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The Best Shazam! Stories to Buy After the Movie

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As Shazam! continues to dominate the global box office, continuing the DC Extended Universe's winning streak with critics and audiences alike, the Earth's Mightiest Mortal is more popular than he has been in decades. Now introduced to a wide audience and an entirely new generation of fans, the superhero has a vast library of comic book stories available to revisit or read for the first time.

Since Billy Batson, his family and their superhero alter-egos have appeared in so many stories, CBR has picked out some of the best starting points from the long history of the character. From his origins as the top-selling Fawcett Comics hero Captain Marvel to his adventures currently helping protect the DC Universe as Shazam!, these stories are the perfect jumping on-point for audiences looking to immerse themselves in the continuing adventures of the Big Red Cheese.

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Shazam!: Origins

Gary Frank Shazam

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The comic book story with the clearest influence on director David F. Sandberg's film is also one of the most recent. Near the start of DC's New 52 reboot, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank offered a new take on the post-Flashpoint origins of Billy Batson in the DCU through back-up stories running through issues of Justice League.

In this new continuity, the superhero was officially renamed Shazam, and he found his adventures moved from Fawcett City to Philadelphia. Additionally, Johns and Frank created an expanded new incarnation of the former Marvel Family, now dubbed the Shazam Family, featuring Billy's new adopted siblings like Darle, Eugene and Pedro, alongside long-time supporting characters Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield.

Collected as Shazam!: Origins, this reimagining collects all the back-up stories in a single volume as teenage orphan Billy is adopted by a new foster family, now saddled with five foster siblings. After gaining his powers from the Wizard Shazam, Billy discovers the meaning of responsibility and family as he faced the wizard's original champion, Black Adam, resurfacing in Philadelphia to hunt down the new hero.

The Power of Shazam!

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Following Marv Wolfman and George Perez's landmark comic book crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, Billy Batson and his supporting cast were recreated in DC's main universe after spending the last several years in an alternate dimension. Jerry Ordway was tasked with writing illustrating a graphic novel in 1994 relaunching the character once again.

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Titled Power of Shazam!, the graphic novel rebooted the character's origin to tie Black Adam closer to Billy by making him the murderer of the boy's parents, which turned him into a much more personal antagonist. Similarly, Mary Marvel's role was increased in the origin, while Doctor Sivana was tied to the story as well. Featuring gorgeous painted artwork by Ordway, the acclaimed graphic novel would spawned the ongoing Power of Shazam! series, which ran for four years and remains a definitive modern take on the hero.

Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil

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One of the most acclaimed Shazam stories ever told is 2007's Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil. Written and illustrated by Bone creator Jeff Smith, the story was originally published as a four-issue, prestige-format miniseries retelling Billy Batson's origins as the wizard's champion in a timeless adventure completely accessible to new readers while providing plenty of winks to longtime fans of the character.

While Billy is still growing accustomed to his superhero alter ego, he quickly finds himself drawn in a plot by Doctor Sivana and his titular ensemble of monsters and, to top it all off, an alien invasion threatening the entire planet. This story is kid-friendly without coming off as pandering and offers a fresh yet faithfully iconic take on one of Shazam's most famous classic tales, The Monster Society of Evil is one of the most beloved stories in the entire history of the character.

Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder

Superman Shazam First Thunder Joshua Middleton

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Written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Joshua Middleton, Superman/Shazam!: First Thunder reveals the first encounter between the titular superheroes in post-Zero Hour continuity. As the Man of Steel investigates the theft of magical artifacts from the Metropolis Natural History Museum, the Earth's Mightiest Mortal faces giant robots leaving a path of destruction in Fawcett City, which leads to an eventual team-up between the two.

RELATED: Shazam! Producer Explains How the Film's Big Cameo Was Intended to Go Down

This is both a strong Superman and Shazam story from a time when the latter character was still named Captain Marvel and Fawcett City was still his hometown. In addition to pairing these two admittedly similar heroes up, the creative team weaves in plenty of each hero's supporting cast including Lex Luthor and Doctor Sivana. The deluxe edition collects the entire 2005 four-issue miniseries as well as character sketches by Middleton.

Shazam!: A Celebration of 75 Years

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For purists looking to revisit Shazam's roots, DC released an anniversary compilation tracing Billy Batson's origins in 1939 with almost 400 pages of classic tales from over seven decades of the character's best-selling history in Shazam!: A Celebration of 75 Years.

In classic stories from original creators Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, the anniversary collection contains not just the first adventures of Billy Batson and his transformation into Captain Marvel but also the extended Marvel Family and villains Doctor Sivana, Black Adam, and Mister Mind. This alone makes it a must-have for Golden Age comic book fans.

Beyond that, this volume also contains several of Shazam's DC appearances, from the publisher's early efforts to bring the hero into its world to excerpts from some of the other stories mentioned here, this collection represents every era of the character's history.

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