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Tag: Superheroes

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Spider-Verse (Part One)

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about all the heroes that can do whatever a spider can from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!

(via GIPHY)

And stay tuned for another blog in a few weeks where we explore the comic origins of the characters from the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

What is Spider-Verse?

Spider-Verse was a 2015 Marvel Comics crossover storyline of all the Spider-Man titles. The story followed Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and other Spider-People from across the Multiverse uniting as a ‘Spider-Army’ to stop a group of aristocratic, interdimensional vampires called the Inheritors from exterminating every Spider-Man in existence.

The original Spider-Verse storyline can be read across these collections:

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : edge of Spider-Verse (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [2] : Spider-Verse prelude / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [3] : Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

Spider-Woman [1] : Spider-Verse / Hopeless, Dennis

Spider-Verse publishing line

Since the release of the film Into the Spider-Verse, Marvel has put out a Spider-Verse line of collections to give readers a primer on the heroes and villains featured in the movie.

Spider-Man, Spider-verse : amazing Spider-Man / Eliopoulos, Chris

Spider-Man. Spider-Verse: Spider-Women

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Gwen / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Miles Morales / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man Spider-Verse : fearsome foes / Lee, Stan

Who’s Who in the Spider-Verse?

Miles Morales (Earth-1610, later Earth-616)

Teenager Miles Morales was bitten by a genetically engineered spider and gained spider powers, including the new abilities of camouflage and producing an electric ‘venom shock’. Initially keeping his abilities a secret, after the death of his universe’s Peter Parker, Miles is inspired to take up the mantle of Spider-Man.

Ultimate Universe Miles Morales

Miles was originally from the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610), a world for modern updates of classic Marvel characters that had its own publishing line, Ultimate Comics, that ran from 2000 to 2015.

Ultimate Spider-Man reading order

Ultimate comics Spider-Man : death of Spider-Man fallout / Bendis, Brian Michael (Miles’ first appearance)

Miles Morales : Spider-Man / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael (crossover with The Amazing Spider-Man) (ONLY on Libby)

Miles Morales : with great power / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : great responsibility / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Miles Morales : ultimate end / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : ultimate end is also collected as Miles Morales: the ultimate Spider-Man [1] : revival / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby) and Miles Morales : the ultimate Spider-Man [2] : revelations / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Secret wars / Hickman, Jonathan

Ultimate end. Battleworld / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles also became a member of the All-New Ultimates, a team of young heroes inspired by their universe’s version of the Avengers.

All-new Ultimates [1] : power for power / Fiffe, Michel

All-new Ultimates. Vol. 2, No gods, no masters / Fiffe, Michel

Marvel Universe Miles Morales

After the destruction of the Ultimate Universe during Secret Wars, Miles was folded into the mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and now fights crime alongside Peter Parker as a protégé. 

Miles Morales Reading Order

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [1] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [2] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen : sitting in a tree / Bendis, Brian Michael (also collected as Miles Morales : the avenging Avenger) (crossover with Spider-Gwen, also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [3] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [4] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Men II / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales [1] : straight out of Brooklyn / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. 2, Bring on the bad guys
(also on Libby)

Absolute Carnage : Miles Morales / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales. Vol. 3, Family business / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales [4] : ultimatum / Ahmed, Saladin
(also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 5, The clone saga / Ahmed, Saladin
(also on Libby)

Miles Morales [6] : all eyes on me / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 7, Beyond / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales [8] : empire of the spider / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales : Spider-Man : trial by spider / Ziglar, Cody

Spider-Gwen (Earth-65)

On Earth-65, a ‘low-super’ universe with fewer superhumans, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, gained spider-powers, and became Spider-Woman. Gwen struggles to balance school, her rock band, her super-heroics, all while continuing her multiversal misadventures with her fellow Spiders.

Spider-Gwen reading order

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : edge of Spider-Verse (Spider-Gwen’s first appearance) (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen [0] : most wanted / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Women / Hopeless, Dennis (crossover with Spider-Woman and Silk) 

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 1, Greater power / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen Volume 0, 1, and Spider-Gwen’s first appearance in Edge of Spider-Verse are also collected as Spider-Gwen : Gwen Stacy / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 2, Weapon of choice / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen [3] : long-distance / Latour, Jason

Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen : sitting in a tree / Bendis, Brian Michael (also collected as Miles Morales : the avenging Avenger / Bendis, Brian Michael) (crossover with Spider-Gwen, also on Libby) 

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 4, Predators / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 5, Gwenom / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen [6] : the life of Gwen Stacy / Latour, Jason

Spider-Geddon (ONLY on Libby)

Later, Gwen takes up the name Ghost-Spider and moves to Earth-616.

Spider-Gwen : Ghost-Spider. Vol. 1, Spider-geddon / McGuire, Seanan (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen : Ghost-Spider. Vol. 2, Impossible year / McGuire, Seanan

Ghost-Spider [1] : dog days are over / McGuire, Seanan

Ghost-Spider. Vol. 2, Party people / McGuire, Seanan

Spider-Gwen : Gwenverse / Seeley, Tim

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Spider Gwen : shadow clones / Kim, Emily

Peter Parker (Earth-616)

By the time Spider-Verse happened, Peter Parker had just recovered from having his personality overwritten by Doctor Octopus and was running his own company, Parker Industries. Once the Inheritors arrive on Earth-616, Peter is recruited into the Spider-Army because he is believed to be ‘the greatest Spider-Man’.

Spider-Verse era Amazing Spider-Man reading order

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : the Parker luck / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [2] : Spider-Verse prelude / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [3] : Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : graveyard shift / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [5] : spiral / Conway, Gerry

If you want to catch up to Peter Parker’s current adventures, here are the volumes of the most recent Spider-Man run.

Current Amazing Spider-Man run

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 1, World without love / Wells, Zeb

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 2, The new sinister / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Volume 3, Hobgoblin / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 4, Dark web / Wells, Zeb

Spider-Man Noir (Earth-90214)

Spider-Man Noir hails from the Marvel Noir universe of Earth-90214, where the Marvel heroes first begin appearing in the 1920s and 1930s. Here, Peter Parker gains his powers after being bitten by a mystical spider and becomes a web-slinging, hard-boiled detective.

Spider-Man noir : the complete collection / Hine, David

Spider-Man noir : eyes without a face / Hine, David (also collected in the above complete collection)

Spider-Man noir : twilight in Babylon / Stohl, Margaret (also on Libby)

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Other titles in the Marvel Noir universe include:

Daredevil noir / Irvine, Alexander

Luke Cage noir / Benson, Mike

Wolverine noir / Moore, Stuart

Spider-Ham (Earth-8311)

Peter Porker was a spider bitten by a radioactive pig (yes, you read that right). He’s from the ‘Larval Universe’, a world populated by anthropomorphic animal versions of Marvel’s superheroes. Outside of Spider-Verse crossovers, Spider-Ham mostly appears in Marvel Comics’ humour publications.

Spider-Ham appearances

Howard the Duck : the complete collection. Vol. 4 / Mantlo, Bill

The Marvel Universe according to Hembeck / Hembeck, Fred

Spider-Verse / Costa, Mike

Secret wars, too

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Web Warriors, protectors of the Spider-verse. Volume 1, Electroverse / Costa, Mike

Web Warriors, protectors of the Spider-verse. Volume 2, Spiders vs / Costa, Mike

Spider-Ham : great power, no responsibility : an original graphic novel / Foxe, Steve (also on Children’s eLibrary)

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Peni Parker – SP//dr (Earth-14512)

Co-created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, Peni Parker hails from a world inspired by classic manga and anime like Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Selected by a sentient radioactive spider to replace her father as the co-pilot of a giant robot suit, Peni protects New York as the wall-crawling mecha SP//dr.

SP//dr and Peni Parker appearances

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-geddon : edge of Spider-geddon

Spider-Verse : Spider-Zero / MacKay, Jed

Cindy Moon – Silk (Earth-616)

Did you know that Peter Parker wasn’t the only person bitten by the radioactive spider in his universe? His classmate Cindy Moon also got spider-powers, including the ability to create limitless webs, but she was abducted by the mysterious Spider Society before she could use her new powers. After escaping during the first Spider-Verse event, Cindy dons a costume and becomes the heroine Silk.

Silk has yet to appear in the Spider-Verse films, but is set to star in a planned spin-off movie based on the Spider-Women crossover comic.

Silk reading order

Silk. Vol. 0, The life and times of Cindy Moon / Thompson, Robbie

Silk. Vol. 1, Sinister / Thompson, Robbie

Silk Vol. 0 and 1 are collected together as Silk. Vol. 1, Out of the Spider-Verse (also on Libby)

Spider-Women / Hopeless, Dennis (crossover with Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen)

Silk. Vol. 2, The negative / Thompson, Robbie

Silk Vol. 2 and the Spider-Women crossover are collected together as Silk : out of the Spider-Verse. Vol. 2 (also on Libby)

Silk [1] : Threats and Menaces / Goo, Maurene

Silk [2] : age of the witch / Kim, Emily

Silk [3] : nightmare boulevard / Kim, Emily

Villains of the Spider-Verse

For the lowdown on all the villains who appear in Into the Spider-Verse, check out Spider-Man Spider-Verse : fearsome foes. Here, we’re only covering the main two villains from the first film, the Kingpin and the Prowler.

The Kingpin

Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin of Crime, a powerful and ruthless mob boss who has fought Spider-Man and Daredevil. In the recent Devil’s Reign crossover, Fisk became the mayor of New York City and employed an army of supervillains to eliminate every hero in the city.

Civil war II : Kingpin / Rosenberg, Matthew

Kingpin : born against / Rosenberg, Matthew

Devil’s reign / Zdarsky, Chip (also on Libby)

Devil’s reign : villains for hire / Chapman, Clay McLeod (also on Libby)

The Prowler

There are two Prowlers currently active in the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man’s sometime-ally Hobie Brown, and Miles Morales’ uncle Aaron Davis. Both Prowlers are inventors who use a variety of gadgets, including a gliding cape, gauntlets that shoot gas pellets, and claws that allow them to climb walls.

Hobie Brown Prowler appearances

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [1] / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The Prowler : the clone conspiracy / Ryan, Sean

Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man [2] : hostile takeovers / Taylor, Tom

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [3]

Aaron Davis Prowler appearances

Miles Morales : Spider-Man / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : with great power / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [4] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 3, Family business / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales [4] : ultimatum / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales [8] : empire of the spider / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Beneath the Mainstream: Superpower Novels Beyond the Basics

It’s a bird

It’s a plane

No… It’s…


Super cool awesome man….

Again? Really?  I saw him just last week, is there no end to his heroics? Oh and that silly bat-guy too, and some man spider thingy. Wow, how boring. You know, I love superhero media, I really do, but sometimes things just get too popular, too mainstream for old J’Shuall of Jackanapery. I prefer to be a hipster, have something literary enough for my esteemed taste. All you hear about nowadays are these Marvels and these DCs and honestly, sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace.

Does that mean I hate Marvel and DC comics?


Legal is telling me that the correct answer is no, which yeah, fine. There’s a bunch of gems in the comics, from inventive re-imaginings of beloved characters to straight bangers of classic stories. Our good friend The Wellington Comic Lover is the real expert in that field, guiding you through the weird and wonderful world of comics. Give some of those blogs a look if that’s your thing.

But that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to show you all the interesting things the genre of superpowers, superheroes, and supervillains have to offer in novel form! Now you don’t have to worry about appearing uncivilised by looking at pictures, you can get your superpower goofiness from WORDS!

All without you having to read the billions of volumes about the s-squad, retaliators or good guy group™!

The infinite noise / Shippen, Lauren
“Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.” Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy-he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand. Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist-who seems to know a lot more than she lets on-and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.” (Catalogue)

Steelheart / Sanderson, Brandon
“Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, David’s been studying, and planning, and he has something the Reckoners need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.” (Catalogue)

Dreadnought / Daniels, April
“Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and dies right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantel to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in the ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head. She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer -a cyborg named Utopia- still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.” — Page 4 of cover.” (Catalogue)

Zeroes / Westerfeld, Scott
“Told from separate viewpoints, teens Scam, Crash, Flicker, Anonymous, Bellwether, and Kelsie, all born in the year 2000 and living in Cambria, California, have superhuman abilities that give them interesting but not heroic lives until they must work as a community to respond to a high stakes crisis.” (Catalogue)

The Extraordinaries / Klune, TJ
“If being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom was a superpower, Nick Bell would be a hero. Instead he’s just a fanboy with ADHD, posting online. After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), he sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life). — adapted from jacket and Amazon info” (Catalogue)

Not your sidekick / Lee, C. B.
“Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship-only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.” (Catalogue)

Illusive / Lloyd-Jones, Emily
“After a vaccine accidentally creates superpowers in a small percentage of the population, seventeen-year-old Ciere, an illusionist, teams up with a group of fellow high-class, super-powered thieves to steal the vaccine’s formula while staying one step ahead of mobsters and deadly government agents”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The supervillain and me / Banas, Danielle
“Abby Hamilton’s older brother moonlights as a superhero, but she has no interest in following in his footsteps–until a “supervillain” called Iron Phantom saves her life and warns her that not everyone in the “hero” world is who they seem to be. Now, Abby’s the one who’ll need to leap into action and save the day.” (Catalogue)

Transparent / Whipple, Natalie
“Sixteen-year-old Fiona O’Connell is the world’s first invisible girl, which makes her the ideal weapon for her crime-lord father. But now, she and her mother have escaped and are hiding out in a small town where they’re determined to start a normal life.”– Provided by publisher.”(Catalogue)

Slide / Hathaway, Jill
“Vee Bell, able to slide into other people’s minds, sees someone standing over the body of her sister’s best friend, Sophie, holding a bloody knife but she is afraid that anyone she tells will think her crazy and so she must find a way to identify the killer herself, before he or she strikes again.” (Catalogue)

Gone / Grant, Michael
“In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have “The Power” and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.” (Catalogue)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Shazam and Black Adam

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about the two champions of the lightning, Shazam and Black Adam!

Black Adam GIF - Black Adam GIFs

(via GIPHY and Tenor)

Note: DC Comics are divided by publishing eras which are determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, the whole continuity) of a series back to #1. ‘Pre-Crisis’ is everything published before 1985; ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 onwards.

Who is SHAZAM?

Orphan teen Billy Batson descends into the subway one night and discovers a secret portal to the Rock of Eternity, a place of magic power where an ancient wizard resides. Seeing that Billy is courageous and pure of heart, the wizard grants Billy the power to transform into a superhero by saying his name “SHAZAM!”, giving him the attributes of six mythic figures:

  • The Wisdom of Solomon (a wise king from Jerusalem, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament)
  • The Strength of Hercules (the legendarily strong Greek hero who completed the Twelve Labours)
  • The Stamina of Atlas (the Greek Titan punished to hold up the sky)
  • The Power of Zeus (the Greek god of thunder and king of the Olympians)
  • The Courage of Achilles (the hero of the Trojan War and protagonist of Homer’s Iliad)
  • The Speed of Mercury (fleet-footed herald of the Roman gods)

With these powers combined, Billy fights the good fight as the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel, later known as Shazam.

Billy would also grant his powers to others, including his foster sister Mary Bromfield, who became Mary Marvel, and his friend Freddy Freeman, who became Captain Marvel Jr.

Dc Comics GIF by Shazam! Fury of the Gods

(via GIPHY)

Wait, Captain Marvel? You mean Carol Danvers?

Not quite. See, when he was first created in 1940 by Fawcett Comics, Billy Batson’s superhero identity was Captain Marvel, and Shazam was just the name of the wizard who gave him his powers and whose name he spoke to transform. When the trademark lapsed and Marvel Comics created their own Captain Marvel, DC Comics (who had bought the rights to Fawcett’s characters) couldn’t publish any comics titled ‘Captain Marvel’, though they could still refer to him by that name in the comics. For a while, any comic starring Captain Marvel was titled as Shazam or some variation, but this changed in the New 52 era, where Billy Batson’s alias became known as Shazam from then on.

Pre-Crisis – Captain Marvel

We have a couple of collections of classic Shazam stories from the period where he was Captain Marvel, which introduces all the classic elements of his mythos, including Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, their talking tiger companion Tawky Tawny, and their enemies, the criminal scientist Dr. Sivana and the nefarious alien caterpillar Mr. Mind.

Shazam! : the greatest stories ever told

Shazam! : power of hope / Dini, Paul

Shazam! : the golden age of the world’s mightiest mortal / Kidd, Chip

Post-Crisis – The Legend of Shazam!

Starting in the Legends miniseries, Captain Marvel joined the Justice League, and later on, the Justice Society. In Formerly Known as the Justice League, Mary Marvel joins Maxwell Lord’s ‘Super Buddies’, a low-rent version of the Justice League made up of D-list heroes operating out of a mall. Since the Marvel Family are literally children turning into adult superheroes, the running joke throughout much of this time is their relative innocence and naivete in relation to their more experienced and jaded team-mates.

In The Trials of Shazam!, Billy is made to take the Wizard’s place at the Rock of Eternity. He appoints Freddy Freeman to take on the mantle of Captain Marvel, but first, Freddy has to gain a power from each individual hero or god that makes up the SHAZAM acronym by himself.

Legends : 30th anniversary edition / Ostrander, John

Superman/Shazam! : first thunder / Winick, Judd

Formerly known as the Justice League / Giffen, Keith

The trials of Shazam! : the complete series / Winick, Judd

In the 2000s, Captain Marvel appeared in a pair of young reader-aimed miniseries, authored by Jeff Smith (Bone) and Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid).

Shazam! : the monster society of evil / Smith, Jeff

Billy Batson and the magic of Shazam! : family affair / Kunkel, Mike

New 52 and DC Rebirth – Captain Marvel no more

As of 2012, during DC’s New 52 reboot, Billy’s hero persona is now called Shazam (to avoid confusion with Marvel Comics’ Carol Danvers, who had been reintroduced as Captain Marvel earlier that year). Here, Billy is retooled as a cynical foster kid who the Wizard takes a chance on to grow a conscience. Through his adventures as the hero Shazam, Billy learns to embrace his foster family, and decides share his powers with them, making a new Shazam Family. Shazam then joins the Justice League, fighting alongside them in the Darkseid War, and has an adventure with his siblings in the Seven Magic Lands, of which Billy and his foster siblings are tasked with being the protectors.

Shazam! : origins / Johns, Geoff

Justice League. Volume 6, Injustice League / Johns, Geoff

Justice League. Volume 7, Darkseid war part 1 / Johns, Geoff

Justice League : Darkseid war : power of the gods

Justice League. Volume 8, Darkseid war / Johns, Geoff

Shazam! and the seven magic lands / Johns, Geoff

Infinite Frontier

In the Infinite Frontier era, Billy finds himself unable to share his power with his siblings and must venture to the underworld to restore the Rock of Eternity. He also joins the Teen Titans Academy, a school for young superheroes.

Shazam! : to hell and back / Sheridan, Tim

Teen Titans Academy. Vol. 1, X marks the spot / Sheridan, Tim


Captain Marvel/Shazam in the Multiverse

Before being integrated into the DC Universe proper, Captain Marvel lived on a parallel earth called Earth-S (which is now Earth-5 in the current Multiverse). Earth-5 and its version of Dr. Sivana play a pivotal role in the parallel world-spanning Multiversity, as the criminal scientist tries to take over the Rock of Eternity which sits at the centre of the Multiverse. In the successor series Convergence, where characters from different universes are forced to fight each other to save their respective worlds, the Marvel Family of Earth-S are pitted against a steam-punk version of Batman and his rogues gallery.

The Multiversity / Morrison, Grant

Convergence : infinite earths. Book two

Captain Marvel/Shazam is a favourite of artist Alex Ross, appearing in his and Paul Dini’s Justice League and the Justice maxi-series (alongside the rest of the Marvel Family, Black Adam, and Dr Sivana). Billy Batson also plays a significant part in Ross’ Kingdom Come, a possible future where the Justice League have retired and new superhumans without a sense of right and wrong have taken their place.

Justice. Volume 1 / Krueger, Jim

Justice League, the world’s greatest super-heroes / Dini, Paul

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark

Who is Black Adam?

In ancient times, Teth-Adam of Khandaq was granted divine powers by the wizard Shazam, giving him the attributes of six Egyptian gods:

  • The Stamina of Shu (the god of air who holds up the sky)
  • The Swiftness of Horus (the falcon-headed god of the sky)
  • The Strength of Amon (king of the Egyptian gods)
  • The Wisdom of Zehuti (another name for Thoth, the ibis-headed god of writing and wisdom)
  • The Power of Aten (the embodiment of the sun)
  • The Courage of Mehen (a snake-god who coils around the sun to create night)

After the death of his wife and sons, Teth-Adam sought vengeance and abused his powers, leading the Wizard to imprison him in a tomb forever. Awakened in the modern day, Teth-Adam comes into conflict with the current champion of Shazam, Billy Batson, and continues to carry out his eye-for-an-eye style of justice as Black Adam!


While he has been around since the earliest days of Shazam, Black Adam only started to gain prominence in the DCU in the mid-2000s as an morally ambivalent anti-hero. After a stint in the Justice Society, he defects, takes over the nation of Khandaq, and joins the Secret Society of Super-Villains. One of his biggest storylines is in the year-long weekly miniseries 52, where Adam creates his own ‘Black Marvel Family’ and declares war on the world.

Black Adam/JSA : black reign / Johns, Geoff

Secret Six. Volume 1, Villains united / Simone, Gail

52. Volume one

52. Volume two

52. Volume three

52. Volume four

The Black Adam-centric parts of 52 have been collected in their own volume, Black Adam : rise and fall of an empire.

Black Adam : the dark age / Tomasi, Peter

Justice Society of America : Black Adam and Isis / Johns, Geoff

New 52 

In the rebooted Shazam! series, Teth-Adam is a slave in ancient Khandaq who was given the power of Shazam, which he used to seek vengeance on all those who would enslave others. Returning in the modern day, he joins Lex Luthor’s freedom fighters during the invasion from Earth-3 in Forever Evil, striking up a friendship with Sinestro in the process.

Shazam! : origins / Johns, Geoff

Forever Evil / Johns, Geoff

Sinestro. Volume 3, Rising / Bunn, Cullen

DC Rebirth

Black Adam continues to pop up in the DCU during the Rebirth era; as a member of a council of immortals in Dark Nights, pursuing Billy and his family through the Seven Magic Lands, and having a major role in Doomsday Clock, when during a worldwide superhuman arms race, he opens Khandaq’s borders to any supervillain in need of sanctuary.

Dark nights : metal / Snyder, Scott

Shazam! and the seven magic lands / Johns, Geoff

Doomsday clock : the complete collection / Johns, Geoff

Infinite Frontier

During Infinite Frontier, Black Adam continues to gain prominence (which might have something to do with his recent movie), as his more heroic qualities begin to shine through. He joins the Justice League, actively tries to redeem himself, and appoints his descendant, Malik Adam White, as a successor.

Future state : Suicide Squad (contains the Future State: Black Adam miniseries)

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

Justice League : endless winter / Lanning, Andy

Black Adam. Vol. 1, Theogony / Priest, Christopher J.

Black Adam : the Justice Society files / Scott, Cavan (a tie-in to the Black Adam film)

Black Adam in the Justice League

Justice League. Vol. 1, Prisms / Bendis, Brian Michael

Justice League. Volume 2, United order / Bendis, Brian Michael

Justice League. Vol. 3, Leagues of chaos / Bendis, Brian Michael

Dark crisis on infinite Earths / Williamson, Joshua

Te Reo Māori Comes to the Marvel Universe: New Comics and Graphic Novels

If there’s one thing we love here at the library, it’s a good comic book or two (or three). Luckily, our hard-working librarians have been breaking a sweat down in the book-mines (otherwise known as our offsite collection storage facility) to make sure that we have lots of new comics to fill the shelves and keep you, our beloved readers, in good reading spirits.

Here are just a few of our favourite recent additions to our comics and graphic novel collection. Hopefully you’ve seen a few of these gracing the shelves at a library near you — if not, click the titles below to get reserving!

Te pakanga a Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua
“Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua – mai anō i te wehenga of Rangi rāua ko Papa ko rāua tonu ngā tauā tuahangata rongonui katoa – ka wera te umu pokapoka o te ao tukupū i tēnei pakanga turaki aorangi… He kohinga nō ngā pakiwaituhi hirahira katoa i tēnei tekau tau kua hori – e huihui mai ai a Tua Rino, a Kāpene Amerika, a Toa, a Kaiora, a Katipō, a Tama-Werewere, a Matihao, a Whatupihi, a Rangipō, a Te Autō me te huhua noa atu i tēnei pūrākau e rerekē katoa nei ō rātou āhua ā muri ake nei. A compilation of 13 graphic novels describing the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men, a battle that has continued since the separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The universe is ablaze from a battle that destroys entire planets. Features: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Magnet.” (Catalogue)

Oksi / Ahokoivu, Mari
“Poorling is a little bear. She’s a bit different from her brothers. Mother keeps their family safe. For the Forest is full of dangers. It is there that Mana lives, with her Shadow children. And above them all, Emuu, the great Grandma in the Sky. From the heart of Finnish folklore comes a breathtaking tale of mothers, daughters, stars and legends, and the old gods and the new.” (Catalogue)

Jujutsu kaisen. 10, Evening festival / Akutami, Gege
“In order to regain use of his crippled body, Kokichi Muta, otherwise known as Mechamaru, has been acting as an informant for the cursed spirits. He’s prepared for the betrayal when he’s thrust into a battle to the death against Mahito, but is knowing his enemy enough against a cursed spirit whose powers keep growing exponentially?” (Catalogue)

Nerdy librarians’ note: this volume heralds the beginning of the infamous Shibuya arc (explored further in volumes  11, 12, 13, and 14) — to be covered in the next season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime. If you haven’t started reading Jujutsu Kaisen yet, you should absolutely not start here: find Volume 1 at your local library instead!

Friday. Book one, The first day of Christmas / Brubaker, Ed
“Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town.” (Catalogue)

A-Okay / Greene, Jarad
“A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place.” (Catalogue)

Whistle : a new Gotham City hero / Lockhart, E
“Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman reconnects with estranged family friend and real estate tycoon E. Nigma, but after he helps her earn enough for medical treatments for her mom she is attacked by the monstrous Killer Croc and upon waking after the fight she gains powers and insight she will need to make the right choices.” (Catalogue)

Tiny dancer / Siegel, Siena Cherson
“Siena Cherson Siegel dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet. Siena has worked hard her whole life to be a professional ballet dancer, then makes the difficult decision to quit dancing and tries to figure out what comes next. But what do you do when you have spent your entire life working toward a goal, having that shape your identity, and then decide it’s time to move on? How do you figure out what to do with your life? And how do you figure out who you are?” (Catalogue)

I am not Starfire / Tamaki, Mariko
“Seventeen-year-old Mandy, who dyes her hair black and hates almost everyone, is not like her mother, the tall, sparkly alien superhero Starfire, so when someone from Starfire’s past arrives, Mandy must make a choice about who she is and if she should risk everything to save her mom.” (Catalogue)

Asadora! Volume 1 / Urasawa, Naoki
“A deadly typhoon, a mysterious creature and a girl who won’t quit. In 2020, a large creature rampages through Tokyo, destroying everything in its path. In 1959, Asa Asada, a spunky young girl from a huge family in Nagoya, is kidnapped for ransom – and not a soul notices. When a typhoon hits Nagoya, Asa and her kidnapper must work together to survive. But there’s more to her kidnapper and this storm than meets the eye. When Asa’s mother goes into labor yet again, Asa runs off to find a doctor. But no one bats an eye when she doesn’t return – not even as a storm approaches Nagoya. Forgotten yet again, Asa runs into a burglar and tries to stop him on her own, a decision that leads to an unlikely alliance.” (Catalogue)

Stars in their eyes / Walton, Jessica
“Pop culture-obsessed Maisie can’t wait to get to her first Fancon. But being a queer, disabled teenager with chronic pain comes with challenges. Can Maisie make it through the day without falling over, falling in love or accidentally inspiring anyone? Maisie has always dreamed of meeting her hero, Kara Bufano, an amputee actor who plays a kick-arse amputee character in her favourite show. Fancon is big and exciting and exhausting. Then she meets Ollie, a cute volunteer who she has a lot in common with. Could this be the start of something, or will her mum, who doesn’t seem to know what boundaries are, embarrass her before she and Ollie have a chance?” (Catalogue)

Books with Bodies Like Mine

When I was a kid and then a teenager, I never read about anyone in books that looked like me.  I have always loved to read, and have always found solace in stories, but never truly identified with any of the protagonists, because none of them ever looked like me.

The heroes and heroines of the books that were around when I was growing up were all thin.  Rarely were they ever described as being thin, occasionally the word skinny was used for a particularly thin character,  but  they were generally called average, or normal.  Which is something I, a kid in a fat* body, had been led to believe I was definitely not.

* Note: I use the word fat as a weight neutral term and simple descriptor, like tall or blonde.  Personally I prefer it to other euphemisms, but I acknowledge not everyone is comfortable with referring to themselves in that way.

Most of the books I grew up reading were about pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica.  They had bouncy ponytails and couldn’t decide which boy they liked the most.  I was a fat, pimply Australian teenager with an old lady name and a mop of fluffy, mousy brown hair who was used to boys ignoring me.  Stacey and Jessica’s lives weren’t very relevant to me.

If there were fat characters, they were subjects of derision, sassy friends (who never got the guy) or had to have lost weight by the end of the book.  Not exactly relevant to most fat teenager’s lives to be honest.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, and stumbled across Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delight series, where the heroine was described as voluptuous, or at most, curvy, that I finally had a character that bore any relevance to me.  And while they’re great stories and Corinna Chapman is a badass heroine, they really skirted around her body size and shape, like actually saying she wasn’t thin was something shameful or wrong.

Thankfully, times have changed.  We now actually have books that are about more than just pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica.  We are hearing stories about people in bodies that have long been ignored.  I can tell you, I’ve spent a lot of the past few years catching up!

Here are few of my favourite so far…

Dumplin’ / Murphy, Julie

Dumplin’ is a gorgeous story about Willowdean Dickson, aka Dumplin’ to her beauty queen Mom Rosie, who meets a hot boy named Bo, joins the local beauty pageant as a protest and has a fight with her best friend.  All to a soundtrack of Dolly Parton and supported by some fabulous drag queens.  My favourite quote from Dumplin’ is the way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body.  Bonus Netflix TV series for this one, starring Jennifer Aniston as Rosie (perfectly cast).

Puddin’ / Murphy, Julie
If you like Dumplin’, you’ll love Puddin’.  Technically a sequel, Puddin’ is the story of Millie Michalchuck, one of Willowdean’s classmates and fellow beauty pageant constestant.  I loved Willowdean as a character, but I **ADORE** Millie.  She’s just so genuinely kind and open.  Millie is forced to spend time with the prettiest girl in school and over time, they realise they have a lot more in common than is obvious.

Heads up, a third book in the series is due out in 2021, called Pumpkin and all I know is that the tagline is “This year, prom’s a drag.”  Looks like we’re getting a queer character in the series.

Eleanor & Park / Rowell, Rainbow

This is the book I always wanted when I was a teenager.  Set in 1986 (confession, I was a teenager in 1986) it’s a first love story about two misfits from very different families.  Touching on themes of race, domestic violence, poverty and bullying, Eleanor & Park is the perfect story about two young people with very imperfect lives.  You may have read some other books by Rainbow Rowell, but this is her debut novel and she landed a #1 New York Times Best Seller on her first book!

Shrill : notes from a loud woman / West, Lindy

Another debut book that became a New York Times bestseller (fat gals got talent), Shrill is a memoir by brilliant writer Lindy West.  Yep, this one got made into a series too.  I followed Lindy right from her first big article about living in a fat body in The Stranger and it has been a delight to see her career just keep moving onwards and upwards.

Huge : a novel / Paley, Sasha

This is one I found through watching the TV series first.  Wilhelmina and April meet at Wellness Springs, a posh fat camp in California.  They have very different attitudes to being there and hate each other from the start.  It features a whole cast of fat characters and there is lots of nuance and depth to the story, which is unfortunately a rare thing.

Faith / Houser, Jody

An actual fat superhero in an actual comic.  I mean, it’s something I never thought would happen in my lifetime and I’m thrilled that I was wrong.  The artwork by Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage is gorgeous.


Happy fat : taking up space in a world that wants to shrink you / Hagen, Sofie

This one is a non-fiction book by the hilarious Danish comedian Sofie Hagen.  It has a little bit of memoir, but a lot more social commentary, Sofie writes about the reality and politics of living in a fat body, and how to liberate yourself in a world that is so often unwelcoming to those of us who live in fat bodies.

These are just a few of my favourites, I’m still working my way through a lot of other titles that have come along in recent years.  Have you read any that you can recommend?  Please share in the comments below.



Nik’s Picks: Young Avengers

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOh, Young Avengers. I love you. Let me count the ways. This is a relatively new title from Marvel, documenting the, well, Young Avengers. A group of teenagers fighting super villains while dealing with typical adolescent angst might seem like a tired concept, but the great writers on this title make it so much more than that. The line-up includes Miss America, a mysterious supe who is so strong she can kick holes into other dimensions, “Kid” Loki, a teen version of the villain from the Marvel Universe, who isn’t exactly the most trustworthy member of the team (for obvious reasons), the Wiccan, son of the Scarlet Witch, and many more besides. One of the things I love about this title is that the line-up changes every couple of issues, which keeps things fairly fresh while staying true to the original spirit of the series.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Young Avengers also have to cope with other problems, outside the usual teenage angst. They struggle with getting acceptance from the ‘real’ Avengers, ethical dilemmas and the changing roster of the team. Not all of their problems are easily solved by applications of their powers and they have to deal with the consequences. Another notable feature is the diversity of the team: Miss America is Hispanic, the Patriot is African American and there are several members of the team who are gay or bisexual. In fact, this series has won two GLAAD awards for its sensitive portrayal of their struggles. Although this may not be the most unique feature of these guys, since at least two of the teens are aliens and one is the reincarnation of a Norse deity.

Despite all these various problems, there’s plenty of light hearted moments; Loki’s tricks are often centered around his disinclination to pay for his food when he’s in diners. The team genuinely care about each other, despite their many clashes. But the series never feels like an after-school special. It’s well written, it’s funny, it’s action packed, and for a “cape” comic, it’s extremely believable. Even if you’re not a comic reader, this series is definitely worth picking up.

Here’s Volume 1: Sidekicks.

New DVD alert

The Avengers (2012)

In which Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye teach Loki a lesson (we hope! (that would be a whole other movie (but equally fun perhaps))).

A bargain at 80c for one week on a young adult’s card.

You can keep up to date with new DVDs as they come in using this RSS feed.



Single sentence descriptions of the newest graphic novels in the YA section.

Archie Marries… Archie gets married, twice, but only in daydreams.
Doctor Who: Final Sacrifice. A civil war on an alien world equals trouble!
Archie: Best of the Seventies book 2. Archie as Ziggy Stardust amongst other things.
Superman: War of the Supermen. Superman squares off against other supermen.
The Amazing Spiderman: The Gauntlet, Juggernaut. Title says it all really.
The Flash: The dastardly death of the Rogues. Like Minority Report, but if Tom Cruise was super fast.
Thor: The mighty avenger. This comes with two bonus classic Thor stories- value!
Thor: The first thunder. Loki is like Thor’s Joker and he is causing all sorts of mayhem in this one.
Ultimate Thor. More of the Thor, he looks like the bassist in a metal band on the cover.
X-Men forever: Devil in a white dress! Chris Claremont wrote this, which is a big deal.
X-Men forever 2: Back in action! He wrote this one too, also a big deal.
Namor, the first mutant: Curse of the mutants. Nammor decides to join the X-Men – mutant friends!
Excalibur: The legend of King Arthur. You know, sword, stone, Merlin, etc.

Narrative Works Conveyed Using Sequential Art

Batman; Whatever happened to the caped crusader?Batman; Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader? By Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. It appears that Batman is dead! Robin reminisces about the time Batman punched a dinosaur in the face and how cool he was. The Joker has a Jokermobile and it’s all so conceptual. Good stuff from Mr. Coraline.

The Avengers; Red ZoneThe Avengers; Red Zone by Olivier Coipel. It’s another pickle for the Avengers! This time Red Skull has infiltrated the American government (which must be particularly galling for Captain America) and he plans to release a biological weapon. Iron Man would probably be ok in his iron suit, but he helps out anyway because he’s just an unselfish and helpful kind of guy.

The Vornov PlotThe Voronov Plot by Yves Sente and Andre Juiliard. Our lads Blake and Mortimer are charged with averting the threat of a biological weapon (yes, another biological weapon) and must also smoke from pipes the entire time (that’s what it looks like anyway). They’d better succeed, as world peace depends on it!

Final Crisis; RevelationsFinal Crisis; Revelations by Greg Rucka, Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion. There’s a new god in town, an evil new god! Darkseid instructs his followers in a religion based on crime, which sounds fun for a little bit, until you realise how inconvenient it would be if eveyone just stole things all day long. Spectre, The Question and Batwoman to the rescue then.

Green Lantern; Rage of the Red LanternsGreen Lantern; Rage of the Red Lanterns by Geoff Johns. Arriving in time to whet your appetite for the upcoming movie are a few new Green Lantern graphic novels, such as this one. This time the Green Lantern is in hot water with the Red Lanterns and must use every inch of his powers to save his hide.

Some New Graphic Novels

zorroZorro. Volume 2, Clashing Blades by Matt Wagner. Our hero, el Zorro, is pursued by some over zealous military officers who hope to impress a girl by capturing him. The girl of course is in love with the ever rascally Zorro, who will of course escape because he is of course a bad, bad man. Action a-plenty. Adapted from the Isabel Allende novel.

wolverine vs hulkUltimate Wolverine vs. Hulk by Damon Lindelof, illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu. A closely matched fight if ever I saw one, worth a few dollars on pay-per-view for sure. Rather than ruin the ending (you’ll have to read it to find out), here are some interesting facts; the author is a co-creator of TV series Lost and Wolverine also finds time to fight a panda (really, a panda).

the listThe List by Brian Michael Bendis. Fresh off their deathmatch from one paragraph ago, Wolverine and the Hulk are now fighting on the same side against the evil Norman Osborn. They are joined by Spiderman, The Punisher, Captain America, Daredevil and seemingly every other Marvel superhero in excistence. This Norman Osborn chap is quite the fearsome villain you see.

superman new kryptonSuperman; New Krypton volume 2. A long lost part of Krypton is miraculously restored on Earth along with its also long lost Kryptonian citizens. Sadly, humankind doesn’t get along so well with the newcomers and there’s all sorts of conflict. Superman gets torn between his old home and his new home which is emotionally draining. Poor old Superman.

Trailer Tuesday: Proms and Superheroes

Movie trailers this week!

Prom is an upcoming teen-dramady with a self-explanatory title. Boy trouble, anxiety, secrets, anticipation and apparently a fire are all on the cards. Opening June 2nd, official trailer below…

Also coming in June (the 16th to be more specific) is The Green Lantern. Starring Ryan Reynolds and featuring Taika Waititi and Temuera Morrison, it looks to be an action filled romp (obvs) and is also presented in 3D in selected theaters (again, obvs). Official site here and trailer below…

Do you want to upsize? *fwip*

You may have heard that there’s a global recession on. What can that mean? It’s quite complex, but there are simpler ways of viewing it. However, what’s perhaps more immediately relevant is how it’s affecting comics; apparently Peter Parker lost his job and is now working at McDonalds.