Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Shazam! & r & by Jeff Smith & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n the 1940s, the most popular comic book character wasn't Superman or Mickey Mouse -- it was Captain Marvel. The series based on a kid who could turn into a grownup with super powers by saying "Shazam!" tapped into that escapist notion so central to all comics -- that anybody can be a superhero.





But Captain Marvel kind of fell by the wayside, as Batman, Spiderman and even upstarts like the X-Men became more popular. But now DC Comics has enlisted the talents of Jeff Smith, the man behind the cult comic series Bone, to restart the franchise.





For inspiration, Smith went back to the storyline known as The Monster Society of Evil, which was first created by C.C. Beck and Otto Binder in 1942. He updates it into a post 9/11 New York City, where the head of the Department of Heartland Security might be scarier than the villain from another dimension, Mr. Mind. This book, appropriate for kids except for a couple "Dammit"s, collects the four episodes of Shazam! Smith wrote and illustrated, along with a bunch of behind-the-scenes pages that detail his creative process.





Shazam! includes Captain Marvel's original story, with orphan Billy Batson being transported to the secret underground lair of a mysterious wizard and given the secret word. Unaware of the cosmic nature of his powers, Captain Marvel and Billy unwittingly unleash Mr. Mind, who transforms people into monsters and outfits giant, sci-fi robots to fulfill his final, dark purpose. Captain Marvel, with his sister, Mary Marvel, and friend Talky Tawny (a talking tiger) team up with a daring TV reporter to thwart Mr. Mind -- for now.





Smith is obviously a big comic fan, and Shazam! shows his love of the classics. He manages to update the legend for a new generation of comic lovers, but the simple innocence of early comics makes it a bit clunky -- especially when you compare it to his excellent Bone series. The tribute is heartfelt, but Smith's real spark shows in his own stories. Watch for his next project -- a sci-fi comic about an art thief who can travel through time.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Won't You Be Our Neighbor?
  • Won't You Be Our Neighbor?

    The people, places and moments that defined and shaped the Inland Northwest's distinct neighborhoods
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • NORTH HILL
  • NORTH HILL

    An influx of creativity and businesses has this Northside neighborhood looking good
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • LATAH / HANGMAN VALLEY
  • LATAH / HANGMAN VALLEY

    Two names and a community bridging new and old
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
37th Annual Royal Fireworks Concert

37th Annual Royal Fireworks Concert @ Riverfront Park

Sun., July 31, 9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • #BlackLivesMatter is Everyone

    All mothers deserve to know that their innocent children will not die at the hands of law enforcement
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Letters from Mark
  • Letters from Mark

    A mother tries to understand the suicide of a son — just as he was regaining his freedom
    • Jan 14, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation