Shazam! comes out this Friday (April 5th) and its going to be great to see a favorite superhero of the comics, not to mention an icon who outsold Superman in his day, get his debut on the big screen. But before the movie comes out, it is probably best to get at least a little familiar with the character in his home series of comics. But where to start with Shazam? Well, have no fear, here are a few of the best and essential storylines of the so called Big Red Cheese.
‘Shazam! And the Monster Society of evil’ by Jeff Smith and Alex Ross
Shazam! And The Monster Society of Evil is an all-ages condensed adaptation of Shazam’s origin story. Capping out at 4 issues, the story tells of how young Billy Batson got his powers, his first battle against his rogues gallery, and the introductions of supporting characters like Mary Marvel and Freddie Freeman. This story serves as a great introduction to the Shazam universe, as well as being well written, full of dynamic action, and showcasing Billy Batson’s inner hero for a new generation of readers.
‘Shazam! The Power of Hope’ By Paul dini and Alex ross
Famed Batman: The Animated Series creator and writer Paul Dini takes a swing at Shazam with this comic, with wonderful artwork provided by Alex Ross. It’s a very simple story that shows the inherent purity of the character, showing Shazam visiting a terminally ill children’s hospital and granting their birthday wishes. Few comics capture Shazam so well and this one is his character distilled to its basic form, showing him without fighting villains or around other heroes, just doing what he does best: bring hope. It’s a wonderful, sometimes tear jerking read that excels in showing its character with minimal dialogue.
‘The Power of Shazam!’ by Jerry Ordway
A title so popular it helped launch an ongoing comic, The Power of Shazam! is an original graphic novel that offers another take on Billy Batson’s origin. Lushly painted and an epic in its own right, this comic chronicles Billy Batson’s first adventures against a backdrop of an adventure that takes inspiration from horror movies and pulp serials. Black Adam becomes Billy’s first nemesis here and the reader roots for Billy as he rises above his traumatic circumstances to become a superhero. Highly recommended and a great take on the character’s origins, even if some of the writing is slightly dated.
‘Superman/Shazam: First Thunder’ by Judd Winick and Joshua Middleton
Superman and Shazam have always been connected, this team-up showing their strengths as superheroes as they team up together. When Superman meets Shazam, they initially throw down but afterwards, just talk and learn about each other, becoming fast friends over a mutual bond. Then, several villains including Lex Luthor and Eclipso team up, the two heroes joining forces to take them down. It’s a great story, full of fun character interaction between the leads, great action, and a fun contrast between the different worlds of these two iconic superheroes.
Are you looking forward to Shazam! this Friday? Which comics featuring the character are your favorites?
Featured Image Via Radiotimes