SHA-WHAT? When UNCLE MARVEL Actually Had Superpowers

Dudley’s moment in the sun…

I always dig it when Alter Ego gives itself over to the Fawcett Collectors of America for a rousing round-up of Marvel Family stories. In the new Issue #182, the cover feature is on none other than Uncle Dudley, a character I don’t believe we’ve ever featured at 13th Dimension.

It only makes sense then, that our EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT come from Carl Lani’Keya Shinyama’s takeout on one of comics’ most colorful supporting characters.

So check out the table of contents — and dig this piece about Uncle Marvel’s brief tenure with superpowers.


Mary Marvel #28 marked Uncle Dudley’s last Golden Age appearance. And there could have been no more appropriate send-off than to make his final story under the Fawcett banner one where he had finally acquired the powers of a Marvel, even if only for a brief time.

The story, crafted by the Binder brothers, began with Mary visiting Uncle Dudley at Shazam, Inc. While she was there, a wealthy man named Henry Hibbs came to the office in need of the Marvel Family’s services. His son Herbert had gambled and lost $50,000 and was being held hostage by one Ace Spaid in an illegal casino on a cruise ship. Hibbs had been ordered to pay the ransom at a pier.

Going in Hibbs’ place, Uncle Marvel and Mary Marvel confronted several hire-thugs waiting there. At one point, Uncle was knocked unconscious by one of them. Upon seeing this, Mary Marvel let the crooks get away so she could attend to him. Admiring his bravery despite how often he got the worst of it from criminals, she made a fervent wish for Uncle Marvel to get the same Shazam powers that Captain Marvel enjoyed, not realizing that Olympians Minerva and Zeus were listening in.

Minerva proposed to Zeus that Uncle Dudley should be rewarded with the powers of a Marvel for his courage, good deeds, and fighting evil through his Shazam, Inc. organization—at least for a day.

Zeus agreed, saying Dudley will have powers equal to Mary Marvel (who had been said on one occasion to be second only to Captain Marvel) for 24 hours. With that, the king of the Greek gods pointed his finger down at Earth and the magic lightning bestowed on Dudley the powers of the same immortals from whom Captain Marvel got his powers. Uncle Dudley regained consciousness with a significant reduction in his waist size—and the powers of Captain Marvel.

He was promptly fired upon by thugs, but the bullets bounced off of his chest. However, not knowing he had super-powers, he thought they had missed him. It wasn’t till he discovered he could really fly that he came to the realization that he had Shazam powers. He was elated to finally be what he had always pretended to be: Uncle Marvel.

It was to Dudley’s credit that having Shazamic powers didn’t go to his head when he apprehended the lowlifes who had attacked him. Instead, he simply subdued them and rescued Henry Hibbs. Then he and Mary towed the gambling ship to the police.

Unfortunately for Dudley, his 24-hour Uncle Marvel powers ended soon afterward, while he confronted another villain, who was pursuing a man Dudley was protecting at his Shazam, Inc. office. So Uncle Dudley was knocked unconscious yet again. Mary Marvel soon rescued him, however.

Afterwards, when Uncle regained consciousness, he was quick to fall back on his go-to excuse: Shazambago. When he’d settled back into his normal self, he wistfully concluded that he must have dreamt of having the powers of a Marvel. Only, it hadn’t been a dream. For once in his life, he had been a Marvel instead of the un-Marvelous Uncle Marvel.

Back Issue #182 is available now at comics shops, magazine sellers and directly through publisher TwoMorrows. (Click here to order.)


— 13 MIGHTY MOMENTS in the 50-Year History of SHAZAM! at DC Comics. Click here.

— Imagine If DC’s 1970s SHAZAM! Comic Went All in On the TV Show. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. Excellent coverage of possibly the most mature and unique maybe is and maybe isn’t side kick type character in all of comicbook history. If he was a sidekick he was that for the entire Fawcett Family. Sidekicks usually lean to the one dimensional. Not Dudley. He learned and grew as a person in someways in all his appearances even more so then his superhero family. An extra treat with this FCA piece is the listing of all of his many appearance. That alone should be enough to drive someone to create an archive of his tales.

    Post a Reply
  2. I think you meant FCA/Alter Ego opps other way around Alter Ego/FCA

    Post a Reply
  3. I may not have Shazambago, but I am getting deja vu when I look at the last two panels above; they are the same as the previous two panels. Is it all a dream? 🙂

    It’s also funny that Mary Marvel verbally refers to “the Shazam powers” in the splash, but no lightning comes. How convenient for her!

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: