When you first start collecting Lili Ledy WGSH figures, you might chance upon some brow-beaten dudes who someone called Superman. And to be fair, it’s not much more than a curl in front and a hairbrush style on top that separates Shazam’s head sculpt from Superman’s in LedyLand.
But Shazam’s name troubles run much deeper than this. Their origins are from within the comics from whence he came.
S The wisdom of Solomon;
H The strength of Hercules;
A The stamina of Atlas;
Z The power of Zeus;
A The courage of Achilles;
M The speed of Mercury.
Like Frankenstein’s monster, Shazam is often called by the wrong name. The wizard called upon to give Billy Batson (Memo Batson in Mexico) his amazing powers is named Shazam. The hero that we casually call Shazam is actually Captain Marvel. Shakespeare wondered what was so special about a name when Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet were kept apart because of their warring families. So, what’s in a name?
Well, Captain Marvel was the most popular comic of the 1940s, even surpassing Superman in sales. In the 1950s, Fawcett Comics ceased production of all Captain Marvel publications due in part to a copyright infringement from DC Comics which alleged that Captain Marvel was an infringement on Superman. In the 1970s, DC Comics licensed Captain Marvel and returned him to publication, but the name had already been taken. During all of this, Marvel Comics had already trademarked the name Captain Marvel for one of their own characters. So, what to do? DC used the name Shazam instead. Whew, confused yet? There’s more.
Which nickname best suits Shazam, err Captain Marvel? Ask fans of the character and he’s known as “The Big Red Cheese.” This was first coined by arch-nemesis Dr. Sivana in the 1940s. And what a great nickname for a Superhero! With his boy scout sensibilities and hoop cheese outfit, the name really fits. But if you ask the publishers, he’s boldly known as “The World’s Mightiest Mortal.”
Are you getting a sense of Shazam/Captain Marvel’s importance now? He’s an enduring character with legions of fans. With only 18, possibly 19, characters released for the Lili Ledy Super Heroes line, Shazam made the cut. Not only was he included, but apparently Mexican kids made him popular enough to see 3 different outfit changes. Each outfit is a little different from the last. There’s a lot to be said for continuity, so each outfit will have its own new name.