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There’s a new Captain Marvel comic coming out later this year – and no, we don’t mean that one. In the midst of San Diego Comic-Con, DC Comics announced Thursday that it would be launching a new Shazam! ongoing comic series later this year. The series will focus on the superhero of the same name (once known as Captain Marvel), who is really a young boy named Billy Batson, capable of transforming into a powerful adult superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam!”
Set to launch this November, this new Shazam! series will have several months to help build anticipation for next year’s live-action Shazam! movie adaptation, starring Zachary Levi as the title character. This will be the first Shazam! comic published by DC in years — so it’s a safe bet the upcoming movie (set to hit theaters next April) has something to do with it. The last attempt was written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank (coincidentally the creative team on DC’s Watchmen sequel Doomsday Clock), and didn’t even consist of individual issues, but rather back-up stories that ran in issues of Johns’ then-ongoing Justice League run.
The new series will again be written by Johns, this time with Dale Eaglesham on art. Based on DC’s promotional art, it looks like the new series will maintain some of the changes instituted by Johns’ and Frank’s story. Coming as it did amongst the blank-slate “New 52” era of DC, that Shazam! story changed Batson’s backstory by making him a mean, spiteful kid instead of the innocent boy he’d always been. They also teamed him with a foster family of five adoptive brothers and sisters: Mary Bromfield, Freddy Freeman, Eugene Choi, Pedro Peña, and Darla Dudley. Freddy and Mary have traditionally been able to transform themselves into their own superheroes (Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel, back when the nomenclature was all about “Marvel” rather than “Shazam”), but based on DC’s promotional image for the new series (see below), it’s a safe bet that all six kids will soon have the ability to transform into their own superhero selves.
Johns was the focus of a Spotlight panel at Comic-Con on Thursday, where he also announced that he’ll be writing and producing a live-action Stargirl show for the upcoming DC Universe streaming platform.