Who is Doctor Sivana, Shazam’s oldest foe?

Shazam! will be here before you know it, and while I know there are plenty of you lamenting DC’s move to the light, I’m thrilled for this movie. The DC Universe is big enough to hold all kinds of stories, because it has all kinds of characters, and I’m both amazed and delighted that we live in a time when a movie about Earth’s Mightiest Mortal—the original Captain Marvel—is coming to the silver screen.

But who is Billy Batson bringing along for the ride? Most of us probably expected him to face off against Black Adam, a foe with many physical and aesthetic similarities to our hero. But I guess the Rock is still cooking, whether you can smell it or not, and young Batson will instead face off against his oldest foe, Dr. Sivana. If, like me, your experience with Shazam is limited, then you’re probably wondering just who Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is—but I hit the web, so you don’t have to, so read on!

In my research, I found that Sivana’s history can be divided into two fairly large chunks. He was created by writer Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, and first appeared in Fawcett Publication’s Whiz Comics #2 (in which Captain Marvel also made his debut). But after many years, some time of absence, and some retooling, the modern Dr. Sivana was created by writer/artist Jerry Ordway in his 1994 graphic novel The Power of Shazam! In his initial Golden Age appearances, he was a mad scientist-type, whose family’s antics were eventually the in-universe scapegoat for Captain Marvel’s out-of-universe, copyright-related, years-long absence from comics.

Power of Shazam!’s Sivana was a mad scientist as well, but Ordway added other layers to the character, making him a captain of industry with political interests, drawing comparisons with another famous bald DC villain whose name rhymes with Shmex Shmuthor. Ordway also created a link between Sivana and the origin of Captain Marvel himself, as well as the death of Billy Batson’s parents. The doc’s business stumbled afterwards, and he pinned the blame on Captain Marvel and became obsessed with exacting revenge.

Since Power of Shazam!, Sivana has made notable appearances in 52, DC’s weekly limited series that debuted in May of 2006, as well as in the backup to the New 52‘s Justice League #7, where he freed Black Adam and picked up the ability to “see” magic. As far as I can tell, he has yet to show up in the post-DC Rebirth era, but with a new Shazam! book on the shelves, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

So that’s pretty much the basics for Dr. Sivana. Former-Sinestro Mark Strong will bring him to life in the film, and it will be interesting to see which elements of the character’s history the filmmakers choose to use (as well as what new things they may add). The trailer doesn’t give us too much to go on, but just the fact that Sivana is able to catch one of Billy’s super-powered punches—as we saw in the first trailer—is enough to suggest that he will be a formidable foe.

Any die-hard Dr. Sivana fans out there? Sound off in the comments, and if there are any classic character moments you’re hoping to see on the screen, let us know that, too. And if you haven’t already checked out our profile for Earth’s Mightiest Mortal himself, go ahead and do that now.


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