Hidden Gems: Shazam & Shazam Family Annual #1 (2002)
Wow, just typing 'Shazam Family' makes my skin crawl. It's the Marvel Family, dammit! Ok, deep breaths. Deep breaths. No one wants to read a rant about semantics. In the last decade, DC did a pretty good job producing these nice, albeit slim reprint volumes as a sort of retro 80-Page Giants. The problem I had with them is that I had read many of the Silver Age DC stories before and they carried a premium price tag ($9.99 in Canada). As we all know, deflation has a habit of kicking in after a few years and I'm seeing this at much more reasonable prices ($2.99) in back issue bins. This particular issue is pure Golden Age gold. It includes some pivotal tales from the heyday of the Marvels and provides a good sampling of the artists working for Fawcett at the time, including Mac Raboy, Marc Swayze and Bud Thompson. What I love the most is that DC saw fit to include the full Sivana Family story from Marvel Family #10. If you have already wanted to get a taste of the Big Red Cheese but did not want to shell out for originals or an Archives volume, this is a great option.