I sincerely hope that the beast that is 2023 has been treating you well thus far.
I figured I’d get this one out for two reasons:
A: Round the Web might be a little tag I use to talk to you about or show you guys some fun stuff from elsewhere in the web (sometimes, it may not necessarily be DC-related).
B: As of this post, Shazam: Fury of the Gods is out today and I’m writing some of this at midnight and finishing in the morning hours, so I‘ll probably be off to see it by the time y’all read this.
But on to the cool thing I want to show you, to kinda sorta celebrate the release of a new Shazam movie but also take stock of the character’s long and twisty road through comics and pop-culture history:
This is an essay video from YouTuber Matt Draper that isn’t in the typical style of most essay videos or what I’m accustomed to seeing from him. This is really a retrospective that takes us more or less beat-by-beat through the complicated publishing history of Shazam (or Captain Marvel, if you’re old enough ).
From his humble beginnings as the one superhero character on newsstands who outsold Superman by millions of copies, to the years-long litigation saga that effectively blinked the Marvel Family from existence.
From a concerted effort to revive the character that saw one of his co-creators quit comics entirely, to an inevitable modernization (and corporate acquisition) that saw the Marvel Family jump around DC in fits and starts.
From the Marvel Family’s influence on the broader comic book landscape; a series of domino effects that culminated in another Comic Book Company inheriting the Captain Marvel name…
The history of Shazam is one of the craziest stories you’ll ever hear about the early history of the American comics industry, and it may have had a bigger impact on the broader pop-culture landscape than most would suspect.
All of that is broken down terrifically by Draper, more or less taking us up to present day (the video came out over a couple years back, so he stops at the end of Geoff Johns’ second run, and briefly mentions the film sequel in passing).
So if you’re a fan of this character and his corner of the DCU or you’re somebody new to the Big Red Cheese and want an accessible, non-exhaustive rundown of his history from a neutral perspective, this is a great way to dive into the rabbit hole.
If there are other bits of weird lore from Shazam’s publication history that only you know about, sound off in the thread below!
(And if you’ve already seen Fury of the Gods, feel free to give your impressions. NO SPOILERS, please! There’s another post for that.)