TreasuryCast #5 – Shazam: Power of Hope

TREASURYCAST #5 – Shazam: Power of Hope

Dr. Anj makes a house call to TREASURYCAST to discuss with Rob SHAZAM: POWER OF HOPE, one of the all-new painted treasury editions by Paul Dini and Alex Ross!

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13 responses to “TreasuryCast #5 – Shazam: Power of Hope

  1. Commenting once again on company time!

    Damn the man!

    Anyway the Dini/Ross collaborations were all extraordinary. I have minor quibbles with some of Ross’ art (not a big fan of his Superman) but you can’t beat his Captain Marvel work. I was born a little too late to experience Captain Marvel in live action but I remember watching the cartoon when I was younger and getting into his post Crisis adventures after becoming an addict…I mean in my early days of collecting comics. I’ve always liked his look and the gestalt behind him. I won’t go into how much I loved the Ordway series because it’s not that kind of party but between Ordway and Roy Thomas I became a fan of the Captain and his world.

    This story hit me right in the feels when it first came out and it did again hearing Rob and Anj talk about it. I had forgotten about the Azzarello thing at the end and I have to assume that Azzarello had a visit from three ghosts before making that suggestion and then assumed that doing so squared him with his dead partner he went right back to thinking that Lex Luthor is the hero of the story. It’s not only a heart warming ending it’s appropriate for the story. Like Rob I great enjoyed Marvel confronting the abusive father and commend Dini on not making it a simple, “Marvel beats him up and everything’s okay” story point. Abuse of any form is a complicated thing and while most of would love nothing more than to pound the living crap out of anyone that abuses children, women and animals often the situation is more nuanced than that and I appreciated Dini not going down the black and white road.

    I look forward to you covering the other volumes in this line. The only one I don’t have is the Wonder Woman one and I need to get on that at some point. The Superman one is my favorite, which shocks absolutely no one but the Shazam one comes in second by a safety.

  2. Another fine episode, Rob (and Anj). I almost feel like I’ve read this one, as it was similarly quite lovingly reviewed a few years ago at the now (sadly) defunct Bronze Age Babies blog (here’s the link: http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.hr/2013/12/shazam-power-of-hope-part-one.html).
    The story certainly does sound good, but I’m not in a hurry to read it, because I really don’t like Ross’ art. It just doesn’t work for me; I find it looks too much like photographs or motion picture stills, so that any story with his art reminds of a photonovel. It’s too bad, because the story really does seem like it’s a winner, but I can’t help thinking it would have been better if the art had been by someone like, say, Garcia Lopez, or even someone with a more cartoony style, like Bruce Timm or Rick Burchett (to approximate the look of C.C. Beck’s art).

  3. The wife looked over my shoulder as I was viewing the scans of this story*. Her response to Alex Ross’ art: “That’s too realistic and weird-looking. Kind of freaking me out.” To each her own, I guess.

    * Viewing the scans but I do have this story, along with all the other Dini/Ross books in the slipcase hardcover that’s roughly the size of an Absolute edition but isn’t technically part of that series.

  4. Canny show, lads. I’m not a fan of these collaborations. Alex Ross’ art I generally find more impressive than attractive, too often his characters look constipated, and his Cap here looks a little sinister at times. More problematic is the presentation, it draws attention to the artificiality of proceedings; give me cartooning and word balloons and I become immersed in the experience, but team artwork using posed models with a faffy font and the whole thing becomes rather lifeless. I don’t consider Power of Hope and its companions Treasury Editions so much as big storybooks

    And while there’s a certain afternoon TV movie appeal in Dini’s sentimental script if I’m in the right mood, from a Captain Marvel story I want a wild, whimsical ride. I really don’t like that Cap gives the abusive father another chance – he knows the kid is being hurt and lets him off with a warning? I wouldn’t trust him not to take out his humiliation on his son. I don’t advocate beating the dad up, but if not prosecuted he should certainly be marched off to anger management classes.

    As big Shazam comics go, I’ll stick with Limited Collectors Edition #C21 (snappy!), not only the first treasury I ever came across, but my first contact with the Marvel Family. Heck, it even taught me the word ‘diorama’.

  5. In the early adventures, Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were two separate beings that switched places when the word “Shazam” was spoken. I presume one was at the Rock of Eternity while the other was on Earth. I believe the concept of Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel in body but with the mind and personality of Billy Batson first started with the “Legends” series (though I may be wrong). I did like how Jerry Ordway used this concept to good effect in his “Power of Shazam” series.

    A few of the later stories did revisit the concept of Billy and Cap as separate beings. One was the brilliant “Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil” mini-series by Jeff Smith. Another was the hilarious final issue of Kyle Baker’s “Plastic Man” run.

    I too like the idea of comic book heroes as exemplars as well, Rob. This was mostly why my decline of enjoyment in DC Comics began shortly before Identity Crisis, when the concept of a hero’s appearance shifted from evoking a response of, “All right!” to one of, “Uh, oh!”

  6. Great episode gents. I love these treasuries, and I always got the feeling that their storybook nature, and the focus on children in most of them was meant to appeal directly to young kids, and the general, non comic-reading public.

    I am a big fan of Ross’ work, and in fact, at one time he was my favorite working artist. I get some of the criticisms here and there, but I have never gotten the “stiff” critique. The storytelling in these pages shows that Ross was very capable of capturing fluid motion and actually conveying the story without narration.

    One of Dini’s first writing gigs was on the Filmation Shazam! cartoons Mr. Bailey mentioned above. So he’s no stranger to the big red cheese. I too remember being surprised to find the kid the wizard spoke of was Billy. The red herring of the abused boy really does work in the story.

    I know the discussion of the exact relationship between Billy and Captain Marvel came up in the Christmas treasury edition we covered as well Rob. I’m not sure the Golden Age creators had that quite worked out. Some stories seem to point toward Billy as an adult (such as whenever Beautia Sivana would come onto Cap and he’d get flustered) while others do seem to have them as separate entities.

    I think it’s sad that comic book super heroes are seen as anything BUT exemplars nowadays. In my opinion, the adults-only versions should be the rare exception, not the norm. And certainly Captain Marvel has no business being “grittied up”. I know DC tried an all-ages title with the Captain, but perhaps if they stuck with a more traditional art style, or actually developed an animated series with Cap, that would help boost the character, and give kids a standard super hero comic they could read again.

    Chris

  7. Rob, thanks for running the promo for Comic Reflections on this episode. I’m really loving this show a lot, keep up the great work. I’m really looking forward to the digest cast as well, as I have a special fondness for that format. Just as a heads up, Comic Reflections have plans to cover the two Legion of Super-Heroes treasuries. Knowing that you’re a non-Legion fan, i’m sure we won’t see those issues covered on treasury-cast anytime soon…

  8. I didn’t like any of the Dini/Ross books except the JLA ones. I thought the solo books were boring, self-important, and kinda dumb. Another example of man-child creators placing children’s power fantasies into the exact wrong context to miserable result. For a guy who claims to love Captain Marvel, it never seems like Alex Ross ever tells proper Shazam fantasy romps, just Bronze Age Superman stories with Billy Batson replacing Clark Kent. And don’t get me started on Justice, a.k.a. grimdark Super Friends, a.k.a. basically everything wrong with the fanboy mentality. Finally, Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were two different people until DC bought them, and is just another of the many things they screwed up after reviving the property.

  9. So there’s a chance you might do Monster Society of Evil…?

    This episode is a perfect example of why I listen to this show: The love just pours out.

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