Why You Should Read Jeff Smith's SHAZAM! THE MONSTER SOCIET OF EVIL

Avatar image for gmanfromheck
Posted by gmanfromheck (42518 posts) - - Show Bio

Captain Marvel may now be known as Shazam but back in 2007, Jeff Smith, the creator of BONE, wrote and drew a four-issue prestige miniseries featuring the origin of the characters in SHAZAM! THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL.

No Caption Provided

As we are currently seeing the origin of the character in the back-ups in Geoff Johns' JUSTICE LEAGUE, Jeff Smith told it in a less serious fashion. By less serious, it doesn't mean less important. The current version by Johns and Gary Frank is telling a more mature story in a slightly darker DCU. Jeff Smith takes a more all-age approach.

Just because it's all-ages doesn't mean it's just for kids. It means this is the type of comic everyone can enjoy.

No Caption Provided

The story starts out with young Billy Batson, a homeless orphan. Forced to fend for himself and avoid the dangers of living on the streets. We witness Billy mysteriously finding his way to the Rock of Eternity where he first meets the Wizard.

With the appearance of Captain Marvel (or Shazam as he's being called today), we see the relationship between him and Billy. There are those moments of discovery as well as Smith's fun natured bouts of humor mixed in with the action.

No Caption Provided

Don't get the wrong impression. This story isn't just about bullies and hot dogs. With a title like "The Monster Society of Evil," you know there's definitely more to the story.

We also have the likes of Dr. Sivana, Mary Marvel, Tawky Tawny and other familiar faces introduced. The story contains high adventure as monsters begin to attack, just as Shazam is getting used to his return. With Jeff Smith delivering the story and art, it truly is something everyone can enjoy. This is what comics should be about - a great and fun story with great art. My daughter was five when I first read this to her. She loved every bit of it.

No Caption Provided

You don't need to know anything about the characters going into this story. This is truly the kind of book you could lend to a friend to show the what comics can be like. The hardcover collection (I liked it so much much I bought the four issue prestige comics and then the hardcover as well) does contain extra content. Sketches, notes and a production journal is included. Plus, with the hardcover, the dustjacket unfolds into a giant-sized poster.

We clearly need more comics like this. There is a deep importance in having comics suitable for everyone. We need the youth of today to be able to read and learn about the characters so they can become the comic fans of tomorrow. This isn't a story that's watered down to be 'safe' for younger readers.

Will this story change the face of comic books? Not necessarily. It is a great example of what comics can be about. They don't have to be all doom and gloom and laden with death and despair. Comic books can and should be fun.

Avatar image for mucklefluga
#1 Posted by Mucklefluga (2653 posts) - - Show Bio

Bit off-topic but this article makes me think of Superman Family Adventures which then makes me sad since it's getting cancelled :(

Avatar image for corpsecraft
#2 Edited by corpsecraft (57 posts) - - Show Bio

One of my favorite graphic novels. It's nice to see an article about how fun it is.

Avatar image for billy_batson
#3 Posted by Billy Batson (59982 posts) - - Show Bio

Good mini and yeah, and we need more fun books for all ages. Marvel has FF while DC doesn't really have anything from the New 52.

DC should have used this as their mold for the New 52 Billy.

BB

Online
Avatar image for crash_recovery
#4 Posted by Crash_Recovery (855 posts) - - Show Bio

It's a fun read. I actually have that in a drawer at my desk. I loan it out to friends with kids.

Avatar image for nmiller1939
#5 Posted by nmiller1939 (50 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved that story, one of the, if not the, best uses of Captain Marvel in the last few decades.

Avatar image for sakurafire
#6 Posted by Sakurafire (64 posts) - - Show Bio

@billy_batson: DC's too busy trying to appease all of us grumpy older comic readers rather than enticing new ones. Or something. I honestly don't know because nothing they do really works. (Especially as they seem to be slowly killing off their all-ages line.)

Avatar image for or35ti
#7 Posted by Or35ti (1133 posts) - - Show Bio

I think I'll actually be picking this one up in the near future. Thank you for the recommendation! :)

Avatar image for smart_dork_dude
#8 Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude (3366 posts) - - Show Bio

@billy_batson said:

Good mini and yeah, and we need more fun books for all ages. Marvel has FF while DC doesn't really have anything from the New 52.

DC should have used this as their mold for the New 52 Billy.

BB

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!! Now I've been begrudgingly continued reading the New 52 Shazam back ups, really the only reason I read Justice League now, and I admit it IS getting better though I'd still prefer it if either one or two things happened. Billy's heroic and good nature gets enhanced while he's Shazam, since the good nature part is kinda lost right now, so that it's basically like he's another person when he's Shazam.

Avatar image for mcbean
#9 Edited by mcbean (308 posts) - - Show Bio

The Monster society of evil was good but wondering when will Shazam get a new ongoing series in the new 52 ?

Avatar image for thedarksalmon
#10 Posted by TheDarkSalmon (44 posts) - - Show Bio

get justin jordan to write it and ill allow DC to have my 4 bucks

Avatar image for stmichalofwilson
#11 Posted by StMichalofWilson (5562 posts) - - Show Bio

Back when he was Captain Marvel. Now he's Shazam. Maybe someday they'll make a Shazam series.

Avatar image for thedckid
#12 Edited by theDCkid (984 posts) - - Show Bio

How did I not know Jeff Smith did a Shazam! series?, I will definitely be reading this as soon as possible.

Avatar image for deathmedal
#13 Edited by deathmedal (119 posts) - - Show Bio

I like how there can be two interpretations to the Captain Marvel Character, here Smith Writes Captain Marvel and Billy as two different completly different entities' which I found interesting. I hope there is a follow up to this someday. Maybe with Black Adam.

Avatar image for detective38
#14 Posted by detective38 (215 posts) - - Show Bio

Such a great mini series! An excellent take on Capt. Marvel that stuck more in the vibe of the Power of Shazam ongoing from the nineties. I hate the direction that DC is taking the character now...

Avatar image for gotwillpower
#15 Posted by gotwillpower (718 posts) - - Show Bio

I really, really like this segment. Keep doing it.

Avatar image for supreme_marvel
#16 Edited by Supreme Marvel (11578 posts) - - Show Bio

Ready it years ago.

Avatar image for strangeman
#17 Posted by StrangeMan (418 posts) - - Show Bio

Geoff Johns would learn a thing or two if he read this. Absolutely fantastic series, one of my favorites of the character.

Avatar image for smashbrawler
#18 Posted by SmashBrawler (6033 posts) - - Show Bio

Man, it's been a while since I read this but I do remember it was a lot of fun. I kinda miss this kind of stuff from the Big Two, especially current DC.

Avatar image for august_macias
#19 Posted by August_Macias (5 posts) - - Show Bio

@deathmedal: There was a follow up, it was "Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam" series.

Avatar image for mbecks14
#20 Posted by Mbecks14 (2114 posts) - - Show Bio

Such a great read :)

Avatar image for pixel_kaiser
#21 Posted by Pixel_Kaiser (123 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely wish we had more books like this, for sure.

Avatar image for miss_garrick
#22 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1763 posts) - - Show Bio

I love this book! I was never crazy about young Billy in an adult Shazam body. That raised up weird gray areas, but Jeff Smith instead has his Billy and Shazam being separate people who swap places. That and the explanation he has for Talky Tawney is total BRILLANCE!!

Avatar image for buzzman19
#23 Posted by Buzzman19 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Good series but I have to admit that I enjoyed the "Trials of Shazam!" far more. I always think about (Trials) as being a good movie adaptation as well.

Avatar image for longbowhunter
#24 Posted by longbowhunter (9425 posts) - - Show Bio

Have read this in a while. Plan on going through my long boxes this summer. I'll have to sit this one out for a reread.

Avatar image for necrotic_lycanthrope
#25 Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope (2501 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Captain Marvel, but with all the seriousness slapped onto him in the New 52, the artwork really clashes with the "new" him.

Avatar image for dadahyena
#26 Posted by DadaHyena (61 posts) - - Show Bio

It was a fun read; I didn't agree with every change made to the characters (Sivana as a midget who's involved in politics...the hell?), but all in all it kept the spirit of the original. Captain Marvel seems to work best when he's kept to his humorous, whimsical roots, and Jeff Smith got that down perfectly.

It's a shame that the original MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL story arc wont be reprinted any time soon (damn you, political correctness, give me my offensive WWII comics!), but this is still nice to have anyway.

Avatar image for arnoldoaad
#27 Edited by arnoldoaad (1038 posts) - - Show Bio

definitely the best Shazam story ever made

Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
#28 Edited by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

I want to get this so much too...I love comics that are like this that can be accessible and appropriate for all ages!

Avatar image for ashlynsandra1
#29 Edited by AshlynSandra1 (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Summer. I just agree... Matthew`s blog is nice, last monday I got a new Acura from bringing in $6141 this last 5 weeks and-in excess of, ten thousand last-munth. without a question it is the best-work Ive had. I actually started 4 months ago and pretty much immediately brought home minimum $73 per/hr. I work through this website,, http://bic5.com/

Avatar image for mbecks14
#30 Posted by Mbecks14 (2114 posts) - - Show Bio

This is my favorite Shazam series

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.