With the first ever Shazam! movie getting ever closer, it might seem like the hero has appeared from nowhere. And sure, he definitely isn’t as recognizable as some of DC’s more iconic characters like Wonder Woman and Superman, but he has been a part of comics for over half a decade, and part of DC’s roster for half of that.
So, that might be why Shazam also feels strangely familiar, even if you aren’t sure exactly where you recognize him from. To prepare you for the man who might become your brand new fave, here are seven times you saw Billy Batson’s alter ego and probably didn’t even notice he was there!
Mortal Kombat VS. DC Universe
This 2008 game brought two outrageous worlds to life, colliding the brutality of Mortal Kombat with the technicolor superheroes of the DC Universe. Given its stacked roster, you may have never played as William Batson a.k.a. Shazam, whose powers made him one of the stronger fighters in the game. Guess that’s what happens when you get the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury!
Crisis on Infinite Earths
As the title suggests, DC Comics’ line-wide event in 1985 focused on the destruction of multiple alternate universes that existed in the comics continuity, essentially leaving the publisher with one coherent continuity. One of the universes that we were introduced to was Earth-S, the home of the Shazam family, led by Billy Batson (who at this time was still known as Captain Marvel).
Justice League New 52
If you were a fan of DC Comics during the controversial New 52 relaunch, you were there for a new iteration of the Justice League that, after 14 issues, saw Billy Batson join as Shazam. This would later spin-out into his own book, which is a large basis for the new Shazam movie.
Justice League: War
Based on Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, this animated movie saw the heroes facing down an intergalactic threat from Darkseid. This formation of the iconic team included Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Cyborg, and of course Shazam!
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
The sequel to Justice League: War is the endlessly fun Throne of Atlantis, which sees the Justice League go up against a threat from the ocean as Prince Orm attempts to take his vengeance on humanity and the Justice League for the death of his father. If you enjoyed Aquaman but would liked to have seen a lot more heroes involved in the epic underwater war, then this is the movie for you… and of course it stars Shazam in a key role.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
An aged version of Shazam appears in the classic Frank Miller, Lynn Varley, and Klaus Jansen comic. If you’ve read this controversial sequel to Miller’s iconic The Dark Knight Returns, you may remember the character who has to face down Lex Luthor after he kidnaps Mary Marvel—one of Shazam’s original sidekicks. It’s a completely different look and feel for the cutesy kids’ hero, and probably the furthest away from his upcoming adaptation.
Superman: The Animated Series
This nod is a lot harder to spot, but if enjoy an Easter egg, then make sure you watch very carefully and you might be able to catch young Billy Batson in his classic Red and Gold in the background of the classic Superman: The Animated Series episode “Obsession.”
Images: Warner Bros, DC Animation