What You Need To Know Before Watching Black Adam

What’s important to know about Black Adam is that it wasn’t originally a DC Comic Book character. Black Adam, like Shazam, was a Marvel Family character. Before you get excited, it wasn’t a cross-over between Marvel Comics, but the creation of Fawcett Comics.

Originally, when Fawcett Comics produced Captain Marvel, they were sued by DC Comics, at the time National Comics, in 1941. Through a long legal battle, DC eventually succeeded in 1950 and Fawcett was to cease publications of Captain Marvel. This killed the comic book company and DC then purchased it in 1972. However, between 1950 when Fawcett abandoned Captain Marvel, and 1972 when the character was purchased, Marvel Comics started up, and DC could not longer call him Captain Marvel, opting for his catchphrase and the name of his mentor Shazam.

In the midst of the legal battle, Black Adam was originally created in December 1945 in The Marvel Family #1 by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck.

In the original line-up of comics, Black Adam was a predecessor to Shazam, from ancient Egypt. Black Adam survived the past and came to the modern day, where he challenged Shazam and the rest of the Marvel Family. His powers were near-identical to Shazam’s due to the shared source of their abilities.

In the 2000s though the character was rebranded from being a villain to more of an anti-hero.

If you are looking for some important comics to read before seeing the movie, here is what we suggest:

The Marvel Family #1 (1945) This comic features more then just Black Adam, but the “The Mighty Marvels Join Forces!” storyline tells of Mighty Adam, an earlier successor bestowed with the Powers of Shazam due to his purity. The power corrupts him and he murders the Pharaoh to assume the throne. Due to the betrayal of the powers, Shazam renames him Black Adam and sends him to the furthest star from Earth. 5,000 years later, Black Adam returns and it will take the whole family to stop him.
DC’s Shazam! #8 (1973) A retelling of the original story, and likely easier to find, then the first. This once again tells the tale of Black Adam. After being rebranded by DC and changing the title of the comic and titular character to Shazam, due to Fawcett’s abandonment of the title to Marvel Comics.
Shazam! #28 (1978) The return of Black Adam for the “Bronze Age” of comics, and the second appearance in DC comics. Doctor Sivana uses the Reincarnation Machine in the series to bring back Teth Adam to destroy the wizard Shazam. The fight between Shazam and Adam traps them in 1773. After realizing that Sivana had tricked him into potentially depowering himself and Shazam, he returns with Shazam to 1976. Angry still about his past defeat thanks to Dudley he confronts him, but Shazam is able to wipe away Adam’s dual identity with a punch that causes amnesia.

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