Friday, November 21, 2008

"Captain Marvel" Going Through Some Big Changes...

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Warner Bros. has acquired the John August-scripted "Captain Marvel", project adapting the DC Comics' superhero character with Peter "Get Smart" Segal directing and Michael Uslan producing.

Segal began working on the project in 2006 for New Line, before the property reverted to Warner Bros.

"There've been several incarnations," Segal said about the studio's upcoming take on the character.

"...a new incarnation about how Billy has to win the approval of the individual gods before he can gain their powers...a completely different take from the original...y
ou have to please the original fans, but also make it survive on its own for people who might not be familiar with the series. So we try to do both, and that's constantly the balancing have to love the source material, you have to embrace it..."

Created in 1940 by artist CC Beck and writer Bill Parker for comic publishers Fawcett Publications, premise of "Captain Marvel" focused on homeless newspaper seller 'Billy Batson', confronted by a stranger who leads him through the New York subway system into the underground lair of the wizard 'Shazam'.

The wizard reveals Billy has been chosen to be 'the world's mightest mortal', commanding the boy to say his name 'SHAZAM': 'S' for Solomon (wisdom), 'H' for Hercules (strength), 'A' for Atlas (stamina), 'Z' for Zeus (invulnerability), 'A' for Achilles (courage) and 'M' for Mercury (the ability to fly).

Saying the name, Billy is struck by a clap of lightning and transformed into a 6' 4", 250 lb superhero. Saying the name again reversed him back into Billy Batson.

Billy confided in his sister 'Mary Batson' who becomes 'Mary Marvel', a disabled friend 'Freddie Freeman' became 'Captain Marvel Jr.' and Billy's three cousins simultaneously changed into 'Lieutenant Marvels'.

Throughout the 1940's, "Captain Marvel" was a whimsically illustrated comic book fantasy as well as a 12-part theatrical feature film serial, starring stunt man/western film actor Tom Tyler.

The comic book itself began outselling industry leader "Superman", published by National Periodicals (DC). DC reacted by suing Fawcett for plagiarism, stating similiarities between the two superhuman characters. After years of expensive litigation, a bankrupt Fawcett went into receivership and DC was ultimately awarded the Captain Marvel catalogue, reviving the character in the early 1970s.

Because of a similarity in names to rival comics giant 'Marvel', the character's adventures were published under the "SHAZAM" title.

DC eventually introduced the entire Fawcett line of characters into their 1980's comic book mini-series "Crisis on Infinite Earths", fully integrating 'Captain Marvel' into the DC comic book Universe ...