Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures! Shazam!

I've recently discovered another comics pro blog, written by the great Jeff Smith. For those of you not familiar (which, I assume, is all of you), Jeff Smith is the creator of one of the all-time great comics, Bone. Bone is coming out these days in new colorized editions, which are kind of cool, but I like the old-school b&w better.

Anyway, I've learned that Jeff Smith is working on a Captain Marvel miniseries for DC. This is very, very, very, very, very exciting news. This means that one of my very favorite comics artists is writing and drawing my very favorite superhero.

Yes, that's right. Captain Marvel. The Greatest Superhero Ever. And, since you asked, I'll gladly tell you why.
Billy Batson, poor orphan boy, is chosen by the great wizard Shazam as his champion. When Billy says the wizard's name, he transforms into Captain Marvel, the World's Mightiest Mortal. He has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the courage of Achilles, the power of Zeus, the stamina of Atlas and the speed of Mercury. Yes, sharp-eyed readers, the names of those mythological figures do, indeed, spell out SHAZAM.
Anyway, the concept of the superhero is at heart a power fantasy. Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker...all wimps and nerds, ignored by women and tormented by bullies, until they put on a silly costume, becoming powerful and above such petty concerns. Captain Marvel is the purest distillation of this - his transformation is literal, not just figurative. He truly transforms from being insignificant and completely vulnerable to the hero of millions and all-powerful. He flies, he's super-strong, he's bulletproof.
Captain Marvel is full of joyous comic book silliness - his enemies include Black Adam, the requisite "evil twin," Dr. Sivana, maddest of mad scientists, and Mr. Mind, master of the Monster Society of Evil and tiny green worm. One of his best friends is Mr. Talky Tawny, an anthropomorphic, talking tiger. There is much goofiness. Silliness abounds.
A lot of modern nerds can't get into Captain Marvel because of the silliness. I don't get it. Superheroes are inherently silly. Batman is the world's greatest detective, a master of dozens of fighting forms, and carts a teenage boy around with him to help him fight crime. The X-Men are described as "the next stage of human evolution," which apparently involves being able to shoot laser beams out of their eyes, mastery over elemental forces of nature like the weather and magnetism. A pair of glasses prevents anyone from realizing that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person. Apparently, all of this is far more believable and less silly than a wizard, a mad scientist and a talking tiger.
Anyone who says different is wrong. Captain Marvel kicks giant ass.