Merrill and Jocelyn Batson, Billy and Mary’s late parents, were forced to leave their son in the care of his uncle, Merrill’s eldest brother Ebenezer, when they left for a dig because the boy had come down with a case of chicken pox. Initially, their exact demise won’t be revealed; Billy will only know that they were killed in a cave-in, a cave-in that may not have been an accident.
Sterling Morris is Billy’s boss and owner of both WHIZ-TV and Amalgamated Broadcasting. A genial and very wealthy man with a wide adventurous streak, Morris sometimes joins in on Billy’s adventures. Morris suspects that his star reporter, the boy’s twin sister and their best friend are really the Marvel Family, but often talks himself out of his suspicions because they sound too wild, or too ridiculous, to be true. He credits Billy with WHIZ’s current success.
Betty Vaughn, veteran newscaster for WHIZ-TV’s Eyewitness News, is a co-worker of Billy’s. She’s a tough, no-nonsense career woman who’s worked very hard to get where she is today, and doesn’t normally let her reports get to her. She often treats Billy almost like a kid brother than as a colleague.
Cissie Summerly is one of Billy’s oldest friends and his first real girlfriend. A tough but tender girl and a bit of a tomboy, the pretty strawberry blonde-haired, green eyed Cissie excels at sports, especially gymnastics and soccer, and has no problem keeping up with the boys, especially in a fight. It’s uncertain if young Ms. Summerly knows Billy’s secret identity, but she never seems too surprised when he disappears and Captain Marvel shows up.
Originally a troubleshooter with the Malcolm Foundation, Whitey Murphy works as Billy’s assistant at WHIZ-TV. While with the Foundation, he helped Billy find evidence of Ebenezer Batson’s crimes. Like Billy, he will often act rashly in the face of danger. Like Dudley, Joan and Tawny, Whitey knows the real identities of the Marvel Family and has sworn to keep it a secret.
As Chairman of his self-named Foundation, archeologist and explorer John Malcolm funded the Batsons’ ill-fated dig to Saqqara. Though something of an adventurer in his past, Malcolm still believes that there are still unexplored areas on the Earth and dreams of exploring them.
Although much of his past is shrouded in mystery, Malcolm’s aide, Tal Chotali, was working with Merrill and Jocelyn Batson in Egypt on the day they were killed. He gives Billy vital clues about his uncle’s criminal activities.
Doc Quartz is an amateur inventor and the druggist who runs the pharmacy across the street from WHIZ-TV. A genial, bald-pated old gent, Doc Quartz considers himself something of an artist, and even though his inventions don’t always work the way they’re supposed to, to him, it’s all a part of the creative process.
Instead of being foes of the Marvel Family like their father, Magnificus and Beautia Sivana are counted among their best friends. Sivana’s two eldest children are genuinely good, albeit conflicted people: they love their father, but they hate the madness that has claimed his and their younger siblings’ brilliant minds. Also, Magnificus and Beautia are tall, blond, blue-eyed and athletic, unlike their father and younger siblings, who are short, dark and scrawny.
Ma & Pa Potter are the owners of Haven House, a relatively small apartment house (or a large brownstone). The Potters are an older couple who keep an eye on Billy when Dudley’s not at home, and Ma Potter often leaves “care packages” for some of her tenants.
Dexter Knox, one of Billy’s best friends, lives next door to the Haven House Apartments where two of the Batsons live. The 13-year-old is a reed-thin boy genius with molasses-black hair, and a long, thin nose which his glasses always seem to perch at the end of no matter how many times he pushes them up. His Einstein-level IQ earned him doctorates in both Chemical Engineering and Computer Science, and he helps the team of heroes known as the Squadron of Justice when time permits. Like Cissie, it’s uncertain whether or not he knows the real identities of the Marvel Family, but he’s rarely surprised when one of them suddenly appears.
Mrs. Wagner owns the Bronx apartment house Freddy lives in, cooks for and keeps an eye on her youngest tenant. Her other “boarders” are Rory “Red” O’Reilly, who owns the gas station near Freddy’s newsstand; Leroy Marks, a salesman for a software company; Jim Bellows, a patrolman in the New York Police Department. He’s a beat cop and proud of it, but like most of his fellow officers, dreams of someday making detective. Cat Hunter, Jim’s former partner, also lives at Mrs. Wagner’s. She left the force because of a broken tail bone and currently works on her own as a private investigator.
The most notable tenant at Mrs. Wagner’s has to be Archimedes Edgewise, an “absent-minded professor” who works not at the college level, but at Bridwell Junior High School’s Science department. He’s a brilliant, dedicated scientist with all the optimism, practicality and short attention span of a hyperactive child. Whether or not he realizes Captain Marvel Junior is really Freddy Freeman is open to speculation, since he’s extremely forgetful at the best of times.
Edward and Caroline Bromfield are the adoptive parents of Mary Batson, and when they took her into their home, they didn’t know she was a stolen baby. They are wealthy business people whose work keeps them constantly on the go, which leaves Mary alone a lot. They don’t know about Mary’s secret identity, but the “fact” that their adopted daughter seems to have a super-powered guardian angel hasn’t stopped them from being concerned. They trust their butler, Reginald Jives, and bodyguard Gaspar Hernandez to keep an eye on Mary.
Mary “Freckles” Dudley is the only child of Billy’s next door neighbors, the Dudleys, but she’s also the daughter of Billy and Mary’s uncle, Ebenezer, from a marriage he'd had annulled. She’s a nine-year-old tomboy who enjoys reminding everyone that just because she’s young doesn’t mean she’s dumb. She also believes Dudley is actually a member of the Marvel Family (a handy reason for bringing up the “ol’ Shazambago's acting up” line).
Eventually, she wheedles her way into becoming a sort-of mascot, dressing herself in shorts-and-t-shirt version of Mary Marvel’s costume. Later, because of their blood connection, a badly-injured Mary Batson temporarily transfers her Shazam powers to Freckles, thus having the younger girl stand in for her cousin.
Talky Tawny is an intelligent, quasi-human tiger given human speech and thought processes by a former government scientist living as a hermit in India. Tawny comes to America to find his old friend, Tom Todd, and winds up in all sorts of trouble, starting with the producers of a cartoon which Tom created wanting to sue the talking tiger for having the name “Mr. Tawny”! He works as a guide at the Museum of Natural History, but he also has several side jobs, including fashion model. Mr. Tawny is a reflection of our own human fallibility, his triumph over his own foibles are similar to our own, and his gung-ho attitude towards life will help the Marvel Family in their fight against the forces of evil. He knows the kids’ secret, but has sworn never to tell another living soul.
Joan Jameson is Billy and Captain Marvel’s secretary at WHIZ-TV. As one of the few people in the know about the Marvel Family’s secret identities, she has sworn herself to secrecy, so she can be trusted with any job they ask of her. The attractive blonde takes her job seriously; so seriously, in fact, she never flirts with her “other” boss, Captain Marvel. She feels, perhaps rightly, that she would not only lose her self-respect, but more importantly, the hard-won friendship and trust of the Marvel Family if she ever did. Among her many skills is a nearly photographic memory that allows her to remember almost everything she’d ever seen, read or overheard, no matter how obscure the fact.
Caitlin O’Riordan, a friend of Billy, Mary and Freddy’s, is a pretty, green-eyed redhead who carries a secret of her own; a secret that has cost her friends and could wind up costing the girl her life. Like Dudley, Joan, Whitey and Tawny, Caitlin also knows the real identities of the Marvel Family and has sworn to keep it a secret.
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