The Maddest Scientist of them all!
Shazam!, the next Warner Bros. and DC Film after this year’s Aquaman, is filming in Toronto. That means, there have been plenty of leaks to go around. Characters in costume, action-sequences and tons of excitement! Oh, and our best look yet at Mark Strong’s portrayal of one of the oldest comic villains of all time, Dr. Sivana. While many were holding out hope that Strong would somehow get to play Sinestro again, he’s still playing one of the greatest villains of all time. Dr. Sivana is as sinister as it gets. In fact, he’s one of the most influential villains of all time.
He’s the original Mad Scientist, after all.
Sivana’s oddly shaped head and thick-rimmed glasses have been on the comic page just as long as Shazam, and almost as long as Superman. He’s always found new and innovative ways to plague Captain Marvel and his family. Enough to make him the central villain in the upcoming film. So to prepare for Mark Strong’s undoubtedly awesome performance, here are five fast facts about the sinister scientist, Dr. Sivana!
1. Dr. Sivana was created in 1940, but fell out of print in the 50’s due to a lawsuit between Fawcett Publications and National Comics (now DC).
Dr. Sivana and Shazam made quite the team. At one point, they even outsold Superman. But all good things must come to an end…sometimes it’s a lengthy end. Dr. Sivana and the Shazam family fell out of print when National Comics (DC Comics) sued Fawcett Publications over similarities between Superman and Shazam. The legal battle lasted 12 years, and led to the complete dissolution of Captain Marvel’s original publisher. Considering the origin of the character was one of the Fawcett publishers saying, “Give me a Superman, but make him a 10 year old boy,” the results of the lawsuit make a lot of sense. In the 70’s DC bought the franchise rights to the character and added Shazam/Captain Marvel, and Dr. Sivana, into the DC Universe.
2. He is, essentially, the first Mad Scientist. With no superpowers, he plagues the Captain Marvel family with the power of invention.
Does Sivana look familiar? He should. Because he’s one of the first ever versions of the “Mad Scientist” archetype. The non-superpowered evil-doer who conjures mysterious machines in his laboratory. Even though they were created the same year, he shares a lot of similarities with Lex Luthor. No powers, an inferiority complex, he’s bald. Plenty of similarities. But Lex Luthor has never been your typical scientist. Then again, neither is Dr. Sivana. While some signs point to Sivana gaining powers somehow in the film, expect Sivana’s power of invention to be the reason he has them.
3. Dr. Sivana has three children: sons Magnificus and Thaddeus Jr. and a daughter named Georgia.
While they probably won’t be showing up for his first film, Captain Marvel/Shazam has a rather large family. So it made sense for Dr. Sivana to have a family of his own! Most recently, Grant Morrison resurrected the entire family (as seen above) for his incredible Multiversity series. When the children utter Sivana’s name they’re imbued with the same powers the Shazam family have. Unsurprisingly, even the Sivana children are obsessed with not having powers. But the Sivana children weren’t always bad. In older iterations, daughter Georgia is a lab assistant who isn’t exactly aware of her father’s criminal actions.
4. In Multiversity, Dr. Sivana gathered his Parallel Universe selves in an attempt to destroy the entire Multiverse! Only to be betrayed…by himself.
If you can’t get something done right, you have to do it yourselves. At least that’s what Dr. Sivana thought when he became a major villain towards the end of the Grant Morrison series. His plan wasn’t just to destroy an entire world, or a Universe, it was to destroy an entire Multiverse. Employing multiple versions of himself in an effort to subvert the efforts of the Justice Leagues of the Multiverse. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned. As it turned out, a few of the Sivana’s weren’t so keen on not existing anymore. So Sivana’s plans ended up being thwarted by none other than Sivana himself. Leave it to a genius like Grant Morrison to come up with a story as fun as that.
5. Dr. Sivana’s name is the combination of the god Shiva and the term, nirvana.
Dr. Sivana was also created by Captain Marvel’s creators, C.C. Beck and Bill Parker. While the character might seem like a typical arch-nemesis, his name is anything but. It’s a combination of the name of the Hindu god Shiva and the term Nirvana, which is a place of perfection or bliss. Like a lot of the most extreme villains, Sivana started out as a good guy. He was a scientist who only wanted to help the world with his inventions. But big business and bureaucracy drove the simple scientist into a mad one. Sivana then went to Venus before coming back to Earth to fight Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam, and the rest of his family.
Dr. Sivana doesn’t seem to reflect the ideals of Shiva; nor does he seem to be trying to create a nirvana. But since Shiva is the “Supreme being” it makes sense for the character to have the classic villain’s inferiority complex. Hopefully, Mark Strong can channel some of the rage into a wonderful performance in next year’s Shazam!