Prior to the weekend, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool directed fans' attention to Alex Ross Art, where the popular creator had begun selling original work from an unpublished Shazam revamp. Presumably, Dan DiDio passed on this in favor of Judd Winnick and Howard Porter's The Trials of Shazam mini-series, which proves what a brain trust is running DC these days. Collected here, you can see the most dynamic approach to Captain Marvel since, well, ever. Personally, I think Billy Batson should be delicately retconned into an African-American, ala Roy Thomas' 1980s Captain Thunder proposal, to make him viable and contemporary in a universe shared with Superman. Instead, there's a new Vulcan, Black or Son of... unknown, but looking pretty cool. Most curiously, Batgirl, Nightwing and Martian Manhunter are reworked to such a degree, this must have been intended as an Elseworlds or a massive new direction for the One Year Later initiative. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I very much prefer the José Ladrönn Conehead from Mars approach to this rather short on imagination take. Better a Skrull mixed with the Vision than regular Manhunter with Doug Mahnke tentacles and a Spectre cowl covering his trademark brow. Looks like Ross got some mileage out on the rejected Nightwing on his Black Terror for Dynamite Publishing, so not a totakl loss.
Part of an Unused Shazam Proposal by Alex Ross – 2007
9” x 12” pencil on art paper