[[caption-width-right:346:Captain Marvel and his alter ego Billy Batson, keeping it real in UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks.]]

-> ''"''Captain Marvel'' was the first superhero comic to just throw out the notion of realism. Captain Marvel can fight dragons and meet women from the moon. Anything you can think of, this guy can do, so of course that was an immense hit, because it was taking much more advantage of the form, I think."''
-->-- '''Creator/GrantMorrison''', ''Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle''

''SHAZAM!'' (Which used to be [[IAmNotShazam what he said, not who he was]], but is now his official name... mostly.)

You have to understand this before you proceed: comics weren't always just {{superhero}}es.

Look -- guys in masks [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks only showed up]] around, say, 1936. {{Superhero}}es only go as far back as Franchise/{{Superman}} in 1938. Comics about detectives and daredevil pilots had been inherited from the [[PulpMagazine pulps]] to great success. ''No-one'' thought costumed heroes would take off like they did. So when [[Creator/DCComics National Comics]] hit paydirt with their costumed super heroes, the initial reaction of [[Creator/FawcettComics Fawcett Publications]] was "Oh boy! [[FollowTheLeader We've got to get some of these!]]"

So, they brought in C.C. Beck to do a story about a team of six heroes who all got powers from various legendary figures. When this was pitched, it was decided that, while CastSpeciation was cool, AllYourPowersCombined just looks better. The hero was to be called Captain Thunder. Except they couldn't get the name. So they called him Captain Marvelous, and then shortened it to Captain Marvel, because it sounds punchier. The character first appeared in ''Whiz Comics'' #2 (February, 1940). (#1 was only an ashcan copy, never intended for distribution.)

Little Billy Batson is a homeless orphan who is led by a mysterious stranger into a deserted train station, where a train with no driver leads him to a wizard's lair. There, the wizard gives him the power of six archetypal figures: the [[WiseBeyondTheirYears wisdom]] of '''S'''olomon, the [[SuperStrength strength]] of '''H'''ercules, the [[ImplacableMan stamina]] of '''A'''tlas, the [[PhysicalGod power]] of '''Z'''eus, the [[TheGoodCaptain courage]] of '''A'''chilles, and the [[SuperSpeed speed]] of '''M'''ercury, which when put together spell [[FlyingBrick F-L-Y-I-N-G B-R-I-C-K]]. To [[ByThePowerOfGrayskull summon]] these powers, he must shout the name of the wizard -- "[[FunWithAcronyms SHAZAM!]]" -- which summons down lightning and transforms him into a superhuman adult with a bright red costume with a [[PimpedOutCape freakin' sweet cape]].

Billy Batson goes on to get a job as a radio announcer (yes, a ten-year-old announcer), but as his SuperpoweredAlterEgo, Captain Marvel, fights evil and chaos. He acquired an impressive RoguesGallery, including diminutive MadScientist Doctor Sivana, villainous SuperSoldier [[ThoseWackyNazis Captain Nazi]], atomic [[AIIsACrapshoot android]] Mister Atom, [[HerosEvilPredecessor former holder of]] [[FallenHero the Marvel mantle]] ComicBook/BlackAdam, and others. But he also had a group of staunch allies known as the Marvel Family, who had also (mostly) been gifted by Shazam; his best friend Freddy Freeman became Captain Marvel Junior, and his long-lost sister Mary Bromfield became Mary Marvel (complete with MiniDressOfPower). Initially, Mary had her own pantheon of goddesses from which she derived power (including Zephyrus... which was actually a male, but then there aren't many mythological figures whose names start with a "Z"). Later, she switched over to Billy's pantheon. Then there were the Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvel, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, and Tawny the Talking Tiger...

This was Captain Marvel's GoldenAge. His own title regularly sold over a ''million'' copies a month (FYI, the best selling comics of today usually top out at around 100,000), Mary and Junior had their own titles when most heroes had to settle for eight-page backups in anthology books. There was even a movie serial, ''Film/TheAdventuresOfCaptainMarvel'', which was the first superhero film ever produced. He was arguably the most popular and recognizable superhero of the [[TheForties 1940s]].

Then there was a problem. On the one hand, there was Captain Marvel, a black-haired all-American feller in a costume with a lot of bright red, who can punch through cars and stop robbers... and on the other hand, there was Superman, a black-haired all-American feller in a costume with a lot of bright red, who... well, you get the idea. Admittedly, this described a ''lot'' of superheroes back then (and even today!), but Marvel had the flaw of selling ''more'' than his inspiration. Creator/DCComics brought the case to court, and Fawcett fought it out for a while. Eventually, though, the superheroes [[UsefulNotes/TheInterregnum stopped selling so well]], and Fawcett decided to throw in the towel; they closed down their comics division and moved on.' The final appearance of the character was 'Marvel Family'' #89 (January, 1954). The name "[[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]]", however, would return to haunt DC Comics.

A few years later, UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks started up, and superheroes became popular again. Fawcett couldn't take advantage of this, because the settlement with DC had specified that they never publish a Captain Marvel comic again, but eventually, DC themselves expressed interest in the character. Fawcett licensed the whole shebang to DC (with the latter eventually buying the rights lock, stock and barrel), and after a couple of tryouts, they put out a new series in 1973. Unfortunately, they couldn't actually ''call'' the series "Captain Marvel", because Creator/MarvelComics had snapped up the name in the meantime (and created [[ComicBook/CaptainMarVell their own character]], and eventually a string of characters, by that name), so they titled it ''Shazam!'' and went ahead. The series, though never a hot seller, did fairly well and even found a way to update its look from the [[https://myfavouritefunnies.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/shazam1-coverbinder.jpg simple, but dated, cartooniness of C.C. Beck]] to the [[http://www.donnewton.com/images/shazam35_11.jpg rich illustrations of Don Newton]] to fit in the UsefulNotes/TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks; the Marvelverse ([[Franchise/MarvelUniverse no relation]]) was slotted into DC's [[TheMultiverse Multiverse]] as Earth-S, and he occasionally crossed over with DC's other heroes -- naturally, the [[UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny long-debated fight]] between Cap and Superman was one of the first. Incidentally, it's rather ambiguous who has the edge since Captain Marvel doesn't have Supes' [[EyeBeams vision]] and [[BreathWeapon breath powers]], but his powers are magic based which is a traditional [[KryptoniteFactor weakness]] for Superman.

And then came ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', merging the DC multiverse, including Earth-S, into a single universe. [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity Ensued]]. The major change is that whereas Billy and Captain Marvel were largely considered two separate people, now Captain Marvel is unambiguously set with Billy's youthful personality. This means to others, this supposedly adult superhero has a personality of a child, albeit guided by the wisdom of Solomon. This has led to awkward situations more than once and when he was forced to reveal his true form to Superman in ''First Thunder'', the Kryptonian made a bee-line to Shazam to confront him about recruiting a child as his champion. Also, the formation of the Marvel Family was reversed with Mary Marvel, who was the last major addition to arrive outside of Mr. Tawky Tawny in the original stories, usually meeting her brother first, then Jr. arrives later with the Lt. Marvels considered strictly afterthoughts if they are included at all. ComicBook/BlackAdam was also reimagined as walking the line between AntiHero, AntiVillain, TokenEvilTeammate, and so on.

So after a few comics and a brief membership spot in the ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica, Captain Marvel became part of the wider DC Continuity. Whenever they needed a Superman-level fighter who was immune to kryptonite or magic, particularly when Superman is being mind-controlled or a similar emergency, he was there. Whenever Franchise/WonderWoman needed to hit someone we didn't care about, he was there. Whenever villains needed someone hokey to fight, thus proving they were a Superstitious And Cowardly Lot, he was there. His standard shtick was to represent the sunny, old-timey virtues of [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] comics in the darkness of UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks. On the other hand, despite the stereotype set by those fights, DC Comics also published ''First Thunder'' to show that Superman and Captain Marvel actually get along well in the same Universe: Superman appreciates having an ally with equivalent powers to help him fight supernatural foes that could otherwise lay out him with a shrug, and Billy values having the greatest of the superheroes as a mentor to help him through his double life's rough spots.

Starting in 2005, though, the franchise hit a rough patch. The characters were constantly getting retooled, such as having Captain Marvel take the Wizard's place as "Marvel" and Freddy Freeman taking Billy's place as a hero ''named'' Shazam, apparently to get around the fact that IAmNotShazam. Many of these retools were DarkerAndEdgier, the most infamous instance probably being "Evil Mary Marvel" in ''ComicBook/CountdownToFinalCrisis''. There was a bright spot, though, in that Black Adam was one of the leading characters in the acclaimed series ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', gaining {{Morality Pet}}s in the form of Isis and Osiris. (They were both killed by the end of the event, but hey, this is comic books, DeathIsCheap.)

At the same time, a more traditional AlternateContinuity take on the Marvel Family came in [[ComicBook/{{Bone}} Jeff Smith's]] ''Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil''; this was much-better received, and in 2008, an ongoing series in the same continuity premiered, ''ComicBook/BillyBatsonAndTheMagicOfShazam'' It was assumed, but not confirmed, that this is set on Earth-5, the post-''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'' version of Earth-S.

Eventually, Captain Marvel's history was wiped clean by DC's ComicBook/{{New 52}} reboot. He re-debuted in backup stories in ''Justice League'', with these stories focusing on the magical aspect rather than straight superheroics. Oh, and DC said "heck with it" and changed his name from "Captain Marvel" to "Shazam" in the main DC universe. Captain Marvel still exists out in the Multiverse though, both on Earth-5 ("Thunderworld") and on Brainiac's Blood Moon ("{{ComicBook/Convergence}}"), so DC has multiple versions of the character to work with.

A live-action ''Shazam'' movie is currently in the works as part of the Film/DCCinematicUniverse, though it has been stated to have a LighterAndSofter tone than ''Film/ManOfSteel'' and ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice''. The movie will be written by ''Film/JackTheGiantSlayer'' scribe Darren Lemke, and will feature [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson]] as ComicBook/BlackAdam.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/BillyBatsonAndTheMagicOfShazam''
* ''ComicBook/ShazamTheNewBeginning''


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfCaptainMarvel''


[[folder: Films -- Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanShazamTheReturnOfBlackAdam''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueTheFlashpointParadox''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueWar''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueThroneOfAtlantis''


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{Shazam}}''


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse''
* ''VideoGame/DCUniverseOnline''
* ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs''


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueAction''
* Spoofed in the 1979 film ''Film/JMenForever'' (consisting of GagDub Republic FilmSerial clips) with Billy Batchit, who becomes 'The Caped Madman' by uttering the magic word "[[FunWithAcronyms SH-BOOM]]!" which enables Billy to ''"take on all the vices of a J-Man of the Secret Service: '''S''' for Sneaky, '''H''' for Hateful, '''B''' for Bigotted, '''O''' for Obnoxious, another '''O''' for Double-Obnoxious, and '''M''' for Mean!"''
* Similarly spoofed in [[http://kitscomics.com/captain/38.htm a classic issue of]] ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'', where Superduperman got into a fight with him, with "Billy Spafon" becoming "Captain Marbles" by saying the magic word "Shazoom!": '''S'''trength, '''H'''ealth, '''A'''ptitude, '''Z'''eal, '''O'''x, power of, '''O'''x, power of another, '''M'''oney!
* Creator/DCComics themselves had a character called Captain Thunder, a Captain Marvel {{Expy}} (real name Willie Fawcett) with an origin based on Native American spirits and the magic word "Thunder!" ('''T'''ornado, '''H'''are, '''U'''ncas, '''N'''ature, '''D'''iamond, '''E'''agle and '''R'''am) who teamed up with Superman before Earth-S made its debut.
* ''ComicBook/TheDandy'' parodied the character with the spoof superhero "ComicStrip/{{Bananaman}}", who was summoned when his Billy Batson {{expy}} ate a banana.
* Issue 8 of ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' had a plot where Dr. Robotnik builds a number of superhero robots based on non-Archie properties. One of them was "Captain Mar-bot", who says "Shazham!". Sonic defeats it with ease.
* In Alan Moore's ''ComicBook/{{Supreme}}'' run, which turned the title into a {{Homage}} to Silver Age Supermen, "Mightyman" is the Captain Marvel CaptainErsatz.
* After the copyright lawsuit shut down the original American Captain Marvel, the comics' British publisher created their own CaptainErsatz Marvelman, whose comic strip ran for many more years. In the 1980s, it was revived in DarkerAndEdgier style by Alan Moore as ''ComicBook/{{Miracleman}}'', helping to set the agenda for UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks.

!!Shazam[=/=]Captain Marvel provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: Jerry Ordway seemed to be going somewhere with a story in ''ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica'' where -- post Freddy's ''Trials of Shazam'' and Mary turning evil -- the wizard just took all their powers away. The story also revealed there was an EvilCounterpart to the Rock of Eternity called the Rock of Finality. For a while this left the Marvel family in a holding pattern as other writers waited to see where Ordway wanted to take this. Then the New 52 happened and Shazam got completely reinvented.
** According to Newsarama, WhatCouldHaveBeen: "the tale would have involved a depowered Billy Batson reclaiming the scattered powers of the wizard Shazam from different individuals who had received them and were misusing them. One of these, a black youth, would actually use his powers wisely, and Billy would allow him to keep his powers, turning him into Vulcan, the first black member of the Marvel Family modeled after the Black Vulcan, a character from the Super Friends cartoon."
* ActionGirl: Mary Marvel.
* AnalogyBackfire: Creator/PeterDavid's comment on the "Wisdom of Solomon": "Question: God directly orders you to build no temples to other gods. Do you build temples to other gods? If you said yes, congratulations! [[WhatAnIdiot You have just displayed the Wisdom of Solomon!]]" Worth noting is that ''having'' wisdom and ''using'' it are two different things.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The one-hour block where it ran alongside ''WesternAnimation/HeroHigh''.
* ArchEnemy: Sivana and his family.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: Sabbac these days.
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: Originally Fawcett's version of Superman. Now effectively an expy, since DC now owns both characters.
* AwesomeButTemporary: In the ComicBook/{{New 52}}, ''Justice League'' #21 had Billy accidentally sharing a portion of his power with Mary, Freddy, and the other foster children instead of Black Adam as intended. He later shares the same power with Tawny, his pet tiger, at the cost of the others losing some of their power. Due to Billy's incomplete mastery of the magic, his foster siblings and the tiger soon lose their powers by the end of the issue.
* BadassFamily: Billy and Mary.
** BadassCrew: What they become once you throw Freddy into the mix.
* BadassGrandpa: UsefulNotes/WorldWarII veteran Minuteman.
* BaldOfEvil: Ibac, Sabbac and Sivana.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Sivana's evil children, Georgia and son Thaddeus Jr, are vaguely gargoylish like their father. His good children, the [[MeaningfulName Meaningfully Named]] Beautia and Magnificus, take after their mother's side of the family and look like pin-ups.
** ''52'' plays with this notion somewhat, depicting the former as still being fundamentally insecure and awkward teenagers, while showing Venus and her offspring to be not outright malevolent, but rather, extremely shallow and spoiled people (Venus even casually uses a racial slur at the dinner table).
* BigGood: Captain Marvel is often treated like this, even in comparison to Franchise/{{Superman}}, possibly due to ChildrenAreInnocent. It's explicitly stated in the comics that Billy Batson would be Marvel full-time to help people, if not for the wizard Shazam insisting that Batson himself deserves some happiness in his life, too.
* BoundAndGagged: Almost every climax in the Golden Age revolved around the villain trussing and gagging Billy -- either to prevent him saying the magic word, or just because they didn't want a nosy kid snooping around -- and whether he could manage to get it off in time to save himself from a deathtrap; the nigh-invincible Captain Marvel beating the bad guys to a pulp was, naturally, a ForegoneConclusion.
* BrainsEvilBrawnGood: Captain Marvel and Dr Sivana.
** Although played with. In the Golden Age nearly all of Cap's foes were ones he could defeat with a single punch once he got close enough. Whenever he fought someone with super-powers of their own, they tended to be '''exactly''' as powerful as he was so battle was pointless, and he had to get tricky.
* TheBrute: Ibac.
* ByThePowerOfGrayskull: He and Mary say Shazam, Freddy says Captain Marvel. Basically, say the name of your benefactor, and off you go. Ibac and Sabbac say, well, Ibac and Sabbac in order to get similar results.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Several versions of the main character have been here and gone by this point. But one of these vanished within the same continuity. After 1987's CrisisCrossover ''Legends'', the post-Crisis version of Captain Marvel was given a new origin in the Creator/RoyThomas penned ''ComicBook/ShazamTheNewBeginning'', which was followed up on in the then-anthology series 'Action Comics Weekly'. Among the highlights were Sivana's character being merged with Billy's Uncle Ebenezer, Captain Nazi being a modern white supremacist, and Fawcett City being replaced by San Francisco. The continuity never caught on, and was disregarded in favor of the later far more popular 'The Power Of Shazam!'.
* TheCape: Captain Marvel obviously, but Mary and Jr. likely qualify too.
* CaptainSuperhero
* CardCarryingVillain: Dr. Sivana. He regularly describes himself as evil ("The World's Wickedest Scientist!"). In one late Golden Age issue (specifically, ''Captain Marvel Adventures'', issue 130, the cover story "Double Doom") he even gets into a fight with King Kull (Sivana wants to enslave the human race but Kull wants to exterminate it), and as Cap drags the both of them to jail they're still arguing over which of them's the most evil.
* ClarkKenting: Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel, Jr/Captain Marvel III. The only difference between his real appearance and his alter ego is that the former is crippled and the latter isn't. Mary did this in her early apperances, but now changes into an adult, like her brother.
** During Jerry Ordway's run, Billy occasionally used his adult form to convince the school he wasn't a minor living alone. No-one noticed that "Uncle Ebenezer" looked like Cap in civvies with a beard. On the other hand, long time Fawcett residents frequently note that Cap looks a bit like the late C.C. Batson.
* CoattailRidingRelative: Uncle Marvel and Freckles Marvel.
* ComicallyInvincibleHero: In the '70's comics, Cap's sheer overpowering advantage over just about everything he fought was a constant source of jokes, with him often standing around yawning while the bad guys took swings at him and getting bored when being shot with death rays.
* DaddysLittleVillain: Two of Sivana's children, daughter Georgia and son Thaddeus Jr. (to give Mary and Freddy, respectively, archenemies of their own). His other two kids, Beautia and Magnificus, turned good.
** Played with when the Sivana Family was brought back in ''52''. Georgia and Thaddeus are both budding evil scientists, but they're mostly just harmless and want to use their dad's inventions to go back in time and warn their younger selves about certain stuff so they won't become socially awkward. They're treated like crap by their mother and older siblings, and the mom is pretty much racist while Beautia and Magnificus are beautiful and vapid morons.
* DeathByOriginStory: Freddy's grandfather was murdered by Captain Nazi in the middle of a battle with Captain Marvel.
* DemonLordsAndArchDevils: Sabbac is powered by six of them: {{Satan}}, Any, Belial, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, and Crateis.
* DependingOnTheWriter: While most of the time Shazam/Cap Marvel is just Billy in another shape, sometimes it is handled more in a {{Split Personality}}/{{Sharing a Body}}-manner. The former is generally the case post-Crisis, while the latter is generally the rule with pre-Crisis and Fawcett Captain Marvel. Convergence Shazam and Multiversity Thunderworld go with the Golden Age approach.
** Jeff Smith's ''Monster Society of Evil" series initially had Billy and Captain Marvel as separate personalities (with them even de-fusing when they visit Shazam at the Rock of Eternity), but as the story goes on their personalities merge and they eventually reach an equilibrium.
* DeterminedExpression: In his first Golden Age battle with Sabbac, Captain Marvel Jr. actually scares one of the demons empowering him into going all ScrewThisImOuttaHere with one. The other five soon follow.
* DumbMuscle: Ibac. Which is weird since his second patron is supposed to give him [[InformedAbility Cunning]]. During the Monster Society storyline Cap even has to remind him how one-sided their previous battles have been.
* DistaffCounterpart: Mary Marvel to Captain Marvel.
* DynamicAkimbo: He does this trope often, for two reasons. One, he's a Franchise/{{Superman}} {{expy}}, so of course he uses one of his most famous stances. And two, the dynamic pose helps contrast him with the younger and more modest Billy Batson.
* EmbarrassingNickname: The Big Red Cheese.
** Meet the fierce and terrible Ibac, a villain empowered by Satan himself with the vices of four of the most evil men who ever lived. His nickname? "Stinky."
* EmbarrassingFirstName & EmbarrassingMiddleName: Thaddeus ''Bodog'' Sivana. No wonder he's evil.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: As bad as they are, even the collective Sivanas of the multiverse are put off by "Lecter" Sivana in Multiversity, a masked, blood-spattered villain who went back in time to kill Billy Batson before he could become Captain Marvel, and who wants to mess up the other Marvels.
* EvilCounterpart: Black Adam. Though Adam's "evilness" tends to vary. A lot. Then there's Ibac, who gains his powers from four brutal historical figures, and Sabbac who takes his abilities from six [[DemonLordsAndArchDevils Demon Lords]].
* EvilCostumeSwitch: When Mary accquires Black Adam's powers, her costume turns black and she gains a new level in moral ambiguity.
** And a much higher hemline!
* EvilLaugh: A lot of Captain Marvel's recurring enemies do this. In some of the older comics he's able to recognize what villain he's currently up against by their distinctive laugh alone.
* {{Expy}}: In ''Webcomic/LoveAndCapes'', Captain Marvel's analogue is Major Might. Mark gets grouchy around him because he thinks he's a "copycat", until the Major's child self reveals that he chose powers like the Crusader's out of admiration. Awww.
* ForTheEvulz: As Merlyn once put it, "Joker and Sivana do it for kicks."
* FlyingBrick: One of the earliest.
** DC later emphasized the Marvel family's magical and lightning associations in an effort to make them more unique.
** As Shazam, the former Captain's powers are almost entirely [[ShockAndAwe lightning-based]], with his physical capabilities (strength and invulnerability) toned way down.
* FollowTheLeader: An obvious wannabe of Superman, debuting not too long after the Man of Steel.
** Which then began to run backwards when Superman himself started copying elements from Captain Marvel, such as a female counterpart and the power of flight. And then DC sued Fawcett for making The Captain too similar.
* FourEyesZeroSoul: Besides his BaldOfEvil, Sivana also sports a pair of coke bottle-ish glasses.
* FunWithAcronyms: There are ''quite a few'' of these, besides just the Marvel Family. Black Adam and Ibac are just two villainous examples who get their powers from saying specific acronyms.
* GenderedOutfit: Mary Marvel's outfit has a skirt, unlike the rest of the Marvel Family.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: When Helen Fidelity [[http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/uvula_fr_b4/3817514/26060/26060_original.jpg first meets Cap]] in Jeff Smith's ''The Monster Society Of Evil'', she glances downward (remember, [[SuperheroesWearTights he's wearing tights]]), then gives him a sly smile.
-->'''Helen:''' I can see why they they call you Captain ''Marvel''.
* GrandfatherClause: The Big Red Cheese is about as old school idealistic a superhero as you can get, but the idea of a child transforming into an adult superhero by a magic lightning bolt summoned by a single magic word ''never'' gets old.
* HenshinHero: Billy has to switch between his normal form and superhero form by using a magic word. In the New 52, Billy must say the word with good intentions or it will not work.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Captain Marvel sometimes used his magical lightning as an attack, but if he is struck by it he reverts to his mortal alter-ego. As such, many fights have ended with him trying to hit an opponent but winds up hitting himself.
* {{Homage}}: The Post-Crisis reboot had several to ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', including Mr. Tawky Tawny being a stuffed tiger brought to life and Billy having a teacher modeled after Mrs. Wormwood.
* HotScientist: Caitlin Russo, who Freddy briefly [[IsThatWhatTheyreCallingItNow roomed]] with.
* HotScoop: The aforementioned news reporter Helen Fidelity, who Billy has a crush on.
* IAmNotShazam: TropeNamer. [[AvertedTrope No longer applies]] to the main universe version of the character. As of the [[{{In-Universe}} DC relaunch]], he's now called Shazam. Captain Marvel still exists out in the multiverse though, as shown in Multiversity: Thunderworld, Convergence, and even a 2016 WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo crossover.
* InTheHood: The New 52 incarnation turns his cape into a full cloak.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Billy in The New 52. He starts out as just a JerkAss, although he shows sign of that "heart of gold" thing pretty early on.
* KickTheDog: Captain Nazi, in the middle of a battle with Captain Marvel, took time off to murder Freddy's grandfather and cripple him. Why? For the heck of it. He later came back and tried to finish Freddy off. Why? Once again, for the heck of it.
** And between these two acts, he took the time to ''telephone Hitler himself'' to boast about how much fun he was having. Even the Fuhrer seemed a little frustrated by his agent's pettiness.
* KnightTemplar: Mary after gaining Black Adam's powers. Black Adam himself a lot of the time.
* LegacyCharacter: The Captain Marvel title is bestowed on a Champion selected by the previous wielder. The Sabbac title has also been passed from Timothy Karnes to Ishamel Gregor, at the latter's insistence (Timothy, needless to say, did not survive the transfer).
** In one version, Billy's successor in TheFuture is a girl named [[MeaningfulName Cecebeck from the planet Binderaan,]] who can transform into the hero Thunder. She joined the ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}.
* LegionOfDoom: The Monster Society of Evil, the UrExample.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: Whenever he's in a comic with Superman.
* LightningCanDoAnything: As long as you say the word.
** Certain Golden Age stories, in defiance of MagicAIsMagicA, also made a point of showing that, if Billy was in danger and unable to speak, any strong electric shock (whether magic or not) could still potentially transform him. When a crazed descendant of Thor once hit Captain Marvel with a reforged {{Mjolnir}}, the blow only changed him back to a kid; despite knowing exactly what had happened, [[WhatAnIdiot the man proceeded to gag Billy and strike him again, hoping that it MIGHT kill him this time]].
* LimitedWardrobe: Unlike most modern comic characters, iterations of Billy usually follow this trope. {{Lampshaded}} in ''Superman/Shazam: First Thunder'', when a still-homeless Billy says that he managed to buy 12 identical shirts for $1.
** PlayedForLaughs in ''Superman/Shazam: The Return Of Black Adam,'' when Billy pauses to pick between multiple identical outfits hanging in his closet. He has a Franchise/{{Superman}} shirt that he wears to bed, though.
* LongerThanLifeSentence: {{Subverted}}. Captain Marvel, Jr. had a foe called Greybeard. As a young man, he was sentenced to 99 years in prison, to which he sarcastically told the judge how considerate he was to not make it a life sentence. However, he served out his entire sentence and, once free, began a crime spree based on the theme of old age.
* MadScientist: Sivana and his family.
* ManChild: Captain Marvel often comes across this way, but for a different reason--he's a young boy ([[ComicBookTime or sometimes teenager]]) named Billy who can [[HenshinHero transform]] into an adult superhero. Early on the two forms had [[SuperpoweredAlterEgo different personalities]], but most modern interpretations make them the same person, acting like a CheerfulChild in both forms (though Marvel gets a bit of maturity from having the Wisdom of Solomon as one of his powers).
* MarsWantsChocolate: One 1970s story featured aliens who invaded Earth to get their hands on chocolate and candy.
* MinidressOfPower: Mary.
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: The extremely vague attribute of "wisdom" is often used this way, variously defined as granting, among other things, super-intelligence, mastery of all known languages (written ''and'' spoken), and even mild hypnotic powers.
** "Power" was even more vague before he started fighting enemies with powers of their own on a regular basis, and some clarification was required. One Bronze Age comic claimed it acted as an add-on to his other powers; he was as wise as Solomon ''and'' Zeus, he was as strong as Hercules ''and'' Zeus, and so on.
*** In [[http://www.theworldsmightiestmortal.com/2016/12/a-showcase-of-captain-marvels-powers.html one Golden Age story]], it was explicitly said what the Power of Zeus did: it made him invulnerable. The Courage of Achilles (which is what his invulnerability is attributed to in more modern stories) instead gave him Achilles' ''fighting skills'' as well as literally making him fearless. So the "Power" confusion is not so much New Powers As The Plot Demands but New Powers Because The Writers Forgot What His Old Powers Were.
* NonStandardCharacterDesign: Characters designed by C.C. Beck (and Pete Constanza, working in Beck's style) generally tended to be much more cartoonish and simplified in appearance then those from Mac Raboy, Jack Binder, and other artists; until the final issues of the 70's ''Shazam'' title, however, they were almost always drawn "on-model", particularly Billy with his classic BlackBeadEyes. The trend is most noticeable in [[http://cdn.coollinesartwork.com/Images/Category_2/subcat_43177/ShazamGoldenBookPgs67.jpg the finely detailed work of Kurt Schaffenberger]], where Billy often looks bizarre and inhuman next to the realistic Freddy and Mary.
* OlderAlterEgo: Captain Marvel to Billy, and, in some versions, Mary Marvel to, well, Mary. Averted with Captain Marvel Jr/[=CM3=] who looks exactly the same age in and out of uniform.
* OutOfFocus: In scope of the larger [[Franchise/TheDCU DC Universe]]. In the New 52, he got an origin story, and then was immediately demoted to a background character, with his own supporting cast disappearing entirely. Equivalents of Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel don't even exist yet (except as unpowered kids), and it doesn't look like they ever will at this rate.
* PimpedOutCape: Captain Marvel's cape is different than most considering it's fairly short and looks best when it's slung over a shoulder with his arms akimbo.
* PlayingWithFire: Sabbac gains flames from one of his sponsors.
* PunnyName: Helen Fidelity (from ''The Monster Society of Evil'' and ''ComicBook/BillyBatsonAndTheMagicOfShazam'').
* RunTheGauntlet: One of the earliest in comic books, from the Golden Age even, featured Mister Mind gathering over twenty villains, some not even Captain Marvel enemies, another first, and took about two years of comics before the Monster Society was put away.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Sivana.
* SealedCastInAMultipack: Captain Marvel and all his supporting cast, including villains, were put in suspended animation for 20 years thanks to one of [[MadScientist Dr. Sivana]]'s experiments GoneHorriblyWrong. (This was how [[Creator/DCComics DC]] explained the characters' twenty-year absence from publication.)
* SevenDeadlySins: In the original comic, Shazam had the Seven Deadly Enemies Of Man trapped in stone from inside the Rock Of Eternity ([[{{Bowdlerise}} changing]] some of the sins in the process: Anger, Sloth, Gluttony, and Lust were replaced with Hatred, Laziness, Selfishness, and Injustice). Modern day stories seem to switch between the classic Enemies Of Man, and the typical Deadly Sins DependingOnTheWriter.
* ShoutOut: In one issue of ''The Power of Shazam'', Captain Marvel is shown strange alternate versions of himself that might exist if history changed. These include: Captain Thunder (DC's former CaptainErsatz Marvel), a Captain whose limbs and head detach from his body (M.F. Enterprises' Captain Marvel), a Billy Batson who transforms into Captain Marvel by striking a pair of wristbands together (Creator/MarvelComics' Rick Jones and ComicBook/CaptainMarVell), and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
* SuddenNameChange:
** Billy Batson's deceased parents were originally referred to as "Merrill" and "Jocelyn" in the Pre-Crisis days, but modern origins have his father named "Clarence Charles "C.C." Batson" (after Captain Marvel's creator, C.C. Beck) and his mother named "Marilyn".
** Kid Eternity originally had NoNameGiven, and was only ever referred to as "Kid." Eventually, some CanonWelding with ''Shazam'' made him Freddy's brother, Christopher "Kit" Freeman.
* SuperheroSpeciation: The obvious redundancy with Franchise/{{Superman}} has finally been worked out in modern times with Supes valuing an ally whose similar, but magic and gods based, powers makes him very welcome company against supernatural foes while Cap enjoys him as a mentor.
** The ''Shazam: Monster Society of Evil'' and ''[[ComicBook/BillyBatsonAndTheMagicOfShazam Magic of Shazam]]'' continuity tries to do this within the family: going with the older idea that Mary's powers are derived from different (female) figures than Billy's, they work a bit differently, such as Mary being faster but Billy being stronger, and Mary able to detect life signs in the surrounding area.
* SuperheroesWearCapes: Until the New 52 reboot, where he wears a hooded cloak instead of a cape.
* SuperFamilyTeam: With Mary and Freddy at the very least. Uncle Marvel and the three Lieutenants Marvel are also sometimes included.
* SuperPowerLottery: A major winner.
* SuperSoldier: Captain Nazi is an evil version, and Captain Marvel Jr's arch-nemesis. He's super-strong and bulletproof (and absolutely loyal to the Third Reich), but he's no match for Junior.
* SuperWeight: Cap, Mary, Junior and Black Adam are all about a 5 on this scale. The Marvel Family generally exercise extreme caution and restraint in their power, holding back unless they know they're up against someone they can cut loose on. Black Adam has shown what can happen when that power isn't restrained, wherein he went on a global rampage that left an entire country destroyed and required every then-able superhero on the planet to stop. Sometimes it's important to remind people that everyone wielding the Power of Shazam is powered by no less than six godlike beings, reinforced by the magical power of a wizard older than human civilization.
* SwissArmySuperpower: In the ComicBook/PostCrisis stories, Billy has learned that the lightning bolt he uses to change [[LightningCanDoAnything can have other uses]]. For instance, it can break spells imposed on the Marvels in their human form, and can power up equipment if it's [[TimTaylorTechnology hardy enough to absorb so much energy suddenly]]. It's a powerful attack if they say their magic word close to an enemy and dodge the resulting bolt, causing it to hit their opponent instead (as seen in ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and {{homage}}d in both ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' where Marvel lost because he failed to dodge it and ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'' as a [[FinishingMove heroic brutality]] and a grab move). It can even be used as a MagicalDefibrillator, providing there are two Marvels, one to call down the lightning, and one to absorb it safely; otherwise this works [[OhCrap the same as the attack]]. That, or have [[NighInvulnerable a physiology that can stand up to the power]] of the lightning (which is how [[spoiler:Black Adam saved Atom Smasher, whose body [[HealingFactor regrows itself]] when he changes height and so could deal with the power]]).
* TeensAreMonsters: Georgia Sivana and Thaddeus Sivana Jr. are their dad's henchmen in most stories.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Captain Nazi, his MadScientist brother, and his equally evil niece.
* UngratefulBastard: Freddy and his grandfather saved Captain Nazi from drowning. He promptly [[TheFarmerAndTheViper killed the latter and crippled the former]]. Why? As he puts it, "Might as well ask, 'Why is the sky blue?'"
* UrExample: Many other franchises have admitted to being influenced (or outright cribbing) elements from this series, from the Filmation He-Man cartoon (the same studio did an AnimatedAdaptation of the comic right before He-Man) to some of the heroic Magical Girls..
* WearingAFlagOnYourHead: [[BadassGrandpa Minuteman]] wears the stripes on his shirt, and the stars on both sleeves. Captain Nazi has the swastika on his chest in most appearances.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Him and Stargirl, again. They nearly kiss in the most-recent JSA/Marvel story, but it's broken up, and she goes back to crushing on Atom Smasher shortly. Even during the courtship, difficulties arose because unless you knew the Cap's secret, it looked very much like Cap (an ostensibly 25 to 35 year old man ) was making moves on a teenaged girl.
* AWizardDidIt: Literally.
* WorldDomination: Sivana wants to be a JustForFun/TimeLord.
Oh, and by the way, [++'''[[IAmNotShazam HE WAS NOT SHAZAM.]]'''++]

...but he is now.

...except [[{{ComicBook/Convergence}} when he isn't.]]