More new from the world of comics
Just what is the Rock cooking? – Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) has been teasing comic fans for some time now about the possibility of playing a role in a movie based on a DC Comics character. Did he finally give us the big hint to let us know what it is? Lots of folks (including myself) think so. In an interview with Total Film (see below), Johnson seemed to be searching for the right way to give us a clue as to the possible identity of his upcoming role. He cites the character as having the power of Superman and then for the big hint he says, “Just say the word.”
For fans of DC, those two comments in combination seem to point to Captain Marvel and/or Shazam! Captain Marvel is a character that started back in the forties by Fawcett Comics and was certainly very Supermanesque. A young boy name Billy Batson (an orphan as these things tend to go) is given the ability to transform into a powerful superhero by a wizard named Shazam. Whenever the boy says Shazam’s name, he is struck by magical lightning and gains incredible powers including flight, super strength, super speed and invulnerability. The superhero went by the name Captain Marvel and changed back into Billy Batson via the same method meaning that he could not say the word Shazam without the change occurring.
Captain Marvel became even more popular than Superman and he had an entire retinue of heroes in the Marvel Family. There was Captain Marvel, Jr. (whose look inspired Elvis), Mary Marvel, the three Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvel and even Hoppy, the Marvel Bunny. The cast continued to expand with the addition of Mr. Tawny, the talking tiger and villains like Sivana (an evil scientist), Black Adam (the requisite villain with the same powers as the hero) and Mr. Mind (an evil worm). It has been suggested before that Johnson might play Black Adam and that still might be the case, but it isn’t the vibe I’m getting from the interview.
The history of the name and background of Captain Marvel is fraught with legal battles and name rights. Marvel Comics has the right to the title Captain Marvel and have had several characters with that name. DC has the rights to this particularly character but they cannot have a comic with the title Captain Marvel. In recent years, DC has simply started calling the character Shazam stating that this is how most fans referred to him anyway.
With all of the history and changes that the character has gone through over the years, it will be very interesting to see, if indeed this is the character at whom Johnson was hinting, what version of the character we will see. I expect we will hear more this weekend out of SDCC. You can also hear editor Jason Hunt’s speculation on Monday night’s episode of Live From the Bunker Podcast.
Xena, Warrior S.H.I.E.L.D Agent – A longtime favorite of fantasy and sci fi fans is set to return to the small screen. TV Guide has revealed that Lucy Lawless will be joining the cast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season two. Lawless got her big break spinning the role of Xena out of the Hercules TV show and making it a cult hit in its own right. She has also starred in Battlestar Galactica and Spartacus.
The name of her upcoming character has not yet been revealed unless you put two and two together. The show has been looking for someone to take on the role of Mary Maloney, described as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that is both highly skilled and can “command any room” according to the casting sheet we got before anyone else. I, again, expect that we will hear more this weekend out of SDCC. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to ABC on Sept 23rd.
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Do you feel lucky? – With the recent announced changes to Thor, Captain America and Iron Man, many a cynic has taken the position that the changes will be quite short lived. The reason is simple – the silver screen. Movies get people interested in the characters and then they come to comic shops and buy comics with their favorite characters. Both Captain America and Spider-Man returned to their status quo from large changes (both were sorta dead) before the movies came out and so many folks thought that this would be the case again. Not the case according to Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing and he is willing to lay down some cash for a good cause to back it up.
On his tumblr, Brevoort has been wagering $100 to any comers. If Cap and Thor have changed back before May 2015 when The Avengers: Age of Ultron is released, then Brevoort will donate $100 to the Hero Initiative. If they do not change, then Brevoort has challenged those that take the wager to do the same. The bet may not mean much as most of those that have responded have done so anonymously.
While a change back wouldn’t surprise me the timing is interesting. Both of these changes come about in October and the movie comes out in May. That is a very short turn around to tell stories about the changes and then reintroduce the original characters. In a medium where most story arcs take at least four issues, eight months isn’t much time to do real justice to either of these changes. If I had to put money on it, I’d bet on Brevoort.