April 18, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #403: Ibac

The folks who made the old Captain Marvel/Shazam comics sure loved magic words spelling out names that grant power.

So, when I went to see the Black Adam movie and a supervillain popped out at the end, it reminded me that a lot of the Fawcett characters that used to interact with the Billy Baston Captain Marvel gained superpowers by saying a single magic word.  That was Billy, his whole Marvel Family, Black Adam and even his eventual family, and so forth.

But there was one who so far has never gotten the big screen treatment, namely a guy known as Ibac.

First appearing in Captain Marvel Adventures #8 back in 1942, Ibac was originally a crook named Stanley “Stinky” Printwhistle.  After Captain Marvel stopped him from blowing up a bridge, Printwhistle finds himself being saved by, of all beings, Lucifer.  The devil will grant Stanley great power, and not the sort of that comes with great responsibility, if he becomes an agent of evil for Lucifer.  Printwhistle, a frail older man who is essentially the opposite of Billy Batson from the sounds of things, can then transform into the evil Ibac by saying “Ibac” out loud.

Yes, this is another guy who can’t say his own name.

Anyway, Lucifer granted Ibac with powers from four of the most evil and twisted men from ancient history.  That would be

  • Ivan the Terrible for Terror/Stamina
  • Borgia, Cesare for Cunning/Durability
  • Attila the Hun for Fierceness/Strength
  • Caligula for Cruelty/Endurance

Look, I’m just gonna assume that these are the powers they attached to those traits later because otherwise it might suggest that, in this universe, Attila the Hun could toss boulders and Ivan the Terrible was basically indestructible.

Regardless, as Ibac, Stanley was now something of a match for Captain Marvel, later called Shazam by some because copyright is a hell of a drug.  Granted, Ibac was also kinda dumb, and he could be somewhat easily tricked into saying his name and turning back into Stanley Printwhistle.  And since Stanley didn’t actually sell his soul to the devil, he could reform and try to be a decent human being.  Granted, he also could be manipulated into becoming Ibac, even having the evil spirits that empower him doing it for him from time to time.  He would even be a member of the original Monster Society of Evil, and since DC acquired the rights to the Fawcett characters, can appear among villain groups in some stories.

But then there’s the New 52/Rebirth era, one that saw a whole new Ibac.  The original was a barbaric ruler of Kahndaq until he was killed by Black Adam in ancient times, but then in modern times a descendant tried to take over Kahndaq as well.  He also met Black Adam.

It did not go well.

So, that’s Ibac, basically another “Shazam Captain Marvel type but evil” sort of character.  There were a lot of them, but hey, if a gimmick works, use it.