The heart of Shazam’s story is one that we can all relate to as children and adults who remember being children or might not have grown up at all.
The heartbeat? It’s hard to do the right thing. Which means it’s hard for superheroes and the rest of us.
Even if you don’t have a family or find yourself making a new one you don’t have to be alone. When you open your heart to people who want to help you be your best you are stronger than you could ever be on your own.
Oh and, the mid-credits scene is one that fans of the classic Shazam adventures will enjoy. So, expect a lot of pondering in anticipation of the sure-to-follow sequel.
Simply put the first Captain Marvel is brutal and brief. With a story that’s under 12 pages, it’s so economical that it feels like a parody.
Shazam! #1 (1973)
On the heels of the resurgent Silver Age DC licenses the characters, (before finally purchasing the rights. Since there’s a multiverse, their comic exists on the parallel world of Earth-S.
The Power of Shazam! (1994)
In the spirit of Mike Grell, this seminal work was not only written and drawn by Jerry Ordway but painted and embedded in the hearts of generations.
Geoff Johns introduced a new version of the legendary marvel in both the comics and the in the animated movie Justice League War. Drawn by Gary Frank, with a cover above by Jim Lee, this story of Shazam originally ran as a backup in Justice League.
The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker is sharp and exciting. Like the best trailers, it is filled with heroic, terrifying, and puzzling images that only heighten the anticipation and speculation surrounding its arrival.
When we left off our conversation with Jack, a time traveler had arrived from the future, only to find he was not far enough in the past. The computers had taken over. The machines created by the computers attend to everything people needed and it made humans weak. Things sounded grim.
A recurring theme in The First Kingdom is the rise and fall of civilizations and the events that eventually bring about their destruction. A desire for immortality is among the motivations that are often driving the creators and innovators.
One solution created is a memory serum that retains the entire scope of a culture’s knowledge. The serum can be used to share this knowledge with the replicants called Humanoids.
The Humanoids were made by a man who had a near-death experience as a child and wanted to stave off death for everyone. At one point, he takes the memory serum to prevent his own inevitable death.
“Art is the glorification of the human body.”
The Fiction We Know is Replicated
Tarzan is not an original story. According to Jack, there are no original stories. Jack in the Jungle and Jack the Lion Tamer were both written by PT Barnum and are the basis for the Tarzan stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Philip Wiley wrote the Gladiator which Jack believes was the inspiration for Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel’s seminal Superman. Jack even shares a personal story about these two co-creators in the first part of our conversation.
People are Steeped in Ambivalence
Jack is exacerbated by people steeped in the same ambivalence. He believes people are terrified and need to hold on to something. Jack has found the god of Einstein and it has allowed him to focus on completing the Beyond the Beyond.
When Jack met Charles Clarence (C.C). Beck, who was the first artist assigned to draw the character of Captain Marvel, originally dubbed Captain Thunder by writer Bill Parker, “He knew I was supposed to do Captain Marvel Jr.”
“He already knew about me from Bulletman and Bulletdog.”
Jack remembers Beck enjoyed designing swords and hilts, and that he was a “Wonderful little gentleman.” Maybe it has to do with his belief that Captain Marvel was better than Superman.
When Jack wrote his own story of a character with immense power he named it The Last Immortal. He then introduced a girl who was dying of cancer and asked, “What can superpowers do against cancer?”
Matt Baker and Mankind
Jack claims that Baker was the best example of an artist making it in the business. Jack made the mistake of pointing this out to Baker, and when it was overheard — “I lost my job when I said he was too good for this… I said he should be working at Playboy.”
“I loved Matt Baker – admired his ability to draw women. He had a bad heart, and he was a beautiful person.”
He is one of the many artists who inspired Jack to pursue his independent opus The First Kingdom.
“The Kingdom is like a silent mention,” he told me. “One day the world will be ready for substance.”
This includes a trial of the fantasy that we create. As Jack points out, “Mankind can’t handle the situation he is born into — it’s the vicissitude. during the trial the judge is Consciousness. Upon the suggestion that they are all fabrications, Consciousness learns she does not have the authority she thought she had
Our conversation is interrupted by sirens, and then Jack responds that he is unlike the fabricators because “I glorify the human body. It’s our temple. The registry of our identity.”
Cycles – Skywald – dick Giordano
The First Kingdom is 1070 pages. It tells the story of many advanced societies who are brought down by the problems they create.
“When I worked at Skywald,” Jack begins, he developed a jungle character raised by lions, not apes. Jack wanted to give credit to PT Barnum who he admires. Sadly, Barnum was a gifted writer who “took his intelligence to the worst possible places”
So, Jack honored him with the character Zangar.
It was Dick Giordano who visited Jack to make an offer from DC on a new project. Giordano had created the Charlton Comics characters known as the “Action Heroes. He later became the executive editor of DC Comics.
“The only thing interested in was The Imaginator,” Jack said. “(He) Loved the idea, but it never came off and then he died.”
“We are afraid to be original.”
“Society creates its downfall.,” says Jack. “Built-in from the first breath and the pain and carried through trace memories. You cannot get rid of memory. My desire must be rewarded with punishment. It all leads to our own self-destruction.”
“There’s a kind of evil or disassociation,” he continues. “Some people are born without a conscious.”
Hear the rest of the story in the podcast at the top of this post.