With Shazam!'s new trailer, Warner Bros. just shut down any debate over the lead character's proper name. Set to Eminem's "My Name Is..." and containing a major name-oriented joke, the long-awaited trailer feels designed to stamp out any insistence that Billy Batson is the "true" Captain Marvel.
Since his inception, Shazam -- who once went by Captain Marvel -- has had a rather tumultuous existence. After Fawcett Comics debuted him as their flagship character in 1939, Superman, Inc and Detective Comics claimed Captain Marvel was so similar to the Man of Steel that it infringed his copyright. As a result, Fawcett Comics ceased publication of its comic book line after some back-and-forth in the courts, with the last issue of Captain Marvel Adventures bowing in 1953.
Enter Mar-Vell. With the Captain Marvel trademark abandoned, Marvel Comics seized the opportunity to create their own character with that name in 1967. DC Comics fought back by working out a deal with Fawcett to license its superhero characters for a new line of comic books starring Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family. However, because of copyright, DC couldn't use the name "Captain Marvel" on the cover, forcing the publication to choose a different title: Shazam!
To keep a grip on the Captain Marvel title, Marvel ran several series under it with the Kree hero Mar-Vell as well as Monica Rambeau, Genis-Vell and finally Carol Danvers. This prevented DC from using the name on their Captain Marvel titles as well as on his action figures and other merchandise. So, in 2012, DC used the line-wide New 52 reboot to retool the character's origin so that he was now always known as Shazam -- a change that endures to this day.
Perhaps coincidentally, Shazam! will hit theaters about a month after Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel, which stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. As Captain Marvel's release date rapidly approaches, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film has come under fire from trolls and detractors who have launched review bomb campaigns and attempted to stir up controversy over Larson's recent diversity comments (and otherwise). A handful of feverish Shazam! fans have followed suit by claiming Billy is the "real" Captain Marvel; this is a particularly pervasive tactic used to berate the film on social media, especially Twitter.
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