Captain Marvel — the one who shouts “Shazam!” to change from little boy to adult super hero — first appeared in Whiz Comics #2, dated February 1940, almost immediately prompting comparisons to Superman and outrage at DC. Yet the “Big Red Cheese” actually outsold Supes in the ’40s. Why has the most popular hero of the World War II era fallen on hard times since then? How has the character changed as DC, now owner of the character, has repeatedly struggled to reboot his world? Tim and Emmet have read the book Shazam! A Celebration of 75 years, and discuss the stories, the character, and the recent film.
Brian W. Cremins, author of Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia, discusses the Big Red Cheese as a symbol for the innocence of childhood and how creators Otto Binder and C.C. Beck expressly used the character we know as “Shazam” to explores these themes.
Cremins also discusses with Emmet O’Cuana the use of nostalgia, both in the original Fawcett comic books and in our remembering of the series, drawing on the theories of Svetlana Bohm and the writing of W.G. Sebald. In this wide-ranging discussion, Cremins addresses the Fawcett v National trial, Binder’s science fiction career, Alan Moore’s “Marvelman”, and the casting of The Rock in the upcoming “Shazam” movie.