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Shazam! Family Archives: Volume 1 (Archive Editions) Hardcover – September 27, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Captain Marvel emerged as the most successful imitation of Superman in the early 1940s, it didn't take long for his publisher to expand the franchise. Whenever crippled newsboy Freddy Freeman speaks Captain Marvel's name--shazam!--he's Captain Marvel Jr. While the Captain Marvel stories pursued whimsy, his protege's unfurled in a grimmer world in which he confronted bloodthirsty Nazis and sinister ghouls. Whereas the captain was drawn cartoonishly to complement his underlying humor, junior was handled by Raboy, one of early comic books' most accomplished illustrators, whose graceful yet powerful figures and dramatic lighting set his work apart from the crude drawings that were standard for the era (he left comic books a few years after these stories appeared to succeed master illustrator Alex Raymond on the handsome Flash Gordon newspaper strip). This volume also includes the first appearance of yet another member of the Marvel family, distaff variant Mary Marvel. If junior's stories lack the innocent charm of senior's, they're nevertheless above-average examples of comics' golden age. Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Series: Archive Editions
  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (September 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401207790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401207793
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I guess I will never get over the fact that DC Comics now has the rights to Captain Marvel and the whole Marvel family. It's the boldest irony since it was DC that was responsible for putting Fawcett Comics out of business with their lawsuit alleging that the character was a copyright infringement of Superman. I would hazard to guess that the fact that Captain Marvel was actually outselling Superman in the 1940's played a big part in their decision to sue Fawcett, who ceased publication of their superhero comics in 1953. Still, if not for DC we probably would not be seeing these wonderful Golden Age reprints, the latest being the Shazam Family Vol. 1.

This edition features the early adventures of Captain Marvel Junior. The book reprints Junior's adventures from Master Comics #23 - 32, Captain Marvel Jr. #1, and also includes the first appearance of Mary Marvel from Captain Marvel Adventures #18. Most of the stories in the book feature art by Mac Raboy who is perhaps best known for his 20 year run as artist on the Flash Gordon Sunday newspaper strip, taking over for the great Alex Raymond. Raboy's art is quite a touch darker and grimmer than most superhero titles of the day, certainly far darker than Captain Marvel's artist C.C.Beck. Raboy also produced some of the most outstanding covers of the Golden Age while working on Master Comics, which are thankfully reprinted in the book.

Throughout out most of the ten issues reprinted in this debut volume, Captain Marvel Jr. finds himself battling two main foes, the German villain Captain Nazi, and Mr. Macabre, sort of an amalgam of The Shadow & the Joker. Captain Marvel Jr. is Freddy Freeman, a crippled boy who sells newspapers and lives in a rundown shack. We will see in the origin story from Captain Marvel Jr.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Roberts on October 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit, ive been waiting for an archive take on Captain Marvel Jr. for a long time. This volume is well worth the wait, the stories here are vastly different from the Captain Marvel Sr. stories of previous archive editions in both tone and artwork. Cap Jr's tales are somewhat darker and more serious. The artwork is breathtaking, with a sense of realism and artistic grace not usually seen in comic books at the time. Mac Raboy's art on the Cap Jr comics will put you in mind of Alex Raymond's "Flash Gordon" and Hal Foster's "Prince Valiant" comics. These tales were written when America was just shaking the dust off of Pearl Harbor and the mood of the country was prepping towards impending war. Captain Marvel Jr.'s battles with Captain Nazi is sprinked throught these pages. The fight sequences are always a thrill, through they tend to be a bit redundant. You will also notice the same artwork is used periodically in several stories, this was due to Raboy inability to meet deadlines due to his meticulousness of his artwork. Yet it is the artwork and earnest plotting that makes the Captain Marvel Jr. stories far superior to most of the superhero comics of the day.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fowler on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Young Freddy Freeman was crippled in a chance encounter with super-villain Captain Nazi. His idol, super-hero Captain Marvel gave Freddy part of his power. Whenever Freddy said the name of his hero, he became Captain Marvel, Jr., the World's Mightiest Teenager.

It's fascinating the read the "Shazam! Family Archives" so soon after reading the "Robin Archives", as well as the "Shazam! Archives". In one sense, Captain Marvel, Jr. was the first teenage sidekick to receive his own series, although, since Captain Marvel was himself really a kid, that's a debatable presumption. Even so, Cap, Jr.'s stories were unusual given the nature of the character. Junior was a kid, but his adventures were not the lighthearted affair Robin's were. Indeed, they were quite serious, almost bleak, especially compared with Captain Marvel's. Junior did battle with the vicious Captain Nazi in the U.S. and in Europe. He also ran up against Mr. Macabre, a sinister criminal with green skin. Even with his powers, Freddy was hardly a happy go-lucky kid. He lived in a cave on the outskirts of town, and made his living hawking papers. He was permanently lame in his civilian identity.

And yet, Junior's solo adventures are still quite delightful, as he slaps around Axis spies and gangsters. He had the same problem many of contemporaries had: he was powerful hero with some less-than-powerful enemies. But watching Junior smack around Captain Nazi and Mr. Macabre is quite satisfying, and the plots that these villains hatched were very clever.

Of course, the real attraction of this volume it the fine pencils of Mac Raboy. Raboy was one of those rare artists of the golden age who strove more for realism and eschewed the cartoony tendency of his contemporaries.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr R. J. Lofaro on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Mac Raboy art...BUT, all the stories, except the last one...are Captain Marvel, Jr. ones. In the last story...the "origin" of Mary Marvel, all 3 appear. Other than that story, no Mary Marvel, No Big Red Cheese and no Marvel Family stories. So, if you like Captain Marvel, Jr., this book is for you. If you want the Marvel Family, or Cap, or Mary Marvel...look elsewhere
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