Captain Marvel

+ Mary Marvel + Captain Marvel Jr. + The Marvel Family

Created by Bill Parker & C. C. Beck
Captain Marvel Jr. created by France Herron, C. C. Beck & Mac Raboy
Mary created by Otto Binder & Marc Swayze
From Who's Who #14 (1986); art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

Marvel

NAME + ALIASES:
Billy Batson, Captain Marvel I

KNOWN RELATIVES:
C.C. Batson (father, deceased), Marilyn (mother, deceased), Mary Batson Bromfield (sister), Ebenezer (uncle, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League International, Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical: Whiz Comics #2[1] (Feb. 1940)
Post-Crisis: Power of Shazam Graphic Novel (1994)

Shazam II

NAME + ALIASES:
Freddy Freeman, CM3, Captain Marvel Jr.

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed grandfather (deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Teen Titans

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical:
Whiz Comics #25 (Dec. 1941)
Current, as Freddy: Power of Shazam! #3 (May 1995)
As Captain Marvel Jr.: Power of Shazam! #7 (Sept. 1995)
As CM3: Power of Shazam! #37 (Apr. 1998)
As Shazam: Trials of Shazam #12 (May 2008)

Mary Marvel

NAME + ALIASES:
Mary Batson-Bromfield, Captain Marvel II

KNOWN RELATIVES:
C.C. Batson (father, deceased), Marilyn (mother, deceased), Billy Batson (brother), Ebenezer (uncle, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Superbuddies

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical: Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (Dec. 1942)
Post-Crisis, as Mary:
Power of Shazam Graphic Novel (1994)
As Captain Marvel:
Power of Shazam! #4 (June 1995)

Shazam

NAME + ALIASES:
Jebediah of Canaan, the Champion

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Blaze (daughter), Satanus (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Marvel Family

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical:
Whiz Comics #2[1] (Feb. 1940)
Post-Crisis: Power of Shazam Graphic Novel (1994)

History

Pre-Crisis History

Text reprinted from Who's Who #14 (Apr. 1986)

The "Marvel Family" consists of six individuals who have been granted special powers by the ancient wizard Shazam and one fake. He himself wielded similar powers for 3,000 years, before the rise of the first historic civilizations. Later, in dynastic Egypt, he tried giving the powers to Teth-Adam, known now Black Adam, but this hero turned villain. Shazam determined to wait a while and, when his death was imminent, to pass his powers on to children who were pure in heart.

So, when his time came, Shazam had a mysterious figure bring newsboy Billy Batson to him, and gave the lad the mystic powers, which Billy gained by saying the wizard's name and changing to Captain Marvel, the World's Mightiest Mortal. (Whiz Comics #2)

Moments from Billy Batson's discovery of the power of Shazam. From Whiz Comics #2 (1940); art by C. C. Beck.
Junior becomes the first addition to the Marvel Family. From Whiz Comics #25 (1941); art by C. C. Beck; Mac Raboy.
Sarah Primm reveals that Billy has a sister, Mary! From Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (1942); art by Marc Swayze.
Mary Marvel meets her slightly suspicious "Uncle" Marvel. From Wow Comics #18 (1943); art by Marc Swayze.

Golden Age Captain Marvel

The next additions to the Marvel Family came when Billy, now working as a newscaster at station WHIZ, met three boys who shared his name: Tall Billy Batson from Texas, Fat Billy Batson from Brooklyn, and Hill Billy Batson from Nashville. These nicknames were chosen to differentiate them from the famous Billy. Tall Billy lives on a ranch, while Hill Billy, son of Zebediah Batson, is now a country-and-western singer.

Billy shared with the other boys his secret — that he was Captain Marvel. Even so, they were reluctant even to speak the magic word "Shazam!"

Then Sivana entered the picture, with three evil associates: bandit "Biggy" Brix, Nazi agent Herr Geyer (from the German geier-vulture), and the strange Captain Death. Each of these was sent by Sivana to capture Billy Batson — but they each caught one of Billy's namesakes. The evil scientist sent a message to Billy to come in that identity or his friends would die.

Billy knew he was walking into a trap, but he took the chance — and the four boys wound up tied to a log in a sawmill, with Billy gagged. He managed to get his gag off by holding his head just close enough to the saw. But the machinery made so much noise, it drowned out his shouts. The other three Billies added their voices, and the word was audible. And all four became '"Captain Marvels." But the others agreed there was only one real Captain Marvel, so they became his "second lieutenants" — the three Lieutenant Marvels. (The four were known for a time as the Squadron of Justice.) (Whiz Comics #21)

After defeating the villains, the three other Billies agreed to speak the magic word only in concert with the first Billy. They first broke this agreement when Billy was framed for treason and they went to his assistance as the Liueutanant Marvels.

The next family member was Captain Marvel Jr. (Whiz Comics #25) followed by Mary MarveI (Captain Marvel Adventures #18). Then came Uncle Marvel.

Mary Batson kept a diary of her work as Mary Marvel — her Good Deed Ledger, as she called it. One day she lost it and it was found by a fat fellow named Dudley, who read it and thus learned the secrets of Mary, Billy, and the rest of the Marvel Family. He then introduced himself as Mary's long-lost Uncle Dudley from California. ("Everybody has an unknown uncle from California," he said.) Moreover, when they both said "Shazam!" Dudley also changed — into Uncle Marvel! Actually, he had slipped out of his outer clothes, which concealed his costume and were fitted with zippers for quick removal.

Dudley then set up a Shazam, lncorporated, with himself as president, explaining he would donate the proceeds of money paid for the Marvels' work to a good cause, and later he followed up on this by making the company nonprofit. Mary soon realized he was a fraud when he said ''Shazam!'' without changing. But he was so good-hearted, she decided to let him think she was fooled, and the other Marvel Family members did the same.

Uncle Marvel often begged off when he was supposed to fly by claiming he had "shazam-bago." Once he used an invention of his — a collapsible rocket motor — to fly, but it didn't work properly and was soon abandoned. (Wow Comics #18)

It appears that Dudley is his last name, as he has a real niece named Mary Dudley (called Freckles). Although she sometimes wore a Mary MarveI dress and called herself Freckles Marvel, she never pretended to have Shazam powers and is not regarded as a true member of the Marvel Family. (Wow Comics #35)

Another who has the Shazam powers Is Hoppy, or Captain Marvel Bunny. He lives in a world of funny animals, however, and is not a member of the Marvel Family. (Fawcett's Funny Animals #1)

» FIRST APPEARANCE:

  • The Lieutenant Marvels: Whiz Comics #21 (Sept. 5, 1941)
  • Named Marvel Family: Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (Dec. 11, 1942)
  • Uncle Marvel: Wow Comics #18 (October 1943)
  • The united Marvel Family: Marvel Family #1 (Dec. 1945)
  • Entire Marvel Family, including the Lieutenants: Marvel Family #2 (June 1946)

Captain Marvel at DC Comics

Though Kid Eternity is Captain Marvel Jr.'s brother, (Shazam! #27) but is not considered one of the Marvel Family.

At one time, the MarveI Family had a show on WHIZ-TV and the Amalgamated Broadcasting System: The Marvel Family Round-Table, moderated by Uncle Marvel.

For several years, the Marvels battled all sorts of evil, but finally Sivana and his evil children, Sivana Jr. and Georgia Sivana, struck at a ceremony honoring the Marvels. The heroes and their friends wound up out in space, in a globe of Suspendium, for decades an act which backfired on the Sivanas, trapping them, too.

When the globe approached the sun, the Suspendium began to vaporize, and the Marvels, Sivanas, and others were finally freed and returned to their former lives.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

..

Post-Crisis History

Shazam: A New Beginning (1986)

Young William Batson in a custody battle between his two uncles, Dudley Batson and Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. From Shazam: The New Beginning #1 (1987); art by Tom Mandrake.
How the wizard Shazam created his first champion, Teth-Adam. From Shazam: The New Beginning #3 (1987); art by Tom Mandrake.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the DC universe was collapsed into a single universe. Earth-S was gone and so the Fawcett characters were left in limbo. Captain Marvel's origin was featured in Secret Origins v.2 #3 (June 1986). The creative team of Roy Thomas Jerry Bingham faithfully reproduced Cap's original appearance.

At about the same time, the character soon made a reappearance in the pages of Legends. This 1986 series reintroduced Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman and led into the relaunch of Justice League — whose membership included the new Captain Marvel. Cap looked and acted much the same, but this new incarnation needed an origin as well.

Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake crafted Cap's new origin in a 4-issue mini-series: Shazam: The New Beginning. In the editorial notes, Thomas confessed that the original Captain Marvel concept simply didn't work in the modern comics marketplace. Much like Plastic Man, unless you could capture that Golden Age spirit perfectly, the result might read as an unintended joke. He wrote, "Modern-day comics readers, we've found, tend to respond best to more realistic renderings of Cap."

The new Billy Batson was 15 years old and lived in San Francisco. While staying with his (real) Uncle Dudley, his parents were killed in a car accident. Dudley was a stage magician and even had a pet rabbit named Hoppy. At his parents' funeral Billy met Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Billy's mother's older step-brother. A custody battle ensued, which Sivana won and Billy went to live at his house. He met his cousins Beautia and Magnificus, who might have been tolerable enough except that Sivana turned out to be abusive towards him.

Billy overheard Sivana talking about inheriting money from the Batsons' deaths, and so he ran away. At an abandoned subway station, a dark figure bade him to come with him into the subway. They passed statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies, and he encountered the wizard Shazam. As in pre-Crisis times, he met Shazam, was transforme by lightning, and sent blindly into the world as Captain Marvel. Back home, Sivana succeeded in contacting Black Adam, who was trapped in another dimension. Note: This origin story is nearly the same as the one from Whiz Comics #2. (Shazam: The New Beginning #1)

Billy ran away from the Sivana home. Sivana coaxes Black Adam into finding Billy and the two did battle. Adam drove Cap off by threatenting to down an airplane. (#2) Billy returned to the subway cavern and summoned the spirit of Shazam for information about Black Adam. He then realized that Sivana was been behind Adam's return. (#3)

In their rematch, Marvel led Black Adam back to Sivana's lab and tricked him into activating the machine to send him back to the "nether realm." In a desert dive, Sivana drank tequila and wished for a partner. The bottle housed a familiar-looking worm. Billy was offered a job at TV station K-WHZ where he interviewed G. Gordon Godfrey, anti-metahuman crusader. (#4)

Legends + Justice League (1986–87)

Godfrey was in fact one of the New Gods of Apokolips. He came to Earth to sow dischord, and anitpathy for super-heroes.

The Power of Shazam!

    
Captain Marvel • Mary Marvel •  Captain Marvel Jr.

The young boy named Jebediah who would one day be known as the wizard Shazam was born in ancient Canaan. When his family was murdered, he called upon seven gods for power. This power was granted, and he became a god in his own right. He weilded aspects of Marzosh, Arel, Ribalvei, Voldar, Elbiam and Lumiun (whose initials spelled "Marvel). He became an immortal defender of several ancient kingdoms. One day Jebediah he was tempted by a demon who bore him two children, Blaze and Satanus. The gods were so angered that they banished the children to the netherworld. Later, the Rock of Eternity was formed to trap the Three Faces of Evil and the gods decreed Shazam must watch over it. (Power of Shazam! #10)

Shazam moved to Fawcett City in the winter of 1940, bearing the Egyptian mummy of Ibis, and secreted himself away. Soon, however, the Axis threat forced Shazam to awaken Ibis and to gather all Fawcett City's heroes to fight. They would team repeatedly throughout the war. (#12)

When Shazam lived in ancient Egypt, he granted power to a hero called Teth-Adam. At one point, Adam apparently went berserk and Shazam was forced to entomb his acolyte along with the scarab that powered him. There Adam rested until the 20th century, when his sarcophagus was disturbed by an expedition from the Sivana Foundation. This expedition was led by Marilyn and C.C. Batson. The Batson's were betrayed and killed by their expedition partner Theo Adam, who sought to obtain the scarab. Adam absconded with the treasure and the Batsons' infant twin children were separated and returned to the States. Young Billy was placed with his uncle, Ebenezer in Fawcett City and Mary was adopted by the Bromfield family in the Fawcett suburb of Fairfield.

Billy eventually stumbled upon Shazam's longtime secret lair and the wizard gave him access to his own ancient powers. By saying the wizard's name, Billy became Captain Marvel and was powered by the the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury. Theo Adam returned as well as Black Adam, Captain Marvel's arch nemesis. (Power of Shazam Graphic Novel)

Billy and Mary did not meet until they were teenagers. Soon after their meeting Mary discovered that it was also her birthright to access the awesome powers of Shazam. She too was known as Captain Marvel (II). (Power of Shazam! #4)

The Marvel family was completed with the addition of one of Billy and Mary's friends, Freddy Freeman. One day Freddy and his grandfather were fishing when Captain Marvel was battling Captian Nazi overhead. Nazi landed in the nearby lake, but was not grateful to be rescued by the Freemans. Instead he killed Freddy's grandfather and crippled Freddy himself. Later in the hospital, Cap imparted his power to Freddy; upon saying his name, Freddy would become Captain Marvel Jr. and share Shazam's powers. (Power of Shazam #7, 1st app. #6) Freddy later confessed that he does harbor some resentment towards Captain Marvel causing his tragedy. But any ill will was outweighed by the magnitude of Marvel's gift, which Freddy truly came to own. Years later, when Freddy joined the Teen Titans, he went by the name CM3.

Billy was a charter member of the newly formed Justice League International. (Legends #6) His tenure was short-lived and he soon departed. (Justice League International, v.1 #7) Once later, he helped the new League against the chaos of the 5th dimension (JLA #28-31) Then, when the world was taken over by the Ultra-Humanite, Billy joined an underground version of the Justice Society. (JSA #33) After Ultra's defeat, he joined the team officially. (#37) He stayed with them for a time and even developed a crush on fellow member, Stargirl. The Flash, who didn't know that Marvel was really a teenager, became concerned when he noticed the two together. He confronted Marvel about the relationship and rather than reveal his identity, Billy quit the team. (#59)

Billy was approached by Maxwell Lord, who was forming a new team with old Justice League members. Billy declined but Mary took up the offer instead. Her time with these "Super Buddies" was rather traumatic; she was mind-controlled by the villain Roulette and pummelled Captain Atom nearly to death. (Formerly... #1-6)

Things became dire for Billy when the new Eclipso, Jean Loring, was born. Eclipso took over Superman's body but was repelled by Billy and Shazam. Shazam bade the Spectre to intervene, and Eclipso's black diamond prison was recreated. But the diamond was immediately drawn to its new host, and Shazam was charged with the burden of containing Eclipso. When Eclipso reappeared in league with the Spectre, Shazam sent Billy in search of aid. He returned to the JSA, who were also alerted to trouble. (JSA #73)

Billy is very protective of Mary. He has disapproved of the budding romance between she and Freddy. He also tried to forcibly remove her from the Super Buddies' headquarters.

Day of Vengeance

When Alexander Luthor began his plot to remake the universe, he unleashed an unstable Spectre on the World. Without a mortal tether, the Spectre began a rampage to eradicate magic from the Earth. This prompted the formation of a magical super-group called the Shadowpact. Their chief sorceress, the Enchantress managed to keep the Spectre at bay. (Day of Vengeance #1-2)

The Enchantress called upon the magicians of the world to channel their power into Captain Marvel. (#3) Cap grew to epic proportions and began a hand-to-hand battle with the Spectre. Soon, both combatants were exhausted, but the Spectre was spirited away by the new Eclipso. (#4)

Once revived, the Spectre made a beeline for the Rock of Eternity, where the wizard Shazam had been preparing for the Spectre's arrival. (#5) The wizard was overcome, and perished as the Rock of Eternity exploded into shards. This also released its most dangerous prisoners: the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. (Infinite Crisis #1)

In the midst of the Crisis, Dr. Fate called all the world's remaining mystics to defeat the Spectre and reconstruct the Rock of Eternity. Teams of mystics coaxed the Seven Enemies back into submission and Zatanna prepared the spell to cement the Rock anew. Once assembled, she informed Billy that in the absence of Shazam, it was now his responsibility to guard the Rock. Dr. Fate ended the Spectre's threat and a new "Tenth Age of Magic" was begun. All the old magics were gone, changed, or disrupted — and many new threats were borne. (Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special)

Cap struggled to keep his sanity as grew accustomed to Shazam's power and kept the Seven Enemies contained. Soon skill grew and he became strong enough to leave his new home. One of these times, he Mary and Freddy attended the wedding of Black Adam to Isis: who created a new Black Marvel Family.

The Trials of Shazam

In time, Billy began to master his new job. He built his home in the Rock of Eternity and developed a fuller understanding of Shazam's magic. Much of Shazam's power still roamed free, but when the wizard's spells began to heal themselves, Shazam's power was reclaimed from all his other champions. Freddy was left merely confused, but Mary fell from the sky at a horrible distance and was left comatose. In this moment, Billy was judged fully ready to assume all Shazam's power. It transformed him into a much older person, with long white hair and wearing a white uniform. Now simply Marvel, Billy possessed everything that was Captain Marvel and Shazam. (Trials of Shazam #1-2)

Marvel soon summoned his friend, Freddy, who had been living in New York City. Cap unveiled the many changes that had occurred and declared that the power of Shazam needed a new acolyte to maintain the balance between magic and humanity — Freddy was chosen to undergo the Trials of Shazam. In them, he would be tested by all seven gods. If he failed, the magic would pass to a different lineage. If he succeeded, he would become the new Shazam! To begin the trials, Marvel sent Freddy to meet the magician Zareb Babak.

Freddy's new mission drew the attention of others who hoped to acquire Shazam's magicks: the Council of Merlin, led by a man named Terrom. The Council attempted to kill Freddy before he could acquire any powers. Their first attempt failed, and Freddy successfully completed the Trial of Solomon (who disguised himself as a tattoo artist Rachel Zallman). (#3)

In Belum, Qurac, Achilles is now a Marine commander for U.S. forces. As Lt. Alvarez. He loses six men on a black ops mission. Freddy and Barak find him there. Achilles recognizes them for magical folk immediatly. He now serves as a gatekeeper, stopping dangerous entities from entering Earth's realm. The go after a Hate Empath, which could be very powerful in the Middle East. Sabina follows and diverts them while she tries to summon the Empath.

4

Achilles uses a Banishment stone against the Empath Demon. Sabina shoots the hero with the Bow of Lucifer Bingarten, through the heel as he battles the monster. Freddy is then able to use the Stone. Achilles bids him to finish the mission, so Freddy transforms back to human and jumps inside the demon's mouth in order to call the lightning down on it. Freddy wins the power of near-invulnerability and finds himself clothed in the Marvel emblem. Achilles lives on in a soldier in Mali, Africa, Lt. Antonus.

5

Freddy can change without saying a word because the book of magic has been rewritten. Sabina catches hell for failure. Freddy finds Hercules in prison, in for 14 murders during a Japanesee drug war. He had actually warred with Medusa and a spell was unleashed that left him weak and subject to the authorities amid dead bodies. Sabina also visits him claiming Medusa's spell can be broken. She produces the head and demands he give power to her. She breaks him out and faces Freddy, but Hercules also gives some power to Freddy (now that he has it back). Freddy says "Shazam" and is clad in the red uniform.

6

Origin of Sabina de la Croix (Samantha Greene), whose parents marius and Becca (demon necromancer and meta sorceress) attempted to flee magical society. One day they left for work and were killed. As she grew, magic came naturally and she killed a classmate. After this she was found and taken by X. They think she's a fury, a warrior, remorseless. They seek to use her as she is in the "line of succession" and all others in it have been slain. Only they can claim the power of Shazam. She now battles Freddy and it's a draw, she retreats and they both keep Hercules' power. Next up: Atlas, who is now rigged to computers that monitor the world's woes. Sabina arrives...

7

Freddy finds that Atlas is dead by Sabina's hand. He must replace Atlas' duties, hooked into the world, saving millions of lives every day. Zareb tells Freddy to wear the helm while they summon Marvel to take over its duty for 24 hours (as long as he can remain away from the Rock). They next seek out Apollo in his human guise. With Atlas dead, Apollo is his successor and the new replacement god for Shazam's power. He took the name Alonzo. He's not happy to see Zareb and Freddy, not willing to leave his life. He challenges Freddy: if he can best him, he will take Atlas' mantle and grant his powers.

8

Sabina takes over her masters' council, killing Terrom. She now has Atlas' power and half Hercules'. Freddy's battle with Apollo moves onto open water, where a ship is threatened by their violence. Apollo must move to save the lives onboard. With this, he realizes he must do his godly duty. He says he will do it until another replacement can be found, and wants a doppleganger sent to be with his family, a shadow essence. Freddy must break the news to him: since the laws of magic have changed, his family ceased to exist the moment he abandoned his human form. In anger, Apollo reserves half his powers from Freddy and gives the other half to Sabina, who transformes into a dark Marvel.

9

All track down Mercury, and Sabina kills her way through his gatekeepers, including elf-like folk. Each name brings her closer to the god, who hides. Zatanna helps them find the last gatekeeper by decoding a dying man's message in blood, written in the Sonariux language, long dead. It says "whiskers" and points them to Tawky Tawyny whose powers are considerably more than he's shown in the past. He transforms himself into a giant cat to battle Sabina, whose blades cannot harm him. Freddy saves Tawny but both of them are outrun by Mercury himself.

10

Freddy calls the Shadowpact and Zatanna in to help. Their goal, as is Sabina's, is to find Zeus. She succeeds in drawing out Mercury by threatening his children, drawing him out. She injures him with the Dagger of Three Faults and steals his power. He'll live but cannot give power to Freddy. now they're equal. To compel Zeus to give her his powers, she needs a blood sacrifice of 1 million people. They call the JLA.

11

Freddy calls on the Shadowpact and JLA. Sabina recruited the transformed Merlin, now a bit evil to help her. They bring demon hordes through to Earth. Freddy decides the only wat to win is to sacrifice himself and take he and Sabina through a one-way portal. This act of self-sacrifice was the impetus needed for Zeus to reveal himiself, as his ally Zareb. Zeus is the Lord of the gods of magic, and he calls them all to align under him. When Freddy says Shazam, he receives all their powers and is the new Shazam. It opens a portal that the demons and Sabina are sent through. Zeus needs Freddy as an anchor to Earth. His ongoing mission will be to keep magic in balance, darkness at bay. (#12)

Notes

The first issue of Whiz Comics was actually an ashcan edition published to secure the rights to the name. Therefore, the indicia of first actual issue of Whiz Comics indicates it as issue number 2 (there is no number on the cover). But by the third published issue, the numbering was corrected to reflect actual number of comics that had been published. For this reason, those first three issues are sometimes also referred to with absolute numbers in brackets, e.g., Whiz Comics #2[1].

After the Crisis, Shazam: A New Beginning (by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake) was published, establishing his new continuity. However, the Power of Shazam! Graphic Novel superceded that series, retelling the story of Captain Marvel's origin and public debut. The graphic novel is set four years prior to Power of Shazam!series, and also before Cap's appearance in Justice League. The letter column for Power of Shazam! #4 states "most '80s and '90s appearances of Captain Marvel did happen — he was in the Justice League, was Eclipsoed, the whole nine yards." In Power of Shazam! #13, Cap himself mentions his JLA membership.

In post-Crisis continuity, Mary was always referred to as Captain Marvel (II), not "Mary Marvel." Only recently, in the Formerly Known as the Justice League series was she called by that name.

In the DC/Marvel Amalgam universe crossover (1996), Captain Marvel was Billy Mar-Vell.

Future Marvels

In a tale from the future, Billy Batson had assumed Shazam's role by the 853rd century. In this version of the future, Billy-as-the-wizard handed the reigns of champion to a young girl named Cece Beck, aka Thunder. Thunder traveled backwards in time, to the 31st century, to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. Note: This was a part of post-Zero Hour continuity, and Thunder was a member of that Legion, the Legion fo Earth-247.