Monday, February 15, 2010
This is Billy Batson, the alter-ego of Captain Marvel. Billy was a ten year old orphan when the wizard Shazam summoned him to be his champion of justice, Captain Marvel.
Shazam picked Billy because he was "pure of heart". Even though Billy lived on the streets, he sold newspapers on a corner near an abandoned subway entrance where he slept at night. He was not one to steal or shoplift to provide for himself.
When his parents died he was left in the care of his Uncle Ebenezer, but once Ebenezer gained control of Billy's inheritance, he threw the young boy out into the streets.
Once Billy gains the powers of Shazam, he defeats what will become his long time foe, the mad scientist Dr. Sivana. Billy takes the story of this experience to Mr. Sterling Morris, owner of radio station WHIZ (of course not telling him that he and Captain Marvel are one and the same). Mr. Morris hires Billy as a roving reporter to bring in the youth market and because Billy seems to be "Johnny on the Spot" when it comes to covering the exploits of Captain Marvel.
Bill Parker and C.C. Beck (who drew the sketch above) created Captain Marvel and Billy Batson. It was a great inspiration to make Capt. Marvel's alter-ego a young boy, seeing that was the target audience of the comic book adventures. Young boys could identify with Billy and pretend to be him. Many a boy would shout out "SHAZAM!" hoping to change into the adult Captain Marvel.
Billy was smart, intelligent and adventurous. His radio job sent him all over the world reporting on world events. And when trouble reared it's head, Billy would shout his magic word and change to save the day.
Billy Batson (and Captain Marvel) are one of my favorite characters. Even though the stories were written for "all ages", The Adventures of Captain Marvel and Billy Batson are some of the greatest comics ever produced, and I highly recommend them to everyone!