This past week, Liam managed to give a disease I've come to not-so-affectionately call Disco Death Cold 2000 - pain, suffering, dizziness, and more head-cloudiness than you'd expect without causing some sort of inner-ear rainstorm, but at least everything left such pretty-colored trails as it moved by. The worst seems to have passed, though, since yesterday was the first day since Monday that I didn't feel worse than the day before. But I sure wish who-or-whatever seems to be pounding an iron rod through my sinuses Phineas Gage-style would please stop right now.

But I digress.

Anyway, I'm amazed, astounded, and generally downright pleased at how great a time it is at the moment to be a fan of Captain Marvel and his assorted hangers-on, better known as the Marvel Family (or the Shazam Family if you're bound by legal restrictions, as the good Captain's trademark holders happen to be).

First, you get the Showcase Presents Shazam! Vol. 1 paperback, reprinting material from the 70s Shazam series. It's a very fun book (even if some of the early stories are pretty dumbed down*), if a bit incomplete. It lacks the Isis related content of issue #25, the "new style" adventures in #s 34 and 35, and all of the various Fawcett reprints (which just ensures I'll have to keep picking up the back issues, since I want all that stuff, especially the Fawcett stories), but it's still a great big giant brick of Fun Comics, stuff I look forward to sharing with Liam in a few years.

Then, Jeff Smith's long-awaited Shazam: Monster Society of Evil mini-series finally lands after years of teaser images that we started seeing the second Bone ended, and from what I can see, everybody loved it: grown ups, school kids**, little stuffed bulls... everyone! My own opinion? Well, yeah, I don't have one yet. I ordered my copy through DCBS. So I saved some money, which is always cool, but I have to wait until the end of the month to read it, which makes me all kinds of sad. I can't guarantee I won't cave and pick up a copy at the New York Comic Con, especially if I can get Smith to sign a copy. I'm a sheep that way. Baaaa. But from what everybody is saying, ol' Jeff does right by the Captain, so I'm pretty excited. It's always nice to see that someone who actually makes a Captain Marvel comic book understands what one needs to actually be like (or at least in my admittedly fan-entitled worldview, anyway). It all makes me wonder if the near-universal praise is going to make DC reconsider the direction of the whole Trials of Shazam fooferaw Judd Winick is writing. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

(Also, there's an online secret decoder "ring," which is all kinds of fun, even if you don't own the actual book yet. QFHG ZWNRG RG: BLF WRWM'G ORPV HFKVINZM IVGFIMH, VRGSVI.)

And as if that wasn't enough - and all that is great, don't get me wrong; I've wanted fun, readable Captain Marvel comics for longer than I care to remember - the news out of Toy Fair is that DC Direct is doing an entire Shazam action figure line. And you know, most of that DC Direct stuff I can dismiss as overly-expensive shelf decorations for the fan with too much disposable income***, but I think they may have finally beaten down my resolve with these. I mean, they're even making Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. I'm not made of stone here. Well played, DC Direct. Well played. Mary, Junior, and Hoppy will definitely be overly-expensively decorating my shelf when the time comes. I already have the First Appearance Captain Marvel figure (bought on deep discount, thankyouverymuch), and I like that one a lot better than the one they're showing in the prototype pics, so I may skip that one (though I make no promises here). The Sivana pictured doesn't really float my boat, either, even if he does come with a tiny Mr. Mind. Now if they were to decide to make a separate Mr. Mind (not to scale, obviously), maybe I could be persuaded there.

Ah... for the first time in a long while, it finally feels good to be a Captain Marvel fan again, even if I do realize how patently ridiculous it is to be excited to spend good money on merchandise I don't truly need just because it features a favorite character. Such is the nerdy life, I suppose.

* Seeing the artwork of C.C. Beck on his most famous character one last time is a hoot, though, and it makes me wonder just how many underground artists were influenced by Beck's style. There's a lot of Crumb and Shelton-lookin' folks occupying the backgrounds!

** I've said before, I'll say it again: Joe Rice is doing the Lord's work!

*** Though those New Frontier figs are sweet.

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