What Does SHAZAM Stand For?

The wizard SHAZAM's name is an acronym of those deities who grant the wizard, and the Marvel Family, a portion of their powers. The deities involved appear to vary from character to character.

Captain Marvel Mary Marvel Black Adam SHAZAM
Deity Attribute Deity Attribute Deity Attribute Deity Attribute
Solomon Wisdom Selena Grace Shu Stamina Marzosh Stamina
Hercules Strength Hippolyta Strength Heru Swiftness Arel Speed
Atlas Stamina Ariadne Skill Amon Strength Ribalvei Power
Zeus Power Zephyrus Speed Zehuti Wisdom Voldar Strength
Achilles Courage Aurora Beauty Aton Power Elbiam Courage
Mercury Speed Minerva Wisdom Mehen Courage Lumiun Wisdom

Although no distinction is made between the source of Captain Marvel's and Mary Marvel's powers in the modern SHAZAM series, in the not-so-politically-correct past, Mary received her powers from her very own "family" of goddesses.

I guess writers in the 40's felt that grace, skill and beauty were more important to a super-heroine than courage, stamina and power. :-) Discerning scholars will also note that one of the "goddesses", Zephyrus, is actually a male.

In keeping with his Egyptian origin, Teth-Adam (later to be called Black Adam) was gifted his powers from Egyptian deities.

In the 1987 mini-series, Teth-Adam's powers were knowingly drawn from these egyptian deities. In the 1995 series, it is revealed that Blaze, actually the demon-spawned daughter of SHAZAM, conspired with Set to have Teth-Adam draw his powers from the Egyptian gods, instead of the gods with whom SHAZAM had made his pact for super-human power.

Interestingly, in the 1995 version, SHAZAM draws his powers from six gods whose names form the acronym "MARVEL".

© Mark Wann 2012.  All characters owned by DC Comics.