Mary Marvel Becomes DC’s New Shazam!

by Jay
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Mary Marvel levels up beyond her brother to assume his mantle.

Writer Josie Campbell and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner bring to the DC Universe The New Champion of Shazam! Under their direction, Mary Bromfeld, Billy Batson’s foster sister, breaks that glass ceiling in the Shazam hierarchy. As to direction, Campbell wants to use this series as a character examination.

Mary Becomes Shazam – Why is This Important and What is Mary’s History?

She explains, “[The question of Mary’s identity is] the very heart of this [comic.] Who she is, who she wants to be, and the roles that she’s either been forced into or has willingly joined into. [It’s] really shining a light on her and her wants and her desires – as somebody  who was part of a superhero team, doesn’t have her powers, gets them back, and then she’s got a lot of choices suddenly displayed in front of her that she’s gonna have to make real fast.”

Mary was created by Otto Binder and Marc Swayze in 1942’s Captain Marvel Adventures #42. This was back when the Shazam characters were still published by their original owners, Fawcett Comics. Mary had been the long lost twin sister of Billy Batson, whose alter-ego was initially called Captain Marvel rather than Shazam. Modeled after Judy Garland, she was the beginning of The Marvel Family. For a time she even had her own book, as did later family member Freddie Freeman aka Captain Marvel Jr. Of course, however, these titles were cancelled when DC won a long-fought copyright lawsuit that ended Captain Marvel’s run on the shelves. When the property fell into public domain, DC later bought the rights relaunched the characters 20 years later in Shazam!: The Original Captain Marvel. Rebooted in 2005 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Mary’s biological connection to Billy was erased. Further, her similar costume to Billy’s Shazam form has just been regarded as coincidence. This version was brought to life on the big screen in 2019’s Shazam! played by Grace Fulton and Michelle Borth, the latter as “Superhero Mary.” For the upcoming Shazam! Fury of The Gods, however, Fulton will play Mary in both her forms.

For the upcoming book, this upgrade from supporting character to the chief World’s Mightiest Mortal, in Shaner’s opinion, is long overdue.

“It’s been so long since she’s had her own book, since before she was a DC property, ” he says. “We’re hoping to have the fun and the creative energy behind so much of the early stuff that Binder did, but bring that to a more modern audience and try to make it more relatable to kids or young adults today. [Before this project, I] just didn’t have any interest in returning to anything Shazam related. But I always thought Mary should be the lead of the book for a while; and that was the one time I would return if it ever happened.

DC has offered this synopsis for the upcoming series:

Most heroes would be distraught, but not Mary. It’s finally time for a voyage of self-discovery as she prepares for her freshman year of college and a civilian life. But nothing is ever truly normal for this young hero, because she’s just been chosen as the new champion of Shazam! (At least according to a talking rabbit sent by her estranged brother Billy.) Will she embrace the power? Or will it die alongside this world’s hope of survival against the mysterious magical forces waiting to take control?

Catch The New Champion of Shazam! when it hits shelves February 8, 2022.

Official Source – Mary Marvel Replaces Billy Batson as DC’s New Shazam! | CBR

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