by Nicolas Juzda
During the first half of the second year of the comic series The Power Of Shazam, the heroic Captain Marvel battled an invasion staged by the telepathic worms of Venus.
The details of that story are complex, and for present purposes largely irrelevant. What is relevant is writer Jerry Ordway's decision to present some of the aliens' dialogue in "Venusian". He also presented on the letters pages of these issues "intercepted transmissions" from the Venusians in their native tongue.
Sadly, this Venusian gimmick was not revived in the Monster Society of Evil arc later in the title's run, when the Venusian worms returned. It was used only during that initial confrontation.
The Venusian language presented in The Power Of Shazam used a made-up alphabet as a simple cypher for English letters, much like Interlac. What that means is that the only difference between English and Venusian is the way the letters look; grammar, vocabulary, even spelling are all the same under that cypher.
This makes translating it a simple task if you know the cypher, and only a mildly more difficult one if you don't.
As a promotional gimmick, readers were invited to send away for decoder cards which would allow them to translate the Venusian dialogue. I myself purchased these comics long after the promotion had presumably elapsed (though for all I know DC will still send you a decoder if you ask) and thus had to crack the cypher myself. However, since I crack simple cyphers for fun, this simply meant a bit of an extra challenge for me.
For those of Fanzing's readers who followed The Power Of Shazam but either never cracked the cypher (either on their own or via the decoder card) or simply didn't bother with the somewhat tedious job of transcribing all the Venusian into English, I now present the result of such efforts. You can find out everything from the television viewing habits of telepathic worms to the disturbingly lustful reaction Mr. Mind had when temporarily controlling a woman, all without having to do any of the work. Just grab your old issues and follow along.
If you don't own the issues of The Power Of Shazam in question, then what follows won't make much sense. Sorry.
The Power Of Shazam #13
Panel One: "No. Too slow."
Panel Two: "My host has been transported away." / "Must re-establish contact, or all is lost." / "Wait."
Panel Three: "You- stupid one. You will take me where I wish to go."
Panel Four: "Oww! Watch it! I still ache from being stepped on by that stupid girl."
Panel Two: "This Marvel Family is starting to get on my nerves!"
Panel Three: "Ouch! Hey brainless! Come pick me up!"
Panel Four: "There, now run!"
Panel Five: "That's it- ditch this loser, brainless!"
Panel One: "This is where my host was taken."
Panel Two: "Curses! Let me down, stupid!"
Panel Five: "Quit yapping and take me to the elevator, 'stoopid'." / "Hey! You're shaking me loose."
Panel Two: "Curses! I've been found out!"
Panel Three: "Oooh, baby."
Panel Five/Six: "To the right, baby."
Panel Three: "Drat. My host is sealed off from me."
Panel Four: "Drastic times call for drastic measures."
Panel Three: "This one will have to do. He is old..."
Panel Five: "But I will only need him for a short time."
Letter Column message
"If Mr. Mind is back, can Thaddeus Sivana be far behind?"
The Power Of Shazam #14
This issue did not contain any Venusian.
The Power Of Shazam #15
Panel Two: "Ah! At last nourishment!"
Panel Three: "Drat! It never fails!"
Panel Four: "It's going to wake up the old prune and here I am in another room!"
Panel One: "Don't say anything stupid, you old bag of bones!"
Panel Two: "Ah- within control range again."
Panel Four: "Our calls have been answered- at last he is with us."
Panel Three: "Do not alarm him. It will be easier if he comes willingly."
Letter Column Message
"Attention large limbed vertebrates of the third planet from the sun. We Venusians are superior to you in every way! Resistance is useless! Prepare to be utterly conquered by your betters! By the way, has the Bulletman TV show switched channels? We haven't been receiving it too well lately. Do not deceive us, for soon we will be your masters!"
The Power Of Shazam #16
Letter Column Message
"Earthlings! We know you now possess a translation device! Listen closely. Your Captain Marvel has become one of us! Invasion is imminent! Lay out large bowls of sugar and coffee grinds for us and we may go easy on you when we have conquered your silly blue planet! And raise all the thermostats to ninety degrees! We require much heat! Disobey at your own peril!"
The Power Of Shazam #17
Letter Column Message
"Earthers. Our surviving brother will make you pay! Weeee willll beeee aavvvennnged!"
The Power Of Shazam #18
Panel One: "With my incredible abilities, I must have a superior shell!"
Panel Two: "Forget those infernal Marvels. This old one possesses superior strength and wisdom!"
Panel Two: "Go ahead and fight me, old man. I'll turn your brain to mush!"
Panel Four: "Nooooo. The horror. The horror."
Letter One: "Voicebox" and "Speak"
Reply One: "Speaking" and "Possesses"
Next Issue: "Plastic Man fans, stay tuned for issue twenty-one!"
Fiction editor Nicolas Juzda
is currently studying law in Saskatchewan. He fills the void that was left in
his soul by contributing to Fanzing. He has twice been among the winners in
the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2002 by Nicolas Juzda
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.
Fanzing site version 7.4