Marvel Family

The Marvel Family

The cover of The Marvel Family #1, featuring (left to right) Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and the Wizard Shazam. Art by C. C. Beck
Publication information
Publisher Fawcett Comics (1942-1953)
DC Comics (1972-present)
First appearance Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (1942, first joint-appearance of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr.)
Created by Otto Binder, Ed Herron, C. C. Beck, Mac Raboy, Marc Swayze
In-story information
Base(s) Fawcett City
Rock of Eternity
Member(s) Shazam (Captain Marvel)
Mary (Mary Marvel)
Freddy (Captain Marvel Jr.)
Uncle Marvel
The Lieutenant Marvels

The Marvel Family, also known as The Shazam Family, are a group of superheroes who originally appeared in books published by Fawcett Comics, and were later acquired by DC Comics. Created in 1942 by writers Otto Binder and Ed Herron, and Fawcett artists C. C. Beck, Mac Raboy, and Marc Swayze, the team is an extension of Fawcett's Captain Marvel franchise, and includes Marvel's sister Mary Marvel, their friend Captain Marvel Jr., and, at various times, a number of other characters as well.

Because Marvel Comics trademarked their own Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the demise of the Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel comics in 1953 and DC's revival in 1972, DC Comics is today unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties under those names. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! for their comic book titles with the Marvel Family characters, and the name under which they market and promote the characters. When referring to the Marvel Family on comic book covers or various merchandise, they are by this legal necessity called the "Shazam Family". In 2012, DC officially changed Captain Marvel's name to Shazam, making Shazam Family the name of the superhero's associates.

Publication history

The Marvel Family was established in 1942 after the introductions of Captain Marvel's partners, the Lieutenant Marvels (Whiz Comics #21, September 1941), Captain Marvel Jr. (Whiz Comics #25, December 1941) and Mary Marvel (Captain Marvel Adventures #18, December 1942). With Junior and Mary's additions to his adventures, Captain Marvel became the first superhero to have a team of sidekicks who share his powers, abilities, and appearance; a concept later adapted for heroes such as Superman and Aquaman, among others.

The members of the Marvel Family appeared both separately and together in many of Fawcett's comic book series, including Whiz Comics, Wow Comics, Master Comics, Captain Marvel Adventures, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, and The Marvel Family. By the late 1940s, Marvel Family comics were among the most popular in the industry, and the Marvel Family had expanded to include both non-superpowered characters (Uncle Marvel and Freckles Marvel) and even funny animals (Hoppy the Marvel Bunny). By 1953, all of these books had ceased publication, due to Superman publisher DC Comics' lawsuit against Fawcett.

In 1972, DC licensed the rights to the Marvel Family characters, and began publishing them in a comic series titled Shazam!. Fawcett sold DC the rights to the characters in 1980, by which time Shazam! had been cancelled, and the Marvels had been relegated the back-up feature of World's Finest Comics, and, later, Adventure Comics. DC retconned Captain Marvel in 1986 with their Legends miniseries, establishing him as a solo hero without a team. Writer/artist Jerry Ordway resurrected the Marvel Family in 1995 with his Power of Shazam! series, establishing the team as being made up solely of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. Following several attempts at relaunching the Shazam! franchise during the mid-2000s, the Marvel Family was temporarily dissolved by writers Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway in Justice Society of America (third series) #25, with only Captain Marvel Jr., now known as Shazam, retaining his powers, but from another source. In the interim, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel continued to appear in Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!, an all-ages comic book series published under DC's youth-oriented Johnny DC line which ran from 2008 to 2010. Captain Marvel Jr. joined the pair towards the end of the run of Magic of Shazam!, following a brief period serving as the sidekick of the Marvels' enemy under the name Black Adam Jr.

The Shazam Family was reintroduced during DC Comics' continuity-altering Flashpoint miniseries in 2011, as six kids who all spoke "Shazam!" in unison to become one superhero, Captain Thunder. In the later company-wide "New 52" reboot that followed Flashpoint, the Captain Marvel character was renamed "Shazam" and starred in a backup segment of the Justice League series (second volume) from 2012 to 2013. These backups, by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, introduced Billy Batson/Shazam and his new Shazam Family, consisting of Billy and his five foster siblings, with whom he can share his powers.

Marvel/Shazam Family members

Primary members

Black Adam confronts the newly created Shazam Family (l to r: Eugene Choi, Darla Dudley, Pedro Peña, Mary Bromfield, and Freddy Freeman), as seen in Justice League (vol. 2) #21 (August 2013). Art by Gary Frank.

Past members

Other members

These members of the Marvel Family appear in stories set in the future.

Black Marvel Family members

Black Marvel Family

Isis, Black Adam, and Osiris, from Countdown #41 (July 18, 2007). Art by Dan Jurgens.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance 52 #23 (October 11, 2006, first joint-appearance of Black Adam, Isis, and Osiris)
Created by Otto Binder, C. C. Beck, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison
In-story information
Base(s) Royal Palace, Kahndaq
Member(s) Black Adam

The Black Marvel Family, a variant of the Marvel Family concept with Captain Marvel's former archvillain Black Adam as the central focus, was introduced in the pages of the weekly DC comic book 52.

Marvel Family allies

The cover of Whiz Comics #59, featuring most of the Golden Age Marvel Family and supporting cast.

Other versions

New Earth 5 from 52 Week 52, art breakdowns by Keith Giffen.

In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-5". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-S, including the Marvel Family characters. The names of the characters are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but characters visually similar to the Marvel Family appear. There is also an alternative version of Green Lantern Hal Jordan that also exist on Earth-5 along the Marvel Family.[4]

Based on comments by DC writer Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-S.[5]

In other media



See also


  1. Justice League of America #23.4: Black Adam (2013)
  2. Justice League of America #23.4: Black Adam (2013)
  3. Power of Shazam! #11 (1996)
  4. 52 52: 12/5 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  5. Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "THE 52 EXIT INTERVIEWS: GRANT MORRISON". Newsarama. Archived from the original on May 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
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