One of the most popular characters in the comic book world right now is Shazam, which is the character who is actually a child but turns into a superpowered godlike being when he yells “Shazam.” However, there is some confusion here because, at one point, Shazam used to be called Captain Marvel, which is also a name carried by a different superhero. So, with that said, is Shazam Marvel or DC?
Shazam is a part of DC. The character used to be called Captain Marvel when it was first introduced, but the comics ceased publishing during the 50s. Due to the fact that Marvel had officially trademarked Captain Marvel during the original Captain Marvel’s absence, DC officially renamed the hero to Shazam in 2011.
The confusion regarding Captain Marvel came as a result of the absence of the original Captain Marvel (Shazam) for about two decades. As such, Marvel took the opportunity by using the Captain Marvel trademark to release the Marvel hero during the original Captain Marvel’s absence. That’s why there used to be two versions of this character. But it’s better if we look at the short history.
Is Shazam Marvel Or Dc?
One of the most prominent superheroes in today’s superhero-dominated media and literature is Shazam. You probably already know who Shazam is, as this is the hero that started out as a young boy but was gifted by the powers of the Greek gods by a wizard. All he needs to do is to yell out Shazam so that he would gain the powers of the gods and then turn into the popular superhero.
As popular as Shazam may be, there are people who are wondering which comic book publishing company owns its rights. Basically, the two biggest superhero comic book companies today are Marvel and Dc. And we’ll get to the point where this issue became confusing later on. So, is Shazam Marvel or DC?
Shazam is actually a DC superhero and has been a part of DC since the 1970s, when the owners and creators of the character entered into a licensing agreement with DC. Meanwhile, in the 90s, DC outright bought all of the rights to Shazam to make the character exclusive to DC. As such, there is no questioning the fact that Shazam is a DC character.
Did Shazam Use To Be Marvel?
There was never a point in time when Shazam used to be under Marvel Comics. However, the character wasn’t always a part of DC. And this is where we will talk about a little bit of the character’s history so that you can understand how it became a part of DC.
Shazam was originally Captain Marvel back when it first came out in 1939. At that time, it was published by Fawcett Comics, which was able to bank on the hero as the face of the company. However, Fawcett Comics faced some lawsuits during the character’s existence because DC claimed that it was just a copy of Superman. And the lawsuits happened because Captain Marvel was selling more than Superman during the 40s.
In 1953, Fawcett Comics stopped the publishing of Captain Marvel. The character was also noticeably absent during the 60s, which is called the Silver Age of Comics, because of the fact that Fawcett was not allowed to publish anything related to him.
However, in 1972, Fawcett entered into a licensing agreement that allowed DC to use Captain Marvel. And DC eventually bought all of the Captain Marvel rights during the 90s to make the character its property.
Why Did DC Change Captain Marvel’s Name To Shazam?
As mentioned, Shazam used to be called Captain Marvel in all of its versions during the early part of the character’s history. Even when DC acquired the license to the character, the superhero was still called Captain Marvel. In that regard, why did DC eventually change the name to Shazam?
Going back to what we said, in the 1950s, Fawcett Comics ceased all publications related to Captain Marvel due to a legal lawsuit against it. As such, the company wasn’t allowed to publish or use the Captain Marvel name at that time.
In 1967, Marvel Comics came up with its own Captain Marvel because the original Captain Marvel no longer existed. During that time, Marvel also trademarked the name Captain Marvel for its comic books, and that’s why Marvel has its own version of Captain Marvel. Take note that this version of Captain Marvel is entirely different and separate from the original one.
Meanwhile, in 1972, DC was able to acquire the licensing rights to the original Captain Marvel. However, since Marvel owned the trademark to the Captain Marvel comic book name, the comic book name for DC’s Captain Marvel was changed to Shazam, which is the word that Billy Batson yelled whenever he transforms into a hero. But the name of the superhero was still Captain Marvel. This continued even after DC bought Shazam entirely.
Throughout the time when Marvel owned the Captain Marvel tradename, they continued to use it by publishing a Captain Marvel comic book, or else they would lose the rights to the name. That’s why DC was never able to use the Captain Marvel name for its comics, as Marvel kept publishing comics despite the fact that their version of Captain Marvel wasn’t very popular (similar to how the live-action Captain Marvel in the films isn’t very popular as well).
Because the DC version of Captain Marvel was more popularly called Shazam because of the name of the comic books, DC finally changed the character’s name from Captain Marvel to Shazam in 2011. As such, since 2011, both the comic book’s name and the character’s name are now Shazam. The name Captain Marvel is no longer used in any of the comic books after 2011.
What Are The Differences Between Marvel And The DC Version Of Captain Marvel?
There are plenty of differences between Marvel’s Captain Marvel and DC’s Captain Marvel, who we will call Shazam. That’s why these characters are entirely different from one another and also have no connection to one another aside from their names.
Marvel’s Captain Marvel was actually originally a male from the planet Kree who was sent to Earth to spy on the planet. However, the character eventually became female when other versions, such as Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers were introduced. Captain Marvel has superhuman capabilities due to their Kree physiology. As such, Captain Marvel has superhuman strength, durability, speed, agility, stamina, and reflexes. The hero could also fly and manipulate energy.
On the other hand, DC’s Shazam (the original Captain Marvel) is a human boy who can transform into a superhero. This hero possesses powers that come from the wizard, who blessed him with the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles, and the Speed of Mercury. All his powers combine to form the name SHAZAM.
Can DC Call Shazam Captain Marvel?
Technically, DC can actually call Shazam Captain Marvel. The only time DC isn’t allowed to use the Captain Marvel name is when it is referring to the name of the comics. On top of that, DC isn’t even allowed to use Captain Marvel on the cover of the comic book.
There was a point wherein DC placed “the original Captain Marvel” on the cover of the comic book. That forced Marvel to send a cease-and-desist order to DC. But, aside from that, DC can use the Captain Marvel name to refer to superhero.
But because referring to the comic books as Shazam and then calling the superhero Captain Marvel became confusing, fans referred to the hero as Shazam instead. And when it became apparent that Shazam was a more popularly used name, DC eventually changed the character’s name from Captain Marvel to Shazam to avoid confusion.