Comic Fodder

Shazam Quiz: Dueling Marvels

Next week Jeff (Bone) Smith's Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil hits the stands. Smith and DC have promised a series that seems to skew a bit more childlike and cartoonish. The approach sticks closer to the original presentation of the Shazam! comics from Fawcett with a more polished narrative delivery.

Simultaneously, DC is well into a twelve-issue run on a competing Shazam series. Understand, DC fan and reviewer that I am, I have not read Trials of Shazam. In the wake of Infinite Crisis, I was terrifically disappointed/confused as to why DC would take one of its legacy characters (ie: one of their characters with a better chance of being recognized by John Q. Public), replace him with a supporting character, kill off a major character (The Wizard Shazam) and then place the story in a decidedly non-fantastical context.

But I'm not Didio, and I'm not Judd Winick. But I'll also admit, to create buzz and move some comics, this may be a good idea.


All that said, DC hasn't really been able to make a go of the Marvel family in years, if ever. Is the Jeff Smith approach a step back, skewing too far outside of DC's current adult market? Beyond four issues, is this a viable approach give the current state of the DCU? So maybe Winick's approach makes some sense, especially with half-way decent sales (38,029).

So what do you think? Which approach do you prefer and why?

DC has never really known what to do with the Shazam property - Plastic Man's treatment pales in comparison. They tried to do the right thing in the 70s, but they equated "simple and charming" with "simplistic." Since then, they have tried to do with the Marvel Family what they do with all the other superhero titles - no light whimsy, little humor, too much soap opera. It's too bad. I read a few of the new title and it might be bad if it weren't the Marvel Family. I look forward to the Smith version because it seems like every superhero is the same anymore, there's so little variety - one of the sad results of the original Crisis, I think - streamlined worlds meant streamlined attitudes.

-- Posted by: John at February 4, 2007 7:00 PM

I've only flipped through "Trials of Shazam", and nothing I've seen is recognizably what I think of as a Captain Marvel comic. That said, I have no idea what I expect a Captain Marvel comic to be, but this isn't it.

Smith seems to be interested in a comic that's skewing toward fun rather than toward "bad-ass". We get "bad-ass" in comics in buckets, so perhaps that's all it takes to set your comic apart from the other titles.

-- Posted by: ryan at February 5, 2007 1:00 PM