Jun 9, 2023

The Top 10 Hunks of Shazam

Captain Marvel (1941-53) was DC Comics' attempt to circumvent the obvious homoeroticism in the 1940s superhero-teen sidekick relationship by making the two the same person.  14-year old Billy Batson transforms into adult superhero Captain Marvel when he says the magical word Shazam.

Which, by the way, is an acronym for the magical beings who bestowed the power upon him: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury.

It's all very silly, and it provides a new problem: how to give Captain Marvel a girlfriend, when he's really a teenage boy with muscles?  He can't very well be dating Lois Lane.

The 2019 movie has Billy (Asher Angel) turning into an unnamed superhero (played by Zachary Levi).  But it also gives Billy a sidekick of his own, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

And, in the absence of a girlfriend, they have a gay-subtext romance.

Plus one of his foster-home buddies, Pedro (Jovan Armand) appears to identify as gay when they hide out in a strip club and he says "not my thing."

The result is a pleasantly non-heterosexist superhero movie, which also has a surprising number of hunkoids in the cast.

1. Adam Brody, Freddy's adult superhero alter-ego (left).

2. Zachary Levi.

3. All of the other residents of Billy's foster home morph into superheroes.  Eugene (Ian Chen) into Ross Butler

4. Pedro (Jovand Armand) into D. J. Cotrona

5. Instead of a whole fraternity of immortals from the Bible and Greek and Roman mythology, Shazam is a single person, played by Djimon Hounsou.

6. Cooper Andrews as the beefy foster father to the superheroic crew.

7 Mark Strong plays the Big Bad, Dr. Silvana, who unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins (Sloth, Lust, Envy, and so on) onto the world.  What's with all the villains with Ph.D.s?  Part of the culture of anti-intellectualism?

8. The teen idol set is already familiar with Asher Angel.

9. Evan Marsh as the main bully who is terrorizing Freddy.

10. Landon Doak as the bullying brother who terrorizes a teenage Dr. Silvana.


  1. Originally Fawcett. Which was later bought by DC. Some Crisis-level rearrangement of the DC multiverse brought Billy to the main DCU, where he learned of a bat with five sons. (Geddit?)

  2. By the way, Young Justice actually had a controversy over Billy's age. Batman defended keeping him in the League, while Wonder Woman said "Of course YOU would" and went on to discuss Robin's age. (Whether she meant Dick Grayson or the Robin of the time, Tim Drake, is another issue.)

    DC does nod at the homoeroticism of sidekicks as tabloid rumors. (Presumably written by Bethany Snow, the J Jonah Jamesson of the DCU.) Then you have Devin Grayson.

  3. A great comic book movie with a sexy leading man and DJ Catrona who should be a bigger star

  4. Finally got around to seeing this and while I don't agree with all the rave reviews, I enjoyed it overall. I thought the characterization of Billy Batson was a little at odds with his grownup self. The plot itself is pretty throwaway as well, though the little easter eggs at the end and after the credits were pretty fun.

    Anyway, Asher Angel himself is a cutie for sure. Sadly no shirt off scenes for the fans in the movie! I do note he's not shy about showing his body on instagram, he's definitely been working out.

    1. I haven't found any recent photos of Asher Angel with a physique. He's got something like 5700 on Teen Idols 4 You,so I may have missed some.

  5. Fawcett, not DC, created the character, and DC sued them for plagiarizing Superman (Captain Marvel was actually more successful than Superman). Partly because of this long-running suit, Fawcett discontinued the character in the 1950s, and the property was sold to DC in 1974. Then there's the name of the character, which Marvel Comic Group asserts is their property, and so nowadays we call the character 'Shazam' instead.
    It might also be mentioned that Freddy's alter-ego, Captain Marvel Junior, was drawn in a more realistic manner than the original character, leading some to wonder whether artist Mac Raboy had a few gay bones in his body.


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