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  1. #1
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    Default National Comics Shazam lawsuit...

    I'm a big fan of the Shazam family. They are really awesome and you can see the influences with a family of characters in Flash, Superman, and Batman. I think what makes the Shazam family stand out is the way they use the characters. No one character is sacrificed to prop up Billy Baton as THE ONE AND ONLY SHAZAM *coughDan Didio hates Wally cough* Mary and Freddy have their own unique personalities and costumes. The lawsuit from reading about it is funny to me. Then named Captain Marvel is selling like gangbusters and DC/National Comics is like "hold the phone, he can't do that! He's like Superman!" I think their goal wasn't so much to win the case but just stall Fawcett comics from publishing more and bleed them dry so they couldn't pay appeal after appeal. It's amazing with all the stops and starts from the 70s through now how the Shazam family endured. It was kind of sad to me that in the 90s particularly among the DC landscape in their appearances with the Justice League they were treated like glorified extras. So there is similarity from how Shazam was treated previously to how the legacy characters are treated today, but it's a good case in point that no matter how DC management tries, if fans of a character are strong enough and have a voice, they can't kill a character.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Business can be ruthless.
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  3. #3
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    Yes it can.

  4. #4
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    Actually what is more hilarious was that after the lawsuit was when we started getting the DC Families (Supergirl, Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Wonder Tot, Wonder Girl …( so after suing Fawcett for stealing an idea, they took the Marvel Family concept and stared copying that,

  5. #5
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    DC's beef was that Shazam was like Superman or a poor man's Superman, no way! Yeah he can fly but no heat vision super breath x-ray vision and he's not from a distant planet. His powers are magic based. Adding to the hilarity and irony if memory serves in their head to head's Shazam pretty much kicks Supes ass because one of his weaknesses is to magic. Bravo Billy!

  6. #6
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    I think that when every publisher started copying Superman in 1939, National realized there were too many of them to stop everyone from copying their best selling character. So they would choose to sue certain publishers that got too close to copying Superman, in an effort to make other publishers anxious about not copying Superman too much. This had worked with Wonder Man from Fox--who even Will Eisner confessed was an outight copy of Superman. And that knocked other publishers back on their heels for a bit. Then along comes Fawcett with their own Big Red Cheese. Now at National they have to be thinking what's in their best interest, to let this stand and signal to other publishers that they can get away with copying aspects of Superman, or do they hit the biggest guy in the room to show the other little guys who's the real big boss here?

    I don't think DC was in such a hurry to copy everything about Captain Marvel--otherwise the 1940s Superman would have been very different. Batman adopted Robin at about the same time that Billy Batson first showed up as a character--and by later introducing Freddy and then Mary, Fawcett was probably hoping to copy that success. By 1948, Otto Binder was already working for DC, as well as Fawcett, and yet he wasn't asked to use the same ideas that he had for the Marvel Family. Besides which, Mort Weisinger and Julie Schwartz were already good friends of Binder well before he broke into comics. The closest Otto probably came to creating a similar character for DC, while Fawcett was still a going concern, was Merry, Girl of 1000 Gimmicks, who was spun off as the adopted sister of Sylvester Pemberton (aka the Star-Spangled Kid, himself created by Jerry Siegel).

    Then once Fawcett was done and Otto was no longer working for them, that's when he started to produce important ideas for the Superman franchise. But his first big success in that area was all his work on the new Jimmy Olsen series. And the inspiration for that came from Jack Larson's portrayal of the character on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN--in fact Otto was often asked to adapt stories from the TV show for the comics. And soon after becoming the Jimmy Olsen writer, Binder got work on Superboy, where he created Krypto the Super-Dog and then the Legion of Super-Heroes. And then he was given the task of creating Supergirl and writing many of her adventures--who is probably the most inspired by Otto's work on the Marvel Family, especially on his other creation, Mary Marvel. But that was in 1959 and Binder's work at Fawcett had ended in 1953. It was hardly a hurry.
    Last edited by Jim Kelly; 08-22-2019 at 05:19 AM.
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  7. #7
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    That lawsuit ended up shooting themselves in the foot in hindsight. Had they instead bought Fawcett out and continued publishing Billy's adventures, then Marvel would never have grabbed the Captain Marvel name.

  8. #8
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    Most probably Fawcett would have gotten out of the comic book business anyway, since their sales were dropping, there just was no point in fighting over Captain Marvel anymore. At the end, the bulk of their titles were popular Western characters--and the rest of their offerings were war, crime, horror, romance, funny animal and Marvels. Super-heroes had gone out of style and most of the super-hero publishers had vanished or moved onto other properties. Then the Comics Code killed off all but the most vital in the herd.
    celebrating 50 years of 4 beatles crossing a zebra

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