The 6 Craziest Members of the Shazam! Family (the Shazamily!)
Shazam! comes out this weekend and I’m mildly excited. That’s a good enough reason to make a fun internet list, right? I’ve just never really cared about the Shazam character, I’m only mildly interested in all these DC superhero movies, and I still can’t buy Zachary Levi in the role. Hopefully all of that will change once I see the actual film!
And at least I can get a fun blog listicle about it. When Captain Marvel came out, I did a funny list of all the best Captain Marvels in comics. So how about a funny list of all the best Shazams in comics? Because Shazam is one of those characters with a big, weird comic book family. They were once known as the Marvel Family, but how has the phrase “Shazamily” not caught on?
The character very nearly predates World War II, and being around that long means there have been a lot of weird stories over the years. So let’s check out all of the craziest people who have been given Shazam powers over the decades! Or close to it!
Before we get started, let’s make sure everybody is up to date on who Shazam even is! That should help understand this list.
Billy Batson is a ragamuffin of a little boy who is granted the magical, mystical powers of the wizard Shazam. Whenever Billy shouts the name “Shazam!” he’s transformed into an adult and is granted all the best super powers, like strength, speed and flight, along with electricity powers. He uses this power to fight bad guys and save the day.
And ever since he debuted in comics in 1939, writers have been finding ways to expand these mystical and magical powers!
6. The evil version
Lots of superheroes have evil twins. Shazam has Black Adam, an ancient Egyptian warlord who also gained the powers of the wizard Shazam. But the wizard was none too happy with how evil Black Adam proved to be, so he usually locked the bad guy up — until he returned to menace Billy Batson in the modern day. Sometimes Black Adam is a good guy, sometimes he’s the evil ruler of his own nation, and sometimes he’s a family man. He gets up to a lot.
The Rock was cast as Black Adam several years ago, but DC and Warner Bros. have yet to use him in any movies or TV shows. DC and Warner Bros. have even gone to the trouble of making a Shazam movie, but they still didn’t want to use The Rock as Black Adam. He’s apparently got the patience of a saint. I guess DC wants to give The Rock his own movie? Then maybe crossover with Shazam? That’s a bit of a long shot.
5. The foster family
This one is a bit more modern…mostly. Shazam always had two prominent sidekicks: Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel. But those two make sense, one is the kid sidekick and the other is the girl version. It worked for Batman. And it worked for Shazam for most of the decades. Then DC Comics rebooted the character for the New 52 in 2011, and they decided to clear a lot of things up. It wouldn’t make sense for Captain Marvel to randomly have these two partners. DC’s solution was to make Billy Batson a teenager living with a foster family, with a bunch of foster siblings. These new siblings included both Freddie and Mary — Junior and Mary Marvel, respectively — but also a bunch of others! Eugene, Pedro and Daria also got powers for a short time, leading to that group shot above!
Considering the foster family angle is part of the new movie, perhaps the scene above will be recreated? We’ll find out this weekend!
4. The bunny rabbit
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is your standard animal version of a normal hero. It happens to all of them at some point. Did you see Spider-Ham in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? ‘Nuff said! Hoppy debuted all the way back in the 1940s, so he’s been around for nearly as long as Shazam. He has adventures, he’s in comics, he teams up with the other animal superheroes. This is standard stuff for comic books, surprisingly. Hoppy may be the most normal character on this entire list…
Hoppy also got re-imagined in the New 52 reboot. He was just a pet bunny who got zapped with some of the same magic that changed the foster family, giving him some powers. So that’s fun! And not the last time that’s going to happen on this list…
3. The old man
The original Captain Marvel’s partners included the kid sidekick and the girl version…and then a fat, schlubby old man! Batman didn’t do that one. Uncle Dudley (or Uncle Marvel, because sure) was a strange old man who tried to weasel his way into Shazam’s good graces by pretending to be Mary Marvel’s uncle. The Shazamily saw through his tricks, but were apparently so touched by the lovable old fraud that they let him stick around, and even humored him when he claimed to have his own super-powers. And if the Wikipedia article is to be believed, Uncle Dudley would claim his “shazambago” was acting up, so he couldn’t perform any of his powers. Sometimes the real world is indeed a magical place.
2. The lieutenants
I didn’t even know these guys existed until I started researching this article, and they are so silly it makes my head spin. Get this. Each of the three Lieutenant Marvels are also little boys named “Billy Batson”. And because they coincidentally have the same name as the real Billy Batson, they are also able to call upon the powers of Shazam. And that’s not all. In order to differentiate themselves from the original (and therefore apparently superior Billy Batson), they nickname themselves “Tall Billy”, “Fat Billy” and “Hill Billy”…because he’s from the South! It’s just so silly! These yahoos were reoccurring characters in the old Captain Marvel comic days, popping up to help now and again. And they chose the name “Lieutenants”, as if the “Captain” in “Captain Marvel” had any official standing. I love comics.
1. The tiger
I am disappointed to learn that the tiger, Mister Tawky Tawny, never actually had Shazam powers. I could have sworn he did! He’s half the reason I made this list! But nope, Tawky Tawny was just a normal humanoid tiger that walked, talked and wore clothing like a man. He wasn’t a man who transformed into a weretiger. He was a legit tiger who acted like a man, traveled to America and just fell into the inner circle of Shazam. They’re the best of friends! Then when comics got more modern and serious, Tawky Tawny became more of a badass superhero warrior in his own right! By then it was just perfectly accepted that Shazam was pals with a walking, talking tiger dude.
But like Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, Tawky got a more realistic revamp in the New 52. Now he was a common zoo tiger that teenage Billy would visit to cheer himself up. And like giving powers to his foster siblings, Billy also gave some powers to the tiger. He didn’t become a walking, talking, clothes-wearing dude, but a tiger with super powers is still fun! Let us all hope he makes a cameo in the new movie!