Billy Batson is a
youth who works as a radio news reporter and was chosen to be a champion
of good by the wizard Shazam. Whenever Billy speaks the wizard's name,
he is instantly struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into
an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six mythical figures.
Several friends and family members, most notably Marvel Family cohorts
Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr., can share Billy's power and become
Based on sales, Captain
Marvel was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, as his Captain Marvel
Adventures comic book series sold more copies than Superman
and other competing superhero books during the mid-1940s. Because Marvel
Comics trademarked their Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between
the original Captain Marvel's Fawcett years and DC years, DC Comics is
unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties
under that name. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam!
as the title of their comic books and thus the name under which they market
and promote the character. Consequently, Captain Marvel himself is sometimes
erroneously referred to as Shazam.