In an interview with Newsarama, Geoff Johns revealed that DC’s Captain Marvel will no longer be called Captain Marvel.

 

Goeff Johns is currently writing The Curse of Shazam! that will appear as a back-up story in Justice League, and that is where we’ll see the name change.

Well, there are a lot of reasons for the change. One is that everybody thinks he’s called Shazam already, outside of comics. It’s also, for all sorts of reasons, calling him Shazam just made sense for us. And, you know, every comic book he’s in right now has Shazam on the cover. So I think just by embracing that and calling him Shazam.

Of course there are lots of reasons… a lot of little green reasons with dollar signs on them that prompted the change.

Because Marvel Comics trademarked their Captain Marvel comics during the period Fawcett Comics wasn’t telling stories, and before DC sued the pants of Fawcett for copyright infringement, DC was prevented from marketing Captain Marvel books as anything but Shazam! (or Power of Shazam! etc.).

Johns is right though, most everyone I have talked to think Captain Marvel’s name is Shazam, and this name change will prevent another awkward conversation with my four year old on why his name is really Captain Marvel. And as an added bonus, Matthew and I can get at least five more years out of our running gag by no simply changing the name anytime we write a Captain Marvel (not THAT Captain Marvel) review.

FAITHFUL SPOILERITE QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Did DC do the right thing by changing Captain Marvel’s name to Shazam! or is this just another change that will have you prematurely spinning in your grave?

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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58 Comments

  1. Young
    January 27, 2012 at 8:25 am — Reply

    It’s not the best name for a Superman-equivalent character. Moreover, now he’ll have the thankless role of Captain Marvel, Jr., the only hero who couldn’t say his own name. Moreover, the Shazam Family simply doesn’t sound as good (neither does Mary Shazam, Shazam Jr., etc.). Ah, well….I’m just becoming that old guy in the corner yelling at the kids.

  2. Seneca
    January 27, 2012 at 8:33 am — Reply

    If people say, “Who is that, Superman!?” and he says, “No no no, I’m Shazam.” does he depower himself?

  3. joe
    January 27, 2012 at 8:51 am — Reply

    I don’t like it. Captain Marvel is one of the best superhero names out there. I always grudgingly accepted Power of Shazam books, but only because the character was still captain marvel.

    Why not just call him Big Red Cheese?

    I’m tired of Geoff Johns rehashing other people’s stories.

    • Kuato1973
      January 28, 2012 at 5:32 am — Reply

      Here, Here! Captain Marvel is fine as he is. Johns needs to lay off this one.

      And who is in charge at DC anyway? Is Johns calling all the shots now?

      • January 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm — Reply

        He’s been the Chief Creative Officer at DC for almost two years now, so… yeah…

  4. foolsmask
    January 27, 2012 at 9:11 am — Reply

    I can’t say that I’m excited about this change. I get the point, its confusing, when I was a kid I thought he was called Shazam. I love the original concept of this character though, so I will give it a shot and see what the do with it before I get angry.

  5. January 27, 2012 at 9:47 am — Reply

    At this point, I really don’t care. He’ll always be Captain Marvel to me. The only thing that interest me is if he’ll have to yell out “Captain Marvel!” to transform now.

    Besides, I can always wait for the new “Awesomesauce Writer” to come along and change it back. ;p

  6. Jeff
    January 27, 2012 at 10:03 am — Reply

    Hate it. Geoff Johns can burn in hell.

  7. Russ Catt
    January 27, 2012 at 10:19 am — Reply

    This almost sounds like it should be a Poll of the Week
    Who should have the right to the name “Captain Marvel”
    Shazam or Mar-Vell?

    Sadly, I say Mar-Vell. So calling that other Captain “Shazam” instead doesn’t faze me at all.

  8. UberFab
    January 27, 2012 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Much better, it’s about time. Definetly fits the character more.
    I never understood how he attained the rank “captain” anyway. :)

  9. TaZ
    January 27, 2012 at 10:26 am — Reply

    Can you hear the spinning sounds now? Other than the kids who read the “Power of Shazam” and the three people that actually read the “Trials of Shazam” who in the name of CC Beck DOESN’T know that’s Captain Marvel? Hell, he’s still Captain Marvel in the Young Justice series. He’s Captain Marvel in the JL Animated Series. Kingdom Come, etc. That is the lamest excuse I have ever heard and Geoff Johns can kiss my Silver Age BUTT. Shazam is the DAMN wizard. I’d have rather they kept “Captain Thunder” and the “Battlecat” clone from Flashpoint rather than “Shazam”. Didn’t like it when Freddy Freeman used it. Don’t like it now. I knew they would screw this up…. But I hoped (SOB!) I had hoped….

    • January 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm — Reply

      The vast majority of non-genre-savvy people in my experience (and please remember that I have worked for over a decade in a comic book shop) call the character Shazam.

  10. Neal
    January 27, 2012 at 11:27 am — Reply

    “One is that everybody thinks he’s called Shazam already…”
    No, they don’t! No one knows him outside of comics and those who have knowledge call him Captain Marvel because…. THAT’S HIS NAME!!

    • January 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm — Reply

      Well, you are wrong on that statement, both my wife and son thought his name was Shazam, and that is only from seeing Justice League and Batman Brave and the Bold episodes… so Johns is on to something in his statement.

      • ~wyntermute~
        January 28, 2012 at 1:21 am — Reply

        When I was younger I thought his name was Shazam… I also wondered why the he@% DC didn’t dump “Captain MARVEL” much, muuuuuch sooner. Like there’s going to be a “Detective Comic” on the NYPD in the Marvel U? It’s one of those bits of change that I don’t mind so much because it helps to clarify things. “Shazam”, as I understood it, was the guardian of the Rock of Eternity. “The Wizard” was the wizard. Captain Marvel only came into it after I read the convoluted wikipedia entry. ^_^ Mary Marvel could get “Lady Shazam” or something out of the changeover, and “Shazam Junior” is no better or worse than “CM3” was..

      • January 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm — Reply

        And what’s wrong with correcting people who misspeak? “Actually that’s Captain Marvel.” It takes less than a second to say.

  11. ikdks
    January 27, 2012 at 11:29 am — Reply

    He’ll always be Captain Thunder to me.

    Shaboom!!!

  12. Rob
    January 27, 2012 at 11:31 am — Reply

    And Al McCoy celebrated.

    (Anyone? Anyone?)

  13. Michael
    January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    This has FAIL~! written all over it.

    No body I’ve ever talked to and/or know thinks Captain Marvel’s name is “Shazam!”.

    Why not call the book “Shazam! The Adventures of Captain Marvel”? Or does the legal decision preclude that too?

    Or we could do the origin stories in the past tence and call it “Shazam! The Adventures of The Marvel Family!”? I don’t think Marvel legal would have a leg there.

    Unless the central character is now going to be the wizard and Billy, Mary, Freddie, and whomever are all supporting characters.

  14. BigPapaRama
    January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    How about this… the Justice League makes money for operating expenses by licensing the names and likenesses of its members. During the vetting process, the lawyers find that someone else has already trademarked the name “Captain Marvel.” To avoid a lengthy court battle or the loss of income from his merchandise, they strongly suggest Captain Marvel change his name.

  15. brainypirate
    January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    Will there still be a “Marvel” family?

    And it will be weird to have a character who can’t say his own name.

    I’ve always known that CM was his name, but it never really made sense to me that it wasn’t Shazam. But then what would Mary and Billy be called if they didn’t have the Marvel name?

  16. Stefanie
    January 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    I’ve been thinking “Shazam” as a name for ages. Monica Rambeau is my Captain Marvel.

    • January 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm — Reply

      HA!

    • ~wyntermute~
      January 28, 2012 at 1:29 am — Reply

      I’m not sure if you’re being serious or not, but I’m going to assume you are… I, too, was first introduced to “Captain Marvel” being Monica. I have a seriously-80s issue of “Avengers” at home (with Starfox & Monica & Spidey & more!) where she leads the team through a mishap at Project Pegasus. Years later when I first saw “Captain Marvel” my reaction was “..I thought “CM” was a black woman with the OTHER comic book company??” Now that Marvel have returned Mar-Vell to semi-prominence (or at least, this is what I presume is mostly to blame for the change), this is not as terrible an idea as people think — IF you look at it from the “branding” perspective (which DC’s latest logo refurbishment et. al. also seem slanted towards). If you’re a historian/continuity-ist? It’s “another one of those decisions”.

  17. January 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    He can’t say his own name. Duh.

    • Michael
      January 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm — Reply

      “Hey! Hew Hero on the block! What’s your name?”

      “Shazam!”

      *B*O*O*M*~!

      “Aw, nuts.”

      • Michael
        January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm — Reply

        His name’s like The Clapper. He’ll have to say it twice.

        • KevinpBreen
          January 30, 2012 at 4:21 am — Reply

          How could Thor summon a storm by tapping his hammer twice, if the first tap turned him into Don Blake?

  18. Dude X
    January 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    They could change his name to Captain DC. Sounds a little more urban. It’s gotta be better than when people hear “Shazam!” and turn around and expect to see Gomer Pyle.

    • January 30, 2012 at 11:46 am — Reply

      I don’t think that happens

  19. darklighter1
    January 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm — Reply

    Prematurely spinning in my grave….although I see what he’s talking about as a kid I thought his name was Shazam too and didn’t realize his real name until I was about 10. But once it sets in it sets in. This is kinda like changing Superman’s name to the Man of Steel. I guess everytime someone asks him what his name is he’s gonna either have to play a game of charades with people or have his name printed on business cards to hand out.

  20. BigPapaRama
    January 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm — Reply

    Oh WOW! I never thought about him introducing himself and changing back to Billy Batson. Not to mention killing the person standing next to him.

  21. DocDowns
    January 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm — Reply

    This is the DUMBEST idea DC has ever had. And that’s saying a lot. Is every other person on this page under 20? Who the hell thinks he’s called Shazam except ten year olds? This is a huge insult to the character. He’s been Captain Marvel almost as long as Superman has been Superman! Ok so let’s call him Kryptonman from now on , that makes as much sense!

    • January 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm — Reply

      Honestly, I hope every other person on this site is under 20, as that would indicate that comics just aren’t for old people anymore… which is kind of what DC is trying to do with the relaunch, name changes, etc… bring in new people young and old.

      • Praion
        January 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm — Reply

        I am 21. Seems like i don’t count

    • ~wyntermute~
      January 28, 2012 at 1:22 am — Reply

      You want us to get off your lawn too? (I just turned 34, and you sound old & cranky to ME… and I already consider myself old & cranky..)

  22. Rob M
    January 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm — Reply

    This is as stupid now as it was when Judd Winnick proposed it during the last failed attempt. Hes Captain Marvel, just deal with it Johns

  23. Ron
    January 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm — Reply

    Agree with ikdks, and Captain Thunder is a much cooler name.

  24. Antonio Sanciolo
    January 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm — Reply

    Not sure if this has been brought up already, but the name “Shazam” sounds very dated. It’s definitely not one of the short zippy strong words or those lugubrious emo words that get used in comic character creation today.

    I don’t think the name Shazam is going to draw uninitiated readers in; unless they really harness the hokey vibe of the name and go the full retro-appeal.

  25. Oldcomicfan
    January 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm — Reply

    Frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.
    Personally, DC ought to buy the rights back to all iterations of the name Capt. Marvel or Mar-vell or whatever back from Marvel, or else sell the whole character to Marvel and be done with it. I mean, after all, DC tried to corner the market on names with “Super” in them back in the day. I even heard a rumor that they once tried to sue the Superior Bus Company for trademark infringement because Superior has the word Super inside of it. Don’t know if it’s true.
    Though, when I think about, when I hear somebody shout “Shazaam!” I alway took around for Gomer Pyle.

  26. Oldcomicfan
    January 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm — Reply

    Oh, by the way, I do hate that intro drawing. Captain Marvel is supposed to look like Fred McMurray, who the original artist modeled the character on. This fact is well documented. That drawing looks more like Claud Akins. On a bad day.

  27. LemmyCaution
    January 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm — Reply

    People are really upset about this? They aren’t just kidding?! Wait. Don’t answer that. It might make me really, really depressed.

  28. tidge
    January 27, 2012 at 11:02 pm — Reply

    Geoff Johns needs to let more people into the room next time he takes a poll.

    1) “Everybody” knows that “SHAZAM” is the magic word he says to transform. Next GJ will be telling us that he is re-imaging some cartoons from the 1980s about this hero “Greyskull”. This reminds me…has he turn Aquaman into water yet?

    2) It’s practically impossible to find any comic material in which the character’s name isn’t explicitly mentioned as being “Captain Marvel”…either by himself or another character. Anyone who doesn’t know different isn’t actually paying attention.

    • Michael
      January 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm — Reply

      For viewers of Justice League Unlimited I can see where the confusion lies:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2_NVFUpcL0

      (go to the :30 mark)

      • foolsmask
        January 30, 2012 at 9:20 am — Reply

        I need to see that episode without the edits…that was awesome. Looks like Superman and the JLA bad guys for a bit. Thanks for sharing.

        • Michael
          January 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm — Reply

          The JLU/JLU series was some really good stuff.

          • Michael
            February 2, 2012 at 12:35 am — Reply

            Make that JL/JLU series.

  29. Alexi
    January 28, 2012 at 2:02 am — Reply

    How about “Captain Shazam?” Split the difference, you know? If he ever needs to introduce himself while powered, he can just say “Call me the Captain,” or something. I dunno.

    I feel like Captain Thunder was a very viable option as well.

    • Michael
      January 28, 2012 at 11:36 am — Reply

      I guess “Captain Marvelous” is out as an option due to Japan’s Gokaiger.

      ;)

      Capt. Thunder is WORLDS better than a Gomer Pyle catchphrase.

    • KevinpBreen
      January 30, 2012 at 4:24 am — Reply

      Sorry, Marvel has that one too. The Captain aka USAgent aka whoever he is now

  30. Luis Dantas
    January 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm — Reply

    While it is true that most of the non-initiated think of Captain Marvel as “Shazam”, I can’t help but wonder how likely are those people to get interested in his comics. After all, those people obviously haven’t read a single Captain Marvel story in many a year. Changing his name to what they already believe it to be isn’t much of a drawing force.

    As for the problem about speaking his name, I can only assume that the magic word will be changed into a magic sentence, quite possibly “Power of Shazam” or some variant of same.

    If you ask me, the main reason behind this decision is probably a desire to let go of any licensing fees that using the former name might bring. After all, Captain Marvel isn’t a particularly hot property anymore. He was well-known back in the 1940s and then in the 1970s but failed to sustain a book with any regularity since, despite considerable efforts from DC.

    • KevinpBreen
      January 30, 2012 at 4:31 am — Reply

      He never should have been brought back inna first place except in reprints. Maybe in a non_DCU book with the type of stories he’s suited for, but DC’s first attempt (the “With one magic word … series ) proved that today’s writers just can’t do that type of storytelling. Completely different type of character for a different era.

  31. January 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    I wonder if this means Marvel is going to change Spider-Man’s name to Superman. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard people accidentally call Spider-Man “Superman.”

  32. steve
    January 30, 2012 at 9:28 am — Reply

    Captain Marvel is Captain Marvel, regardless of the fact that DC has never been able to successfully ‘shoe horn’ him into their various universes over the years. period (again)

  33. Obsidian
    January 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Hm. I really didn’t expect to find this much rage and discussion over a character who has, over the years, become little more than a third tier character. Where were you all when his book was failing, I wonder…

    I don’t like the “new” name simply because it will necessitate a change to his core origin and how he accesses his powers. I think it was kinda cool calling out the Wizard’s name… But then again, this is the DCnU. I think it’s fair to assume that there will be more than just a change to his name. For all we know, the wizard will have a new name too.

    • Michael
      January 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm — Reply

      Where was I? Not buying the various books as, IMHO, the few times he’s been handled well were JLI and his short stint in JSA (the one where he was like (if not actually) a member; not when Evil Mary and Evil Billy showed up). Though I didn’t have a problem with Billy taking over the role of the Wizard and Freddie dropping “junior”.

  34. r.j. paré
    February 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    It’s ridiculous to change his name – tbh – I think it is intentionally damaging to the character as a property. You see DC has always hated the character. They sued Fawcett into bankruptcy to get rid of Captain Marvel [once the biggest selling comic in the biz]. They only purchased the rights afterwards to keep anybody else from buying them. DC has, over the years frustrated many Captain Marvel fans with numerous failed titles and concepts for dealing with the character. They do this, seemingly to erase his popularity from our collective consciousness. Or maybe I am just being an old paranoid crank… LOL Whatever the reason – I won’t be buying the title – just as I have stopped buying almost all the DC titles I used to follow. [DCnU just doesn’t work for me – it is an awful, awful place]

  35. Jeff
    February 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm — Reply

    To quote Chief O’Hara, R.J. “truer words were never spoken!”

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