Shazam!, in theaters today, is not shy about its comic book roots: the movie features Freddy Freeman as a superhero super-fan who collects newspaper clippings and artifacts from Superman, Batman, and others. There are Easter eggs that tease classic Captain Marvel/Shazam stories as well as references to various DC heroes throughout. And, yes, there are a number of Easter eggs referencing Mister Tawky Tawny, a talking tiger who was once imbued with the power of Shazam and became a friend to Billy Batson and a member of the Marvel Family. But all of that is pretty obvious. There is at least one reference that is a lot more subtle.
At least once during the film, Darla Dudley (yes, she is named after Uncle Dudley, although that comes from the comics and is not an Easter egg exclusive to the film), one of Billy's foster siblings, can be seen with her favorite stuffed animal: a large, pink rabbit with huge floppy ears. Longtime fans of Shazam stories will instantly recognize the critter as one of Fawcett Comics's original talking animal characters, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. The character, who first appeared in Fawcett's Funny Animals #1 in 1942, was a huge Captain Marvel fan who decided to say his hero's magic word transforming him into Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
While Hoppy gets his powers (and costume) by saying "Shazam," the source of his powers is different from those of his human counterparts (from The Bunny Wizard, naturally). He would eventually be transported to Earth-S and team up with the Marvel Family, who were fictional charactes on Earth-C Plus where Hoppy hailed from, in Crisis on Infinite Earths. In that story, Hoppy stood shoulder to shoulder with his heroes as well as the Earth-1 Superman as they squared off with Mr. Mind, King Kull, and Mr. Mxyzptlk. Unlike Tawny, Hoppy was never a regular part of the Marvel Family's stories and has not reappeared as frequently in the post-Crisis era as Tawny has.
Shazam is now in theaters; Joker arrives on October 4th, Birds of Prey on February 7th, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5th, 2020, and The Batman on June 25th, 2021.
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