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Wizard #111 The cover to Wizard #111

Holy Moley!

The wait is over! Alex Ross and Paul Dini's third installment in their series presenting adventures of DC Comics' greatest super-hero icons has been released.

Where are the Rest of the Marvel Family?

You can find Freddy and Mary on page 10 at the bottom of the page. They're in their guises of Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel on page 31 (although you'll need a magnifying glass to see them). They're stopping the other fireballs.

Special thanks to Daniel Smith for pointing out the inspiration for the fireballs scene in Power of Hope. As Daniel noted the scene in Power of Hope seems to be inspired by the cover of Marvel Family #36. Check back for a scan!

Sivana and Tawky Tawny aren't hard to miss on page 30!

SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE is a blockbuster comic. Over-sized (like the DC Comics Limited Collectors Editions and Marvel Treasury Editions of years gone by) it features fully-painted artwork by Alex Ross. Unlike the previous installments,SUPERMAN: PEACE ON EARTH and BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME, this new volume features a much brighter look as Captain Marvel grants wishes to hospitalized children.

DC Comics solicitation for the volume describes it as such:

From the fan-favorite team behind SUPERMAN: PEACE ON EARTH and BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME comes the third entry in the oversized tabloid format series that has revolutionized comics. SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE marks the latest collaboration between Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Paul Dini (BATMAN: HARLEY QUINN) and multiple award-winning Alex Ross (KINGDOM COME, UNCLE SAM).

Perhaps no classic comic-book character embodies the spirit of youth and optimism as throughly as Captain Marvel -- the wish fulfillment of every child who ever dreamed of having super powers and taking flight. In a personal story told from the hero's point of view, both young Billy Batson and his alter ego, Captain Marvel, devote themselves to keeping hope alive by granting the requests of a local hospital's children -- in a sense making their wishes come true.

Powerfully written by Dini, with staggering painted art by Ross that combines traditional comic-book storytelling and the illustrated-text format of storybooks, SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE finds our hero taking a direct hand upon meeting a boy who has been injured by domestic violence. Deeply affected by the encounter, our story shows just how human the World's Mightiest Mortal truly is.

SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE is a 64-page oversized softcover book (measuring 10" x 13 1/2"), coedited by Charles Kochman and Joey Cavalieri.

Meeting Captain Marvel

Walt Grogan and Sal Abinnanti

At the recent Wizard World media con, held in Chicago, I had the pleasure of chatting with Sal Abinnanti. The name may not sound familiar but any Captain Marvel fan who has enjoyed Alex Ross' rendition will instantly recognize Sal. Sal Abinnanti is not only a good friend of Ross but is also Alex' model for the good Captain and was featured in KINGDOM COME.

Sal spoke with excitement as he told me about the project. He explained how Alex Ross puts one of these volumes together. As many of you already know Ross uses photographs as the basis for his paintings -- what you may not know is that Alex does complete pencil renderings of a particular scene and then photographs a model recreating the scene. He does this to produce the proper lighting of his subjects.

In the last volume, BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME, Alex even had a Batman costume created for another model. Sal says that it was no different this time. Alex had a Captain Marvel costume designed for Sal. Sal told how much he "enjoyed" dressing up as Captain Marvel and being photograph in the suit -- outside as truck drivers drove by.

Sal gave away some of the secrets of Alex' photos as well. Sal posed on an exercise bench for the shot used on the Previews cover. Alex is very creative when it comes to posing his models.

At the same time, there is no one more enthusiastic about the project than Sal. Sal says you're going to see Captain Marvel doing the things super-heros do -- battling a raging volcano and juggling grizzly bears. There are a ton of big action shots in the book -- plenty to satisfy any super-hero fan especially a Captain Marvel fan.

Sal made sure to remind me that Captain Marvel is one of Alex' favorite heroes and Ross really intends for this volume to give Cap his due -- placing him back on top of the super-hero pyramid with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (who, incidentally, will star in the fourth volume due next year).

A Banner Year for Cap

Even though he doesn't have his own comic book, you're going to see plenty of Captain Marvel related items this year and several coming from Alex Ross. Ross' already released Shazam! plate can be purchased at your local Warner Brothers store. November sees SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE on the racks and there's a promise of an Alex Ross Captain Marvel poster due around the same time. November's WIZARD magazine will cover feature Captain Marvel and SHAZAM!:POWER OF HOPE and includes an interview with Alex as well a look at Alex' Shazam! sketchbook. Also being released in November is the Captain Marvel/Billy Batson action figure two-pack from DC Direct.

How to Order...

Previews: Sept. 2000
Previews Sept. 2000
available Aug. 30
at your local comics shop.

Most of the Captain Marvel merchandise will be available through your local comics shop. It's there that you can place an order. Most comic shops order two to three months in advance via a catalog called Previews. So get your orders in now. Who knows -- if DC Comics sees enough interest in Captain Marvel we may see him in his own monthly comic book again.

To find a comic shop in your area -- call 1-800-Comic for more information.

Related Info

Alex Ross

You can get more info on Alex Ross and SHAZAM!: POWER OF HOPE over at his official web site: Alex Ross Art. Not only is there a ton of great scans but you you can also purchase original art including Shazam! art that Alex has done over the years.

Sal Abbinanti

Sal Abbinanti is also an accomplished artist. You can learn more about Sal at his website -- The Art of Sal Abbinanti. Sal's site can be found at ComicbookPros. Not only can you find out more about Sal but you can see several pieces of Sal's artwork including work he's done for DC Comics as well as Sal's baby pictures.

Wizard Magazine

Probably the preeminent magazine of current comic book pop culture -- this monthly publication's web site can be found at Wizard World.

If You've Read This Far...

The good folks over at the Alex Ross site have promised to pass more Cap information along as it becomes available so check back here often for more info.

-- Walt Grogan
August 26,2000
Updated: November 29, 2000

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