CaptainMarvel4Ever's forum posts

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#1 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

@amazing_webhead said:

i wish @captainmarvel4ever was still here. he made an excellent point on how MJ was being kind of ungrateful towards Tony.

Comment on the odd dynamic between a woman who got a free job at large corporation out of kindness from stranger's heart, who constantly treats him like dirt in spite of not doing anything mean or rude to her after saving her life and gave her major employment after her life was financially shattered.

(heck of a time to randomly decide to check my messages after 2 months. Bye now)

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#2 Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

Hello to everyone and anyone reading this at whatever time or circumstance. I'm going to be leaving Comic Vine for reasons I'll expand upon in another post. Before I go through there's something I very much want to leave behind as I exit this site, just to feel the time here was all the better spent. I'm sure everyone can guess by my screen name that I'm a huge fan of the Fawcett and DC comics character Captain Marvel, the original Big Red Cheese. As we all know there's a movie coming out about the character that very very likely will not be good (which is why I've never wanted a live action film for the character), so there's going to be a lot of buzz around him, most of which will likely be misdirected or misunderstood since not too many people have a great grasp on the character. Rather than fight it, I thought it might be a good idea to redirect people to more positive and accurate representations of the character, so they can be more informed, and just, in general, enjoy his stories. So in this thread, I'm going to share a few small facts about the character, some of his history as well as the equally important members of the Marvel Family, and most of all share some reading recommendations, and links to places you can buy/read them. Not sure if I'll be around too long after typing this, so if you have a question feel free to post it, and I may get back to you, or maybe someone else who appreciates the character will.

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Before I delve into his publication history, here's a few videos on Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family that are very informative and I highly suggest watching, especially if you don't have the time and/or interest to read this entire post:

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Before I share his comics, there are just a few misconceptions I see people throw around far too often that I want to clear up

Captain Marvel is a Superman knock off

As many people know, when Captain Marvel's fame was on the rise, National Allied Publications (DC Comics) sued Fawcett Publications saying that Captain Marvel was a knockoff of Superman. At the time, any character that had multiple powers was a huge hit, and DC (referring to them as DC for shorthand) being a publisher in a cutthroat industry would attempt to use their massive power as a publisher to litigiously snuff out any character seen as a threat, claiming that character was a knockoff of Superman, who already had a lot of powers and only gained more as time went on. Obviously as the most popular hero of the Golden Age, Cap was seen as some pretty stiff competition for Big Blue, so naturally, the Big Red Cheese entered DC's firing range. Fawcett held pretty strong against DC's allegations for quite a few years, but as hero comics began to decline in popularity, the publisher didn't really see any point in fighting since their Whiz characters weren't really bringing in much profit anymore and settled out with DC. The allegation of Cap being a copycat may seem plausible to the uneducated nerd, but to anyone who knows the Golden Age, they actually weren't. To today's readers, they may look similar, but that's mainly because artists try to keep a lot of Golden Age aesthetics of the characters, which all had some fairly similar features back in the day. Captain Marvel's distinct facial features, costume, and color scheme are actually more different to Superman's than most other heroes at the time. Billy's origin as a normal boy using the power of magic to turn into a full grown man with the power of the gods is also much different than Superman's more sci-fi origin, that again, many other heroes would tend to ape (sometimes almost verbatim). They also don't share many powers outside super strength and flight, a combo hundreds and hundreds of heroes from Marvel, DC, and plenty of other characters from fictional universes have (technically he's more like Thor, Hercules, or Wonder Woman). Moreover, Captain Marvel had the ability to fly before Superman, so in a very ironic twist, Superman may be more a copy of Captain Marvel, than Captain Marvel of Superman.

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DC can't call him Captain Marvel, Marvel owns all the rights to that name

Again, I see a lot of people who have this misconception, and I can understand why because this is a bit of an odd case. When Fawcett relinquished the publishing rights to their Whiz characters, before DC ever even considered doing anything with them, Marvel acted first and applied for a trademark to the name Captain Marvel, figuring that while they didn't own the character himself, the name of the Golden Age's most popular hero was probably worth having. So they made their own Captain Marvel, who was oddly a space hero. Not quite sure why, maybe because they wanted to bank of Marvel Man/Miracle Man, who had space-based origins, and who was being published as a British stand-in for Captain Marvel over in the UK? hard to say, but ultimately irrelevant. Point being that DC decided to start using Billy Batson after Marvel acquired the naming rights, meaning DC could not put "Captain Marvel" on the title of any comics. on any merchandise, or in the title of any extended media. Instead, they opted to put "Shazam" on the covers and merchandise. However, and this is the fact that many people don't seem to know, is that DC can, call him Captain Marvel in any comics, games, movies, shows, or anything else, so long as it's not part of the trademarked product's title. That's what DC did up until the shift to the Post-Flashpoint continuity, in which they've called him "Shazam" in the main continuity.

There's been a lot of speculation as to why they've done this, and here's my two cents as someone who's a Captain Marvel expert, and someone who's deeply scrutinized DC comics, Geoff Johns, WB, Marvel, and recent trends in superhero based media. Around the time Billy was reintroduced, and probably a big part of why DC initiated the New 52 was the rise of superhero movies. Summer 2011 saw the release of 4 superhero movies, and the film industry seemed to be pointing to a massive rise in superhero based cinema (which we not only know was correct, but has probably massively overshot anyone's expectations for just how big this bubble has gotten). With that, both Marvel and DC have been structuring their comics to feature their characters in a manner more suitable for mainstream movie/TV adaptations, and obviously one of history's most iconic heroes is no exception to this practice. Naturally, when looking at the character from a more marketable standpoint, having a name they cannot use for any merchandise, and has a name shared by semi-prominent Marvel characters, is not nearly as profitable or easy to manage as just changing the name to Shazam. Geoff Johns says the reason this was done was that people thought his name was Shazam, and while that may be true to an extent, considering he just had an animated movie, and a reoccurring role on Young Justice, both of which called him Captain Marvel, more people than ever probably had his name right. Moreover, this has been a constant for decades, and the fact that DC just happen to make the change only now is kind of odd.

I'll get more into this in the discussion of Curse of Shazam, but all you need to know is that not only can DC use the name, but they have, in Thunderworld, Convergence, and Scooby-Doo comics, all which came after 2011. Frankly, I don't see the title and the name of the character being different as a big deal

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In fact, I like that better. Shazam books are not just about Billy, they very much are about the Power of Shazam, which is held by Billy, Freddy Freman (Captain Marvel Jr.), Mary Batson (Mary Marvel), and Black Adam as well as his extended family. So the stories don't just focus on Billy, but the entire Shazam mythos (plus are we suppose to call Freddy and Marry Shazam Jr. and Marry Shazam? and what about the wizard Shazam himself?)

Alright, with all that out of the way, onto his publication history, recommended readings, and easy ways to get ahold of them.

Golden Age

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Not much to say here historywise that wasn't already mentioned above. These comics are a lot of fun, full of whimsy and creativity, and some very nice artwork. It's kind of like a mix between a child's storybook and a superhero comic. Golden Age original Cap stories are kinda hard to come by, let alone the extended Marvel family. I managed to snag a few DC Archive Editions of his and Freddy Freeman's stories bargain hunting at some shops. Overall though for the ones that you can get a hold of, they'll usually be in hard to find overpriced collections. I don't often endorse pirating, but considering it's probably the only way any of you who have interest in his Golden Age comics will be able to read them, here are some series from a free reading site

Whiz Comics

Captain Marvel Adventures

Mary Marvel

Captain Marvel Jr.

The Marvel Family

One book not published by DC that's worth checking out is this book that chronicles Captain Marvel's wild popularity throughout the 1940's. If you wanna go beyond just comic stories and really feel the impact this icon has left, then I highly recommend picking it up.

Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal

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The 70's

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After the whole naming incident, The Big Red Cheese was out of consistent publication for quite a few decades, until DC brought him back by saying that the Marvel Family was stuck in a time paradox (making a lot of the Golden Age material kind of cannon similar to Captain America). This series was partly done to tie into the TV series that had been airing at the time.

This series also featured the return of acclaimed Golden Age artist, C.C. Beck. It's pretty fun, and if you want a cheap yet bulky chunk of Marvel Family reading material, you can get a DC collection featuring all of them bound together. Do note though, the comics will be in black and white

Amazon Link Here

The 80's

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There's not too much worth mentioning here, other than the reintroduction of the characters following the new establishment of DC's Post Crisis era of continuity. This was done in the Len Wein John Byrne series Legends, in which a large cast of DC characters are used by Darkseid and the Phantom Stranger to weigh Not a book focused on Captain Marvel himself, but this is where the character is reintroduced to the then new DC Universe. Legends is a pretty good book on its own, so it's already an enjoyable read, that can give you a little bonus as a marker in Billy's publication history.

Legends on Amazon

Legends on InStockTrade

There's also a 4 issue mini-series called Shazam! The New Beginning by Roy Thomas with art by Gil Kane, but I'd be lying if I said there was much worth looking into here. It's a comic that builds on Billy's reintroduction in a mini-series, but it's really not all that memorable, and it kind of ends up not mattering after his series in the 90's (which we'll get to soon) is put into publication. I may not have even mentioned it, but DC did just as I was making this reprint this story into trade along with some (admittedly lackluster) stories from Action Comics, so I figured may as well add it since it'll be a story that's easy to pick up.

New Beginning on Amazon

New Beginning on InStockTrades

The 90's

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The 90's is considered by many to be the Dark Age of comics, and you might think a bright and shining traditional hero like Captain Marvel would have no place in this era. However contrary to that belief or the trends of the time, this is probably the era most worth revisiting for the Marvel Family.

Jerry Ordway, a very accomplished writer and artist who had done some spectacular long-term work on Superman was given the reigns to oversee another revival of the Big Red Cheese in his graphic novel The Power of Shazam! which introduced us to young Billy Batson again in his new town, Fawcett City. This book stuck very true to many of the Golden Age aesthetics and ideas, bringing them into a new light and doing a fantastic job of it.

Power of Shazam Graphic Novel by Ordway on Amazon

The success of the graphic novel lead Ordway to get the green light for an all-new ongoing comic to follow up what he established. This series is probably the best on the list, because while I love the Golden Age comics and think they hold up pretty well as fun and imaginative stories with some of the best material that time period had to offer, I acknowledge that some people just aren't into older comics, or may not be ready to get into them just yet.

Power of Shazam ongoing series by Ordway on DC's digital comic service

Also well worth mentioning is Shazam! and the power of Hope, part of a collection of oversised one-shots written by Paul Dini, with art by Alex Ross, a team I'm sure needs no introduction. It's a short story about a day in Billy's life as Captain Marvel, helping children. It's a nice moving book that makes for a satisfying read and is even more satisfying to look at. It's an out of continuity one shot, so anyone can pick it up, and I recommend you do.

Shazam! and the Power of Hope on Amazon

The 2000's

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So things are kind of dodgy in this era. Overall the 2000's are kind of hard to define not just for Billy, but for most characters. We certainly weren't without material relating to this character, but it was reduced, and it honestly seemed like Black Adam got more focus than Billy, likely because Black Adam didn't have any issues with his own name, the inherent edginess plenty of teens surely loved, and writers who may not have understood Billy quite so well as a character. That being said there's still some fantastic reading material from this era, most of its just non-cannon (which does have its own benefits).

First I want to give a mention to Mary Marvel appearing in a book called The Team Formerly Known as the Justice League. This is a comedy driven mini-series about some leftover JLU members. I haven't read it myself (yet), so I can't speak to Mary's portrayal in the book, but considering it's a comedy book, I doubt inconsistencies are any real problem. She also appears in Countdown to Final Crisis, but aside from being a critically panned series, Mary acts out of character in the book, and in spite of being a young girl who transformed herself with magic powers, that doesn't stop the artists from using anime style panty shots with her. Freddy who's also worth mentioning appears on and off again in some runs of the Teen Titans. He may not exactly be a sidekick, but it is good to see him branch out and get his own stories (more on that in a bit).

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Formerly Known as the Justice League on DC Digital

Formerly Known as the Justice League on Amazon

As for Billy, he appears as a regular in Geoff Johns long-running JSA and Justice Society of America books. These are a little like Legends, because while it's a notable part of his history, he doesn't gain much notable focus, and unlike legends which is a short event comic, the JSA books are long runs with a big cast, and while Billy is a prominent member, he does get lost in the shuffle. Not bad books, they're critically acclaimed runs and among many of Geoff Johns' classic comics, they're just not the best place to go if you want some pure Captain Marvel.

Another series that came out around that time which is worthy of note is The Trials of Shazam, where Freddy Freeman must undergo various magical trials in order to become the new Captain Marvel. I'm not the biggest fan of this comic, just have some issues with it conceptually, though I wouldn't say it's bad, and I'm always up for Freddy getting more spotlight. You can hear more about him and that series here in this video:

Trials of Shazam! on DC Digital

Trials of Shazam Vol 1 on Amazon

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So after that disappointment from the main continuity, we have not one, not two, but three great books with their own continuities.

The first I'll mention because some of you already have a vague idea of this crossover is Superman/Shazam: First Thunder. This is the comic that the animated feature "Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam is very roughly based on. It shares similarities in concept, but the story is different, and actually features some of Captain Marvel's less frequently used rouges in some pretty cool ways. The story is very easy to pick up and read, has some great art, and is a nice piece to have if you're a big Superman fan. Also makes for a nice companion piece to go along with the Superman vs Shazam trade.

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Superman/Shazam! First Thunder on Amazon

Superman/Shazam First Thunder on DC Digital

Superman/Shazam! First Thunder on InStockTrades

Superman vs Shazam collection on Amazon

Next up, Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil, written by famed creator of the beloved all-ages story Bone, Jeff Smith. A very fitting combo of writer/artist, Jeff Bone delivers a unique and very nice take on Billy Batson's story, that anyone can pick up and enjoy. As stated, it's all ages, meaning it's written as something that a child or an adult can enjoy. Big on whimsy, but still containing the story effort and beats that any good comic should have, it's a nice story that does justice to the character and sits nicely on anyone's shelf.

Shazam! and the Monster Society of Evil on Amazon

Shazam! and the Monster Society of Evil on DC Digital

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Next up and in a somewhat similar vein is Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam. This is a kids book, meaning it's written and aimed more at a younger demographic. It's not gonna try to be as hard hitting as some other books, but honestly, that's not much of a problem. If you're looking for something fun for yourself or a comic for someone younger you know, then this is a great buy.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! on DC Digital

Billy Batson, and the Magic of Shazam! on Amazon

The 2010's

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So now we've gotten to the modern era of comics, and I'm not gonna lie, this is a dark time if you love the Big Red Cheese. Let me start by saying a combo of Injustice and the New 52 got me into comics, so I absolutely love this era as a comic book fan, not all of it, there are plenty of bumps, but as someone in love with comic book history, there's been a lot to love about the past 7 years. That being said, Captain Marvel is not one of them. The reintroduction of Billy Batson happened in the backup stories of Geoff Johns' run on Justice League. A new era, a new name, a new costume, new powers, a new story, and a new personality... which all resulted in very little remaining of what actually made him the character he is. Out of all the New 52 characters, I think it's safe to say that in the era of the New 52 (even extended into the era of the DCYou) Captain Marvel, Captain Atom, and the Teen Titans, all had the biggest problems with the reboot.

In the series Curse of Shazam, Billy is now a mouthy rude teenager who tends to lash out at the world, upset at having very little and not having his family, he lashes out, breaks the rules, and sometimes even gets in trouble with the law. The entire appeal of Billy Batson lies with the fact that in spite of everything he's been through, his good spirit/personality shines through, no matter what the adversity, it's why Shazam chose him to bear the title of World's Mightiest Mortal, and take up the mantle of Captain Marvel. This series just turns him into a dime a dozen archetype of character with the potential for good, who has a chip on his shoulder. I'm not saying that's a bad character (some of my favorites from various pieces of fiction fit that description), but aside from being a trope that's been done to death, it's just not Billy Batson. Plus in all honesty, it's not all that well done in this story, and just falls kind of flat. It's genuinely surprising this is a Geoff Johns story, given how dark it is, I can't help but wonder if this is the story he really wanted to write, or if maybe this is a story he had to write to make the character fit WB's cinematic vision given the emergence of superhero films this past decade.

Aside from missing the point of Captain Marvel entirely, there's not much else to say about this story. The supporting cast of Billy's adoptive brother's and sisters are likable

After that Billy... really hasn't done much. He appeared as a main member of the Justice League post Forever Evil, but didn't really do much outside make a magic ping-pong table, and spark a friendship with Cyborg (something I actually really like, what kid wouldn't want a robot friend?). He got his own one shot during Darksied War, as did most other members of the League, but like most of the one-shots, it wasn't very good. A rushed story with Billy still out of character, and artwork that's not particularly appealing.

With all that said was there any light shining in this era of darkness for the Big Red Cheese? yes there was

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In 2014 superstar writer and renowned crazy Scotsman Grant Morrison launched his long-awaited "Miltiversity" a comic that set off to explore and define the DC Multiverse by telling a set of self-contained (albeit loosely connected) stories via one-shots. One of which explores Earth-5, a world dedicated to old Fawcett comics and the Marvel Family (this is especially clever since the Marvel Family was from Earth-S in Pre-Crisis, and the number 5 resembles the letter S). The story he wrote called Thunderworld is nothing short of amazing, it captures everything I and so many other fans love about the character and the Marvel Family in one perfect issue, with some really nice commentary on a few things that may have urked us die hard Cap fans, If you're a long time fan of the character, this one shot will move you (it certainly moved me) and if you're new to Billy, then I think this will really make him and his extended mythos seem really endearing to you. Out of all the Multiverity comics, it's the most self-contained and satisfying read, if Grant Morrison's cosmic writing is a bit hard for you to get a grasp on, then just read this one-shot, you won't be lost in the slightest and it functions perfectly well on its own.

Thunderworld on DC Digital

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This wasn't the only thing that managed to help get us fans of the Marvel Family through tough times, a few months after Multiversity hit we got Convergence, which highlighted stories from different eras and continuities within DC"s vast history. Of these stories we got two issues dedicated to the Marvel Family by two massive Captain Marvel fans, via writer Jeff Parker (who I had the luxury of meeting at a con) and Ethan "Doc" Shanner. This comic follows the Earth-S continuity from Pre-Crisis in one of the Telos domes, in a story where the Marvel Family come to clash with the Gotham by Gaslight continuity. It's an interesting story which is similar to Thunderworld in that it hits a lot of those same simple character beats that appeal to a wide margin of people by keeping things elegant and simple, with lots of great references to old Earth-S stories (Mr. and Mrs. Bullet even appear in the story). If you're not into Convergence or aren't aware of how that story unfolds, then it's not a big hindrance, you can still pick up and enjoy this 2 issue story.

Convergence Shazam! on DC Digital

There's also 2 issues of Scooby-Doo Team-Up where the Marvel Family teams up with the Scooby-Gang. If that seems like something you'd enjoy, give it a read.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up issue on DC Digital

What Now?

So that's it, we're going onto 2018 and we haven't seen much of the Marvel Family. Given that a movie will be coming out in due time, that's very likely to change. At this point, it's uncertain if DC will go ahead with the less favorable Curse of Shazam interpretation of the character, or maybe bring back a revival of the Billy Batson fans know and love. I do know that after Curse of Shazam debuted, DC did pretty much nothing with it, and we've actually seen more done since than with classic interpretations of the character in works like Thunderworld and Converge. Both were titles met by praise from fans and critics, while Curse of Shazam has very mixed reviews. What do I think DC should do? well Grant Morrison said he wanted to leave each Multiversity one shot open to other writers if they wanted to use those realities as a setting for their own stories, so if I could have my wish, I'd like to see Parker and Shanner expand that take and use to freedom of Earth-5 to give us a truly memorable Marvel Family run for ages to come. That way Billy and the others wouldn't be hindered by the extended DC universe, but can still crossover when necessary. Or maybe just take the Marvel Family from that universe and replace the current one from Earth Prime with them. In any case, while I'm sure some people did enjoy Curse of Shazam and that interpretation of Billy, I'd really like to see that taken out, and a return to form for the classic Marvel Family, and their classic names. If the costumes need to stay changed, I can live with that, I'm not a fan of the look, but that's a minor issue in the grand scheme of things (though like I said, the old look is pretty timeless). The name thing is still a bit of an issue, but I really think DC should just go back to calling him Captain Marvel. As I said above, I think putting Shazam! on the title is just fine, the stories aren't just about Billy, they're about the Marvel Family, Black Adam and his related characters, the Sivana family, the Monster Society of Evil, and sometimes even other Fawcett characters. Though if DC wanted, they could just put "Captain Marvelous" on the covers, since Captain Marvel is originally a shortening of the name Captain Marvelous (I'm not sure, but I think that may be ok for DC to use) then just continue to call him Captain Marvel, and the rest the Marvel Family within the book.

One idea I'd very much like to see DC revive is the idea of a rotating series that focuses on Billy, Freddy, and Mary. At one time DC was going to put out a book about them with a rotating cast of writers. Mark Waid would write the Captain Marvel issues, Gail Simon would write the issues on Mary Marvel, and Grant Morrison would write the issues focused on Captain Marvel Jr. I like this idea best because even though Billy is my favorite, I see Freddy and Mary as being just as important, they're distinct characters with their own fans and comics, and I don't just want them to be seen as derivatives of Billy, not just out of respect for them, but also due to the fact that each of them has their own unique stories to tell and I feel like it'd be such a waste to limit the creativity of their stories to being a supporting cast for Billy. I'd also really like it if the comics were all ages (frankly I'd like it if all superhero comics from Marvel and DC were all ages, but that's another topic), the Marel Family has this wonderful innocence to them, and being something that anyone can read isn't something that should hinder a good writers creativity (if anything it should enhance it).

In any case, I certainly hope that in the future we see a version of the character that old school fans like myself can enjoy again. If not, it's a shame, but I'll never forget the things I've taken away from the character, and my life will always have the impacts he's left on me, so at least there's that. Plus as a nice comfort, Kohei Horikoshi's brilliant anime/manga My Hero Academia, has been a wonderful placeholder, featuring a protagonist and story that's very similar in nature to Captain Marvel's and has a lot of the same messages, so at least I know the concept I love will still live on and touch people in some form.

tl;dr aka The short version of condensed reading

So that's a great big selection of Cap's comics from over 75 years of history, but obviously, most people just want simple cliff notes of what stories to read. From that list, I'd say the best choices that can appeal to most people are:

  • Shazam! A Celebration of 75 Years
  • Power of Shazam by Jerry Ordway
  • Shazam! The Power of Hope by Paul Dini
  • Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith
  • Thunderworld by Grant Morrison (available in any Multiversity collection)

Also, check out Superman/Shazam! the Curse of Black Adam, and the Justice League Unlimited episode "Clash"

Thanks for taking the time to read, if you could, please share this at some point, especially if you know someone who wants to learn more about the character, I really hope this helps. If not, I'm still glad I wrote it up.

Have a wonderful day

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#3 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, Bendis did take photos of a bunch of JSA trades... Bendis writing a group of mostly old white guys...

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#4 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll assume the word funny was meant to be in the title

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#5 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

Hm, looks like we weren't the first

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#6 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope

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#8 Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

@anthp2000 said:

@paragonnate:

These days are supposed to be moving people into understanding what certain social groups that are weaker (women, gay people, old people etc.) go through. Frankly, the vast majority of men don't go through enough trouble to be needing a day like this. If everything in the world gets a day, there's nothing special about this anymore.

I wouldn't say that, acknowledging the needs of men and especially boys may be more important now than ever before

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#9 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

@jedixman said:

  • Jeremy Jahns
  • WhatCulture
  • Wisecrack
  • Screen Junkies
  • Cinema Sins

Those are all the absolute worst (but at least they're good fodder for the NerdCrew)

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#10 Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

It's ok, middle of the road, but that's better than DCYou