Monday, March 3, 2014
The biggest draw of the book is Ordway's art. He manages to capture much of the character designs of the Big Red Cheese while maintaining a slightly realistic style. Also the look and feel of the backdrop of Fawcett City seems very inspired by the retro style of Batman: The Animated Series. Highly popular at the time this book was published in 1994.
The story isn't bad either. Some of the lines are a bit clunky. But the overall story itself isn't bad.
I suppose Ordway had to make the story a bit more "edgier" for a modern audience (although I hate using the word "edgier") but it doesn't come off as badly as some. I mean even in the original series, Billy Batson is homeless. A ten year old kid living on the street isn't exactly cheery, folks.
But what Ordway does right is despite this he doesn't turn Billy Batson into a moody jerk. Although, he would have every right to be. But that's not the point of the character.
The other thing I like is the fact that Ordway establishes in this continuity, which has sadly long since been retconned with the New 52, is the fact that Billy turns into an adult rather than him and Captain Marvel being two different entities.
I think that helps with explaining Marvel's "Schucks! Gee whiz!" sort of personality in a modern world where everything has to be "dark". He's still basically a kid inside. So he has that sunny outlook.
I had mentioned this in a previous blog how Captain Marvel visualizes a kids dream of being the superhero and not the sidekick. As a ten year old, you can be Robin but you can't be Batman. But you CAN be Captain Marvel. A kid who has the ability to turn into an adult superhero but still get to go back to being a kid after he's done saving the world.
I also liked the origin of Batson's parents being archaeologiest murdered by Black Adam who was the henchman for the man who financed their dig in Egypt: Dr. Sivana. Yep!! The Worlds Maddest Scientist is reintroduced in this book. Though this time he's sort of this multi-millionaire cross between Lex Luthor and Ross Perot.
Out of everything, it's Ordway's artwork that really shines in this tale. His interpretations of all the characters are great! He maintains the look CC Beck created for Marvel, Sivana and Black Adam. It should be mentioned I thought Black Adam kind of reminded me of a cross between Shemp Howard and a young Norman Fell...
...okay! I'll give you a second to let that sink in.
But THE POWER OF SHAZAM is really a great book and honestly should be a "How to" guide to any writer or artist looking to adapt Captain Marvel. Or at least adapt him right. The only other adaptation I think got Marvel right was the movie serials from the 1940's starring Tom Tyler.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Mostly I just get bored and need the change.
I'll be glad to see Old Man Winter in the rearview mirror. The last couple months of Winter have been the pits with the constant snow. It'll be nice to see warmer weather and everything in bloom once again.
I've also been continuing to learn the ukulele the past couple of months. I've come along pretty good since I last blogged about it. I've been learning a few songs. Just recently I added two more to songs I've learned. One of which is HE PLAYED HIS UKULELE AS THE SHIP WENT DOWN at the request of my good friend Devon Kurtz when we all went out to the Flying Rhino for my Birthday.
The other song goes along with my affection for Groucho Marx and the movies of the Marx Brothers. I found the chords for LYDIA THE TATTOOED LADY. A particular favorite of mine.
The chords themself are actually fairly easy. And my wife has even told me that what I'm playing even sounds like music now.
That's pretty much all the fun and excitement around here. Now I'm just hoping to get through the next snowstorm and hope nicer weather is on the other side of it.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Think about it. There are very few movies you can say that about. Even THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (my favorite of the original Star Wars movies) there are scenes where I get fidgety.
Not the case with GHOST BUSTERS.
I was very sorry to hear about the death of Harold Ramis today. Who not only portrayed spores, mold and fungus enthusiast Egon Spengler in the movie. But also co-created the script with fellow Ghostbuster Dan Ackroyd.
Ramis wrote and directed and appeared in many other really great films. But GHOST BUSTERS will always remain my favorite. Really the only film I can think of off the top of my head that I enjoy from beginning to end.
Although, I could probably go without seeing an episode of THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS ever again. But I don't think Harold had anything to do with that series.
RIP Harold Ramis.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
However, some have come close.
I think the biggest problem is they have tried to to make the character of Captain Marvel too gritty. The other problem I've had with some of the reboots and revisions is they have made Marvel and Billy Batson two seperate characters.
And I think that takes away from what made the character so great.
Its that dream kids have of wanting to be THE superhero. And not the sidekick. A kid can't be Superman or Batman. Because they're adults. But Captain Marvel somewhat fufills that dream of a kid turning into a superhero. And when he's finished fighting crime he can go back to being a kid again.
Think about it. When you play "lets pretend" out in the backyard. In your mind, you are THAT superhero you're pretending to be. And once you're finished pretending to save the world for the day because Mum called you in for Supper, you can go back to being just a kid again.
Just like Captain Marvel.
Although, out of all the artists and writers who have done Captain Marvel story and art since Beck, I think Jerry Ordway's run on THE POWER OF SHAZAM! was probably my favorite re-imagining of Captain Marvel. Although he added a somewhat gritty backstory to Billy Batson's parents death (with shades of Raiders of the Lost Ark) as well as a less than happily accepting being turned into Captain Marvel. I enjoyed his take on Captain Marvel's first appearance and his approach to the artwork. Making the character look like the way CC Beck designed him while adding a touch of realism.
And I did like Jeff Smith's artwork in SHAZAM! AND THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL. A remake of a storyline written by CC Beck in the Captain's original run in 1943. The original storyline itself originally ran until 1945. So, Smith had the tall task of basically had the tall task of squishing three years worth of a story into a four issue series. But doing a remake of anything established can be a sticky wicket to begin with. Just look at Peter Jackson's KING KONG... or not.
And it looks like DC is preparing to reboot Captain Marvel again to fit in with their NEW 52 universe. Which I guess they're planning on officially changing the character's name to SHAZAM. Which the character has been officially known as since DC purchased the rights to him in the 1970's.
Long story. Maybe as long as the original Monster Society storyline. DC sued Fawcett Comics in the 1950's. They cited Captain Marvel was too close to Superman. Truth be told. Marvel was just kicking Supes big red and blue butt in sales. DC had been very territorial of their Man of Steel. They had sued Will Eisner in the 1940's because his character Wonder Man was too close to Superman and won.
Although, Fawcett might have had a case because there were so many characters closer to Superman than Marvel was. But trying to fight DC in court would prove too costly so Fawcett decided (sadly) to discontinue Captain Marvel.
Flash forward to the 1970s. DC Comics, under a different regime, decided to purchase the rights to Captain Marvel. However, within that timeframe, the Big Red Cheese's copyrights had long since lapsed and DC's biggest competitor, Marvel Comics, had created and trademarked a character using that same name. Which forced DC to use SHAZAM, the magic words Billy Batson would speak to change into the Cap, as the title of their new ongoing series.
And this is the reason why some people have erroneously referred to Captain Marvel as SHAZAM over the years. I suppose in DC's collective mind, why not just make it official.
But my feeling is that its no longer the same character.
Which is a shame because it seems like once again they're trying to add an "edge" to the character that I don't think it really needs.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I wanted to attempt a slightly different version of the Count. Somewhat larger and more imperious looking.
Think of a cross between Christopher Lee and Brian Blessed.
It's current on E-Bay to bid on. Illustrated in Sumi Black Japanese Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson 9x12 Bristol Board.
Click on the link below to place your bid:
Monday, February 17, 2014
Please contact me directly if you do not wish a personalized inscription. Or this is intended as a gift to someone else.
Suitable for framing and the ideal gift for any fan of the traditional Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Click on the link below to place or bid or feel free to pass this link along to anyone you think might be interested:
Sherlock Holmes on the Hunt (16x20 Color Art)
And be sure to check out my other art auctions currently available:
Bunny and the Badger Art Auctions