Shazam!, The: Archives - Volume 4 (Archive Editions)

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9781401201609: Shazam!, The: Archives - Volume 4 (Archive Editions)

Follows Captain Marvel as he faces villains from Nazi Germany to Mars using the power of Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed), otherwise known as "Shazam!"

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Of the dozens of costumed imitations that sprang up after Superman's debut in 1938, the most eminent was Captain Marvel. Declining sales and a long-running lawsuit filed by Superman's deep-pocketed publisher led to the Captain Marvel comic book's discontinuation in 1953, but the character is fondly remembered, as is the magic word Shazam that transformed teenaged reporter Billy Batson into the World's Mightiest Mortal. Captain Marvel's success was due not to his similarities with Superman but to his differences. Unlike the Man of Steel's square-jawed earnestness, Captain Marvel had the personality of an adolescent in a grown-up body, and his adventures' cartoonlike visual style complemented their whimsical humor. The stories lavishly reprinted here come from early in the character's career (1941-42) and include the introduction of his young protege, Captain Marvel Jr. The best of this batch showcase the artwork of Captain Marvel's originator, C. C. Beck, whose simple, assured cartooning surpasses the crude attempts at realism by the other featured artists. These delightful, if naive, strips epitomize the golden age of superhero comics. Gordon Flagg
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