There are countless superheroes in Marvel and DC comics, each unique in its own right. Some are dark and serious, while others are goofy and hilarious. And then, there’s Shazam, a superhero unlike any other. Even the goofy superheroes usually have cool nicknames, but Shazam? He’s a story for himself.
While there are several cool, imposing nicknames Shazam received over the years, most of them are just plain silly – much like the character himself, being a kid inside the magical body of the most powerful individual on Earth. So, without further ado, here’s a list of the ten most awesome Shazam nicknames from both the comics and the DCEU.
Honorable mention: Captain Thunder/Captain Marvel
These nicknames aren’t actually nicknames for Shazam but are indeed awesome and iconic, so I had to include them on the list. When the character first appeared in 1939, he was dubbed Captain Thunder due to his ‘electrifying’ superpowers.
It felt too one-dimensional for such a powerful, marvelous character, so they renamed him to, well, Captain Marvelous. It was shortened soon after to Captain Marvel. Yes, DC had a captain Marvel 20-ish years before Marvel had Captain Marvel. Pretty cool, right?
In the end, Marvel comics picked up steam, and it was too silly to have a powerhouse superhero that basically evokes the name of your biggest rival, so DC changed it to Shazam. Luckily, we didn’t have to go through all that in the movies.
In the first Shazam! movie, Billy Batson is just a kid when he gets the awesome wizard powers. He struggles to find a cool superhero nickname for himself, though, so Billy turns to his best friend, Freddie (who is a huge comic book fan), to find him a suitable nickname. Of course, the nicknames are as silly as you’d expect from a middle school kid.
One of the nicknames invented by Freddie was Captain Sparklefingers, which stemmed from Shazam’s ability to produce electricity and charge people’s phones through his fingers. It was a funny nickname for casual fans, but for comic book enthusiasts, it was an epic easter egg joke.
You see, Shazam was initially called Captain Marvel, and this easter egg came as a joke on Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel from Marvel comics. In Captain Marvel #6 from 2021, Carol speaks to Helen Cobb, and at one point, Helen says: “So it goes boom, you wish you were powerful enough to stop it and bingo! You’re Princess Sparklefists, flyin’ without a plane?”
Princess Sparklefists, Captain Sparklefingers, both Captain Marvels… you get the gist.
Out of all the silly, terrible nicknames that Freddie came up with for Billy’s superhero mantle, Mr. Philadelphia might be the most decent one. It’s got a nice ring to it, and it shows that Shazam, despite his otherworldly powers, is proud of his roots and his city and will always be there to protect Philly.
Both in the comics and the DCEU, Billy, and Freddie are from Philadelphia. Well, actually, from Philly’s suburbs – a neighborhood called Fawcett. I know Mr. Philadelphia isn’t as cool as, for instance, Doctor Manhattan, but for poor Billy, it feels like all the cool superhero nicknames are already taken.
Another utterly embarrassing nickname that Freddie came up with for Shazam is Power Boy. It’s not bad for Billy because Billy is, in fact, just a boy. It would also sort of work due to the nature of Shazam’s abilities – electricity = power, hence, Power Boy.
However, Shazam looks like a grown man – a boulder of a man, if you will – so calling him Power Boy is absolutely degrading, on top of being kind of creepily weird. Like, you can’t have respect and be intimidating to villains if you go in there, all buff and bulletproof, and say, ‘I’m Power Boy!’ with a straight face.
This was one of the first nicknames for Shazam that Freddie used on YouTube when they were posting videos about Billy testing his newfound powers. I mean, compared to Captain Sparklefingers, this one can actually pass as a semi-decent excuse for a superhero mantle. It’s funny, but hey – Red Tornado was already taken.
The reason why Red Cyclone could actually work is because of all the other kids that gained Shazam’s powers by the end of the movie. They wouldn’t have to struggle thinking about their own nicknames – they could just go by Blue Cyclone, Green Cyclone, etc. Maybe stick with the colors, and change the Cyclone part? Yes, definitely change the Cyclone part.
Imagine a superhero with powers that can rival the best of the best – heck, there were instances where Shazam beat Superman – and then he goes: I’m Sir Zaps-A-Lot! You’d probably burst into tears from laughing at the fellow. Yup, that was an actual suggestion that Freddie made for Billy’s superhero nickname.
Obviously, it stemmed from Shazam’s lightning and electricity abilities, but I think you have to try really hard to find a sillier nickname than Sir Zaps-A-Lot. Maybe Captain Sparklefingers isn’t that bad, right?
The Big Red Cheese
I kid you not! This is a real Shazam nickname from the comics. That’s the kind of character Shazam is – goofy, hilarious, but on top of that, extremely powerful, rivalring the most powerful DC heroes you can imagine.
The Big Red Cheese nickname stems from several characteristics of Shazam. For one, obviously, he’s a big, bulky guy. For two, he wears a tight red suit (which, by the way, he didn’t choose – he got it as a part of his powers).
And, for three, his sense of humor and personality overall is, kind of – cheesy. That, or the yellow details on his suit, such as the lightning on his chest, or his boots, look like big chunks of cheese. The Big Red Cheese would be an insulting nickname for most superheroes, but for Shazam, it’s a fact-of-the-matter kind of nickname.
The World’s Mightiest Mortal
As you’ve probably realized by now, Shazam’s comic book history is riddled with name changes, silly nicknames, and an overall mockery of superhero names and mantles. He was first known as Captain Thunder, then Captain Marvelous, then Captain Marvel, and then Shazam.
When DC bought the rights to the character, his name was Shazam, but the reality was – he was just too similar to Superman. He was one of the most powerful guys in the world, but seeing Superman already held that mantle, the writers needed a way to differentiate the two. Hence, Shazam got the nickname The World’s Mightiest Mortal.
I found that a bit silly, though, seeing that Superman is also mortal, but hey, the nickname did what it was supposed to do – made the difference between a guy in a red-yellow caped costume and a guy in a red-blue caped costume much clearer. I guess?
This one came out of Freddie’s nickname brainstorming in the DCEU, and boy, was it hilarious. In fact, I found it to be the funniest of the bunch. So, when Shazam produces his electricity or thunder, if you will, it comes with loud cracking, typical for thunder, of course.
You can also assume he’s cracking some bones, but whatever the reason may be, Freddie thought that Thundercrack would be a cool nickname for Shazam. In the end, it just sounded too much like butt crack, and obviously didn’t stick.
A superhero that would proudly wear the mantle Thundercrack must either be on crack himself or be an immature kid who got his powers totally randomly… Oh, wait a minute…
This one might actually be the only decent, serious nickname given to Shazam in the entire DCEU movie. And, ironically, it was given to him by none other than his nemesis, Dr. Sivana. It’s not really a smart or witty nickname, but it gets to the core of who Shazam really is.
He isn’t THE wizard – the wizard gave him powers. Hence, the nickname Wizard’s Champion. He’s also one of the most powerful people on the planet – maybe even the universe – so the mantle of Champion really holds ground. It may not be that catchy, but at least it’s not Thundercrack.
This one actually made me giggle. Clearly, it came out of Freddie’s brilliant mind, referring to Shazam’s electric ‘zaps,’ but the reason why it’s intriguing is the reference to Captain America – a character from Marvel Comics. That’s right, Marvel Comics exists as fictional comics within the DC Extended Universe.
It was a cool Easter egg and a nice homage from DC to Marvel. Although they are the biggest rivals, it’s not rare to see the two comic book powerhouses work together. As for the nickname Zap-tain America, it might sound absolutely silly, but hey, if it worked for Cap, why couldn’t it work for… Zap?