While recent movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League have featured a huge number of comic book creators featured in the "Special Thanks" section of the credits, Warner Bros. was pretty minmalist when it came to who they thanked for their contributions to Shazam!. Besides the character's creators, who did not appear in the Special Thanks section but who likely got their own credit, as generally happens with "created by" attributions, only three Shazam! creators were given a shout-out for their work in the comics over the years -- five if you count Geoff Johns, who served as a writer and executive producer on the film so did not get named in the "Special Thanks" but rather higher up as a producer.
The creators? One of them is pretty obvious, the other obvious when it's said out loud, and the third may or may not be a surprise. In each case, the creator in question is an artist who has drawn one or more key Shazam! stories during the DC Comics publishing era for the character, although in some cases they are more closely associated with the character than others. Below, we will take a look at each of the three, discuss their contributions to the legacy of the character, and why they were likely chosen for inclusion in the film's credits.
First up: Gary Frank. Frank is a frequent collaborator with Geoff Johns, and was the artist on the Shazam! backup stories that Johns wrote for Justice League during DC's New 52 era of publishing from 2011 until 2016. That story is fairly faithfully adapted in the film, with some tweaks to allow for certain characters to be included or not. During our visit to the set of Shazam!, the New 52 era of publishing was the run that was referenced most frequently and regularly by the cast and filmmaker David F. Sandberg as an inspiration for the movie.
Next: Andy Kubert. First of all, let's note that both Frank and Kubert were listed in the credits for Captain Marvel just a few weeks ago, which given both the proximity of the movies and Shazam!'s history with the name "Captain Marvel" is a pretty interesting coincidence. Kubert has less history with Shazam! in the main line DC Universe than the other two creators named here, but he was the artist on Flashpoint, the 2011 miniseries that led to the New 52. In Flashpoint, the traditional "Marvel Family" was reinvented, swapping in new characters and looks to form S!H!A!Z!A!M!, a family and team in one. Billy's new foster family carried over into The New 52 and, by extension, into the movie, so all of those siblings equals a lot of co-creations in the movie for Kubert.
Finally: Jerry Ordway. As it turns out, these come up in reverse-chronological order, going from 2012 to 2011 to the '90s, when Ordway had a long run on The Power of Shazam!, revitalizing the character for the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era and branding himself as the creator most closely associated with the character for two decades. Ordway's run was the only time in recent memory that a Shazam! series was a sales success for more than one arc, and he provided the definitive visual take on the DC version fo Captain Marvel/Shazam.
Shazam! stars Zachary Levi as the titular Shazam! hero. Acting as Shazam's human counterpart is Asher Angel as Billy Batson, supported by Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Mark Strong as the villainous Dr. Sivana, Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard, along with Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans, , Ian Choi, Faithe Herman, Jovan Armand, and Grace Fulton. It is executive produced by Jeffrey Chernov, Hany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Dwayne Johnson.
Shazam! hits theaters on April 5.
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