea of a good time, but it is not mine, especially now that Billy is no longer a decent kid but rather more of a punk with a chip on his shoulder.

Much like Foglio's Plastic Man, who hallucinated a Jack Cole-style reality because of his exposure to "acid," the Billy-as-Cap character is a one-note joke run amuck. Unfortunately, that qualifies as a "concept" in this imaginatively-bereft age of comics.


Edited by Brian Hague on April 05 2019 at 12:41am
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John Byrne
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Posted: April 05 2019 at 5:41am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

...I'd prefer if the character headed his own comic company and universe and, then, I don't think that's the way a smart editor and creative team would go.

•••

Some of you may recall that I almost did Captain Marvel. One of my up-front conditions, tho, was that he be “separate” from the DCU. The Powers That Were agreed to this, and I started work. Then they said “Oh, by the way, he has to be in the Justice League.”

sigh

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