Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil
Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015
I love superhero comics, but I must confess, I don't like a lot of contemporary superhero comics. The trend has overwhelmingly become oriented towards grim and serious. There are some terrific, well done stories, full of high imagination and smart storytelling, but there's a distinct lack of whimsy and unabashed optimism.
Jeff Smith, mostly known for his critically acclaimed comic Bone, wrote and drew Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, a sort of reboot mini-series of Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family that eschews the grim, "adult" cynicism of most contemporary superhero comics. His story isn't all sunshine and smiles--in fact, the story involves homelessness, crime, and government corruption--but he reinvigorates the Shazam mythology of Captain Marvel with much of the enthusiastic heroism, fantasy, and whimsy that the comic originally had in the 1940s. Smith has produced a superhero story that's delightful, wondrous, funny, and cute without being condescending, camp, or saccharine. It's an adult comic book that's also suitable for children and teens. I wish more contemporary superhero stories were like this.