Real Name: William "Billy" Batson

Occupation: Adventurer, Television Journalist

Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record (still a minor)

Identity: Secret

Other Aliases: None

Place of Birth: Fawcett City, California

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Donald (father, deceased), Marilyn (mother, deceased), Merrill (grandfather, deceased), Jocelyn (grandmother, deceased), Dudley (granduncle), Mary (sister, alias Mary Marvel), Thaddeus Bodog Sivana (uncle), Magnifus Sivana, Beautia Sivana (cousins)

Group Affiliations: The Marvels, Justice League of America

Base of Operations: San Francisco, California

First Appearance and Origin: (historical) Whiz Comics #2, (recent) Shazam: The New Beginning #1 

History: William "Billy" Batson is the son of noted archaeologists Donald and Marilyn Batson. Born in post-World War Two America, he was orphaned at fifteen when his parents were killed in a car crash engineered by Marilyn's stepbrother, Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, who wanted his hands on their extreme wealth. Billy and his infant sister, Mary, had inherited their wealth upon their deaths and Billy had wanted to live alongside Mary with his beloved Uncle Dudley who had offered to quit his job as a stage magician and get a real job to raise Billy, but Billy refused to allow his uncle to make such a sacrifice and hesitantly went off to live with his untrustworthy and unscrupulous Uncle Thaddeus. Once Sivana had his hands on the Batson family fortune to finance his sinister experiments, however, he cast Billy out into the streets to learn how cruel the world really was and sent Mary to live in an orphanage without any knowledge of her true past.

Honest and hard-working, Billy soon found a job selling newspapers and living under the kindness of strangers. At nights, he slept in the warmth of a deserted subway station. Eventually, he found himself at the location of his parent's car crash and met an old man who promised to take care of him. The old man turned out to be the aged mage and wizard Shazam who had spent millennia searching for a truly pure and honest soul to help him fight the forces of evil in his stead. Shazam's time on earth was nearly over, and in Billy, he saw the innocence and purity he knew he wanted in a champion for good. He gave Billy the power to become the costumed hero Captain Marvel imbued with the power of the gods of earth just by invoking his name. By calling upon Shazam's name, Billy was struck by a bolt of mystical lightning and became transformed into the crimson and gold figure of Captain Marvel. Shazam fully revealed that in this form that Billy had the wisdom of famed Israeli king Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the bravery of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. (The full details of Shazam's spell seem suspect since both Achilles and Solomon were mortals and Atlas was the son of a Titan). Shortly after Billy earned this legacy granted by the gods through Shazam, the aged wizard gave up his life-force and departed from the earthly plane, but his spirit has since returned several times in times of crisis to lend his support to Billy as Captain Marvel.

As Captain Marvel, Billy strived to fight against the evil machinations of his evil uncle, Dr. Sivana, who had wasted and lost much of the Batson family fortune in his pathetic efforts and drives for power. Over the years, Sivana had become the leader of a small cabal of criminals, all of whom had dishonest and criminal aspirations like himself. He also learned that Billy was Captain Marvel and used that knowledge to his benefit on several occasions, once even using unknown means to gain the power of Captain Marvel for himself. Captain Marvel also clashed several times with Black Adam, Shazam's previous protégé who had used his power for evil rather than good. Billy meanwhile lent his powers upon a younger lame waif named Freddie Freeman who became known as Captain Marvel Jr. Billy was also reunited with Mary who had grown up into a young girl adopted by a wealthy family. When Mary was kidnapped, Billy and Freddie were unable to call out for the powers of Captain Marvel and Mary innocently mentioned the name Shazam, become the godly heroine known as Mary Marvel. Later in consulting with the spirit of Shazam, Billy learned that Mary had tapped into the back-up spell to his invocation spell involving the names of several goddesses rather than gods. As Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel, the three heroes became known as the Marvels.

By now, Billy and Mary had become able to live with their retired Uncle Dudley along with Freddie by their side. Billy had found more stable employment working for the newspaper he once sold to help support his uncle who learned of his niece and nephew's dual identities and supported them in their heroics. In one of his efforts to destroy the Marvels, Dr. Sivana lost control of one of his experiments and trapped himself, many of his allies and the Marvels in suspended animation for forty years, later emerging in the late Twentieth Century. However, during the Crisis of Infinite Earths, the timeline had been restructured around the survivors of several destroyed realities, which seemingly included Captain Marvel and his unfortunate retinue, and this event never occurred, instead having occurred in the years long after World War Two.

Captain Marvel meanwhile became a member of the Justice League of America while a member of the Marvels fighting the evil of Dr. Sivana, who had increased his selfish drives into uniting the criminal underground under his power. Through Wonder Woman, one of his JLA allies, he also finally encountered the Gods of Olympus as well as those of Asgard. Captain Marvel briefly clashed with the thunder-god Thor after being manipulated into falsely believing the Avengers were going to destroy the multiverse. Months later, he joined forces with Thor against Krona trying to recreate the Big Bang that had created the known universe.

In the alternate future of the Legion of Superheroes, Captain Marvel retreats from earth to study in the mystical arts of his old mentor, Shazam. In this future, he locates a girl named Cece Beck to become his successor and grants her the godly power to become Captain Thunder.

Height: (Billy) 5' 6", (Captain Marvel) 6' 1"
Weight: (Billy) 125 lbs. (Captain Marvel) 220 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

Unusual Physical Appearances: Billy Batson appears as an adult when he becomes Captain Marvel.

Strength Level: Captain Marvel possesses Class 100 strength enabling him to lift (press) well over a hundred tons under optimal conditions. 

Known Superhuman Powers: Captain Marvel
possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods, including superhuman strength, endurance, stamina and resistance to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly energies would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Zeus, Poseidon and Apollo or for a number of Olympian gods of equal power working together to revive him. His Olympian metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)

In order to change form, Billy must be able to call upon the name of Shazam, thereby invoking spells involving the energies of those extra-dimensional beings once known as gods on earth. This spell adds almost a hundred pound of impervious godly muscle and tissue to his frame as well as aging him into adulthood. This spell seems to be solely vocal; he cannot access this spell if he is gagged or hampered in some way from talking. The precision of this spell is somewhat askew. He can share his power with Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., but while in this state, each person is only in possession of a fragment of the full power of Captain Marvel as opposed to one person commanding all of it. By calling upon Shazam again, each member of the Marvels can once again return to their normal form and size; thereby allowing one of their number, such as Billy or Mary, to have the full power of the spell. There is one susceptibility to the spell that it can be shared with other personages who are of noble intent and purity, such as Superman, who once switched identities and powers with Captain Marvel, after being in close proximity with Billy Batson during one transformation. It is known that certain gods of sufficient power, such as Thor, can manipulate Shazam's spell and render Captain Marvel back to the human form of Billy Batson once more.  

In addition to his strength and invulnerability, Captain Marvel has other powers derived from the strengths and gifts from the gods and mortals invoked in Shazam's spell. He can move at incredible speeds, possibly equal to Superman, but maybe approaching that of Quicksilver who can attain speeds up to the speed of light (182,272 mph). He can move fast enough to not register in the normal peripheral range of humans and seemingly vanish and disappear at will. At this speed, his mind processes information at least on a subliminal level that he is aware of his surroundings. Captain Marvel has exceptional photographic recall and mental acuity allowing him to read and decipher hieroglyphics, recall everything he has ever learn, solve long mathematical equations instantaneously and make intuitive guesses based on limited data to the point his guesses are almost always correct. He is always supported by an innate and harmonious presence of good will and strength of perseverance that he never backs down from a challenge.

Captain Marvel can also mystically fly through the atmosphere through sure act of will, enabling him to soar through the atmosphere at sub-orbital levels and travel across the planet. He is immune from the effects of extreme height, such as dizziness and lightheadedness. With effort, he can travel from the earth to the moon, but he requires extra-precautionary paraphernalia for interstellar travel. 

Billy Batson has none of these powers in his normal mortal form. He can retain some of his mental aptitude in his normal form, but without the certainty or assurance he has as Captain Marvel.

Comments: At one time, Captain Marvel was actually called Captain Thunder in the first issue of Flash Comics #1, but that issue was actually a photocopy of art in a mad rush to secure the rights to the title of Flash Comics, subsequently lost to DC Comics, and Fawcett Publications renamed the issue, "Whiz Comics." The name "Captain Thunder" was also changed to "Captain Marvel" to avoid turmoil with another character named Captain Thunder. When DC Comics secured the rights to Captain Marvel in 1972, they used the title "Shazam" to avoid confusion and litigation with the title "Captain Marvel" used by Marvel Comics. 

When Fawcett Comics discontinued its characters in 1953, the character's British publisher had the character completely rewritten and reworked into the character Miracle Man to keep the series alive. He ran for ten more years and was revived by Quality Comics, later bought out by DC Comics. Miracle Man was later brought to the US by Eclipse Comics later acquired by Todd McFarlane (Image Comics). Marvel Comics later placed Miracle Man's adventures in the "Crooked Earth" reality, but they have no legal connections to the character.

Thanks to Wolverine for the use of his pic from the Heromorph website.

Clarifications: Captain Marvel is not to be confused with:  

Last updated: 02/11/07


Back to Main Page