Shazam turns into a superhero and back by saying his name. So how does he introduce himself?

  • 19
    Do you perhaps mean Captain Marvel? Whose name is not Shazam?
    – Zibbobz
    Jul 31, 2014 at 16:13
  • 4
    The same way Beetlejuice does - charades!
    – phantom42
    Jul 31, 2014 at 16:40
  • 2
    So wait, is the Wizard no longer named Shazam? Man, I really do not like the new 52 at all!
    – Monty129
    Jul 31, 2014 at 17:02
  • 4
    @Zibbobz - geeksofdoom.com/2012/01/30/…
    – Valorum
    Jul 31, 2014 at 18:07
  • 6
    I came here looking for Shaq and was disappointed. Jul 31, 2014 at 21:09

5 Answers 5


It's not saying the word "Shazam" that results in his transformation, it's saying the word "Shazam!" (complete with exclamation mark in most cases) and with the intention of transforming.

As you see from the panel below from the Curse of Shazam, he's perfectly capable of introducing himself without transforming:

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In short, he introduces himself by saying "Hello, I'm Shazam"

  • 3
    @user14111 - Wikipedia suggests it was automatic and happened at least once by accident
    – Valorum
    Jul 31, 2014 at 18:41
  • 1
    I don't think the intention necessarily has to be transformation, seeing how often he uses the lightning as a weapon. But yes, you seem to be right about the fact that intent matters. Jul 31, 2014 at 18:43
  • 2
    Gonna have to read that comic. The reason why I asked was I was reading Injustice (like an alternate timeline thing, if you didn't know) and Wonder Woman got Black Adam to say his magic word with the Lasso Of Truth and he turned back into himself. I assumed that meant Shazam would have the same problem, although from what I'm hearing it sounds like it's whatever's convenient to the writers. Thanks for the responses! Jul 31, 2014 at 20:26
  • 3
    Pre-crisis it appears to have been different. For instance in DC Comics Presents # 34 where Superman is in Captain Marvels dimension and they temporarily both change by saying Shazam! the following dialogue appears where Captain Marvel is starting to talk about Supermans X-ray vision: "..How'd you ever learn to control that power, so you didn't become a peeping tom?" "Same way you learned not to say Shaz-- er, that word-- in the middle of a volcano!"
    – sigber
    Aug 1, 2014 at 7:12
  • I like that explanation! But now I'm wondering what would happen if he said "Shazam factorial."
    – Nathan K.
    Apr 7, 2019 at 14:34

Saying Shazam! only matters when William Batson has focused his will and intent behind it. At any other time it's just a word.

In the New52 version of Shazam, we are introduced to the Justice League (Justice League #00, 2012) with the retelling of the origins of the Big Red Cheese. When Billy Batson appears in the tower of the Rock of Eternity, the last of the wizards awaits him.

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The wizard, running out of time tells Batson to say Shazam. Batson tentatively asks "Shazam?" Nothing happens.

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The wizard admonishes him when nothing happens.

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This time, when Batson says it with intent:

enter image description here

In previous continuities, it was possible for Batson (or any of his partners) to say their "magic word" by accident and be transformed or at least trigger the lightning. Likely this effect was played for humor in the early decades of the character's existence.

  • 1
    It was sort of played with humor, mostly it was because his name was Captain Marvel and the only time he said Shazam was to transform Mar 25, 2019 at 8:38

Spoiler warning for Shazam! (2019):

The movie reintroduces the problem Shazam has when introducing himself. During the scene where he explains himself to Darla, he mentions how the wizard made him say "Shazam". As soon as he said it, he transformed, and it was clear from the scene that he didn't mean to transform.


It was a problem that Captain Marvel Jr. had as HE transformed by saying "Captain Marvel". However, it appears that, as of Shazam! #1 (January 2019), Shazam has the same problem.

SHAZAM: You're going to have to guess. I've been having a bit of trouble saying my name recently.

Picture from Shazam! (2019) #1. All rights property of DC Comics.

As you can see from the picture, Billy is saying that he no longer has control of the lightning when he says the Word.


The characters of the name SHAZAM! all represent a powerful champion, even the exclamation point.  "It took the combined might of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and ! to stop and contain Mister Mind." Shazam, current run, issue 2 tells us there was another champion, represented by "!" that is part of Billy's transformation. Therefore, the exclamation point is part of the name, and if only "Shazam" and not "Shazam!" is spoken, the transformation is not triggered.

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