Geoff Johns and DC Comics have announced that the legendary boy turned hero Captain Marvel will officially have his name changed to Shazam.
Captain Marvel has been a staple in the history and continuity of DC Comics for decades, but has also been a hot topic of debate both inside and outside the comics fandom. There’s been massive amounts of legal issues with Marvel Comics over the name as well, due to Marvel holding intellectual property over the name as a title for a comic book. So, the comics in which he appears have traditionally been under some sort of variation of Shazam, and the phrase was used for young Billy Batson to turn into the all powerful magic hero. But legal problems aren’t also the only problem with Captain Marvel as the non-comics reading public misunderstands the character’s actual name, as the majority are convinced that the character has always been known as Shazam, partially as a result of the 1974 television series.
So, it’s in the face of this and many other reasons that DC has finally pulled the trigger and is calling the hero Shazam with the re-debut of the character with the back-up story Curse of Shazam! within the pages of Justice League #7 that is set to be released in March.
In an interview with Newsarama, Johns explains some of the reasons why the name change will occur.
One is that everybody thinks he’s called Shazam already, outside of comics. It’s also, for all sorts of reasons, calling him Shazam just made sense for us….
And, you know, every comic book he’s in right now has Shazam on the cover. So I think just by embracing that and calling him Shazam….
And you’ll see it actually make sense in story, why he’s called Shazam rather than Captain Marvel. That’s just what he’s going to be called for us from now on.
Now, I don’t like this change at all. Captain Marvel, as I said, was a staple of DC’s history, and I’ve come to love the character. It’s like officially changing Batman’s name to The Dark Knight and losing all reference to the name Batman, right? Maybe it’s not, and maybe it’s not a big deal, but I’m willing to bet that readers aren’t going to love this. Either way though, there is precedence for this move within the story of the new DC Universe. You see, with Flashpoint, DC’s recent time altering event, the group of children that made up the hero were in fact named S!H!A!Z!A!M! prior to turning into Captain Thunder. So, if you’re buying into DC’s fuzzy continuity post-Flashpoint, the timeline’s got mixed and matched, so there’s your cop out excuse right there. Now, I’m not saying that this will be the reasoning on DC’s part, but if I can come up with some BS reason to excuse the name change, then I’m certain that one of DC’s head writers will come up with something that suits fans.
The Curse of Shazam! will be written by Geoff Johns and drawn by artist Gary Frank, who have previously recently collaborated on Superman: Secret Origin and will be working on the upcoming Batman: Earth One original graphic novel.