Capes on the Couch Transcripts Issue 171 – SHAZAM! Transcript

Issue 171 – SHAZAM! Transcript

Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch where Come get counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko.

Doc Issues: And I’m Dr. Isue.

Anthony: We are so sorry that we missed you last week. It has been quite a time in the Sytko and issues households. To say the


Doc Issues: let’s, let’s be real. It was the issues household. Okay, I’ll, I’ll take full,

pretty busy, man.

The, the sits were busy as well, but you know, and then we were on vacation and then came back and a lot of stuff going on. So sincerest apologies for the delay. We wanted to get this one to you last week and it just, it wasn’t gonna happen. But we’re here, we’re back. Sorry we missed you. And happy belated fifth anniversary to us because we recorded so many episodes before and we weren’t exactly sure where they were gonna line up with the calendar.

And then all of a sudden I was like, oh, snap. First week in March was the fifth anniversary. We’ve been doing this show for five years officially.

Wow. That is so cool.

Anthony: Officially and formally five years. It’s man. Yeah, I, I just, yeah, that’ll probably be its own separate thing. Maybe we’ll get a, a round number episode and we’ll take a look at five years.

We’ll do a, I don’t know, an AMA or something, but anyway, so normally I would say this is the part where to tie in with the movie that’s coming out this week. We’re doing this episode, but to tie in with the movie that came out just the other day, we are covering Shazam, a k a, the original, original Captain Marvel.


normally for the background, I tend to focus on. The in universe history of the character, glossing over a lot of the real meat and potato stuff. And just kind of giving you the, the highlights. For this one, there’s very little that I’m going to tell you in terms of the in universe stories, and I am going to talk mostly about the ridiculously complicated legal history of the character of Shazam slash Captain Marvel.

Because from my perspective, and this may be a bit blasphemous, the stuff that surrounds all of the drama that surrounds his creation and the ownership is way more fascinating than the character himself. Just, I


Doc Issues: yeah, I, I’m with you. I think this may be the first time. Not even with the stories themselves, just the entire fact that Shazam exists as is today should be hashtag, because comics.

Anthony: Oh, absolutely. This whole Gorum thing is hashtag because comics. So let’s get started. Shazam originally, captain Marvel, Billy Batson, created by Bill Parker and CC Beck in Wiz Comics. Number 2 19 40. So he was technically created the end of 1939. There was some Ashcan comics just for the trademark purposes, but the first real nationwide distribution of the comic that introduced Billy Batson was in February of 1940.

So he was originally designed as six superheroes, each one with the power of a mythical figure, but, Bill and Ccq said, that’s a lot. We’re not gonna introduce six heroes. Why don’t we just make them one character and give him all of the powers? So Billy Batson is a 12 year old orphan who can transform into a superhero called Captain Marvel by speaking the word Shazam, which is an acronym of the six immortal elders slash gods who gave him his power.

Solomon Wisdom, Hercules strength, Atlas stamina, Zeus power, Achilles courage, and Mercury speed. He was a flying brick before Superman had all of those abilities. Plus, he’s magical, which not to go off on too much of a tangent, but magic is one of Superman’s biggest weaknesses. It’s right up there with kryptonite and so, Whenever Superman battles magical characters, there’s always that aspect of it.

And if you’ve ever read Kingdom Come, or you watched the Justice League cartoons, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But we’ll get into that later. So later issues introduced members of the extended Marvel family who shared Billy’s powers. There was Captain Marvel, Jr. Whose real name was Freddie Freeman.

It was Mary Marvel, Billy’s twin sister Mary, and others, as well as his nees black Adam, Dr. Savanna, Mr. Mine, and more Black Adam, as you well know, we already did the episode on him. Go back and listen to that episode. If you want to learn more about black Adam. Here’s the thing. In the forties, captain Marvel was more popular than Superman, and at one point was selling over a million copies per issue.

Per issue. Ooh. These, these issues came out biweekly. So yes, every two weeks, Fawcett comics, the publisher was selling over a million copies. You realize like the best selling comic books today, 2023, the best selling comic books are lucky if they hit like 50,000 an issue. Right. That’s, that’s due in gangbuster numbers.

If you’re selling 50,000 an issue today. Yep, yep. In 1940s, over a million per issue. It’s nuts because, I mean, you know, from a sociological standpoint, you have to remember, like television was like just beginning radio was very much a thing. You had films, the, the serials. You know, not cereal, breakfast cereal, but the serialized films were a big thing.

I know that there was a serialized mm-hmm. movie about Captain Marvel. He was everywhere. He was every, every Teen idol, pop star, movie star, whatever that you can think of, rolled into one for kids and adults. He was more popular than like BTS or , you know? I mean like Dock Andary gonna Aada like he was bigger than NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.

Yeah, yeah. Bigger than New kids. New Edition, Jackson Five. I’m like throwing out all like the dear groups to go back to the different generations so that you understand, you get a concept, you get an idea of just. How popular Captain Marvel was. And then 1941 National Comics, a precursor to DC sued Fawcett Comics for copyright infringement because they claimed Captain Marvel was too similar to Superman, who had been created in 1938 by Sail and Schuster.

So this is where things really start to get hairy. DC lost the initial lawsuit. They filed an appeal. They won that appeal. And in 1953, Fawcett settled. 12 years later, Fawcett settled the lawsuit with DC monetarily because by this point, the Captain Marvel books weren’t selling nearly as well. So they said, you know what?

We’re gonna stop publishing. And I mean, they went from all of that to nothing to zero. No Captain Marvel, no Shazam, no nothing, no Billy, no Mary, no talkie, Tawny, no black Adam, nobody.

Doc Issues: Wow. So, so basically they, they pretty much must have been funded by the equivalent of Silicon Valley Bank.

Anthony: Boy, you’re just really going hyper topical right now.

Hey, that’s, that’s fair. So, Fawcett Comics was still in business, but not doing great because they couldn’t do Captain Marvel books. So they didn’t really have a whole lot else going on. In 1967, the trademark to the phrase, captain Marvel had lapsed. And at this point now, Marvel Comics created their own character named Captain Marvel, and secured the trademark.

Now, this was Marvel. Not to be confused with any of the other numerous characters named Captain Marvel that have subsequently followed suit. And that’s why there’s all those characters that continue to carry on the legacy name of Captain Marvel because now Marvel has the trademark and they’re not letting go.

So in 1972, DC comics, formerly national now at this point, formally DC comics licensed the characters from Fawcett, but was unable to name the book Captain Marvel due to Marvel Comics. Trademark. A little bit confusing. Follow along. The characters could retain their names, but they weren’t allowed to call the book Captain Marvel, so they called the book Shazam.

So then in the 1970s, the Marvel family was established on Earth S in the DC multiverse with occasional crossovers. But they were very much their own thing until crisis on Infinite Earth, 1985, and that’s when they were fully integrated into the streamlined new Earth. So in 1994, the power of Shazam was a graphic novel that re conned the backstory.

His parents were archeologists killed by their associate, Theo Adam, who stole a magic scarab. Theo becomes black Adam, who realizes who Billy is after determining he looks just like his father again. You can go listen to the Black Adam episode for a little more on that. Then he plays a critical role in Kingdom Come where he famously squares off against Superman.

He joined the J S A in the early two thousands to keep black Adam in check and in the new 52 after DC rebooted everything. He was officially renamed Shazam since the book couldn’t be called Captain Marvel anyway, and the Marvel family was renamed the Shazam family. So all. Of the other members of that family were now kids that were other foster children alongside Billy.

So Billy retained his youthful nature, but he was a little more cynical than previously written. Somewhere in the, I wanna say the eighties is when we see the establishment that when Billy transforms into Shazam, he still acts like a child. Prior to this, Billy and Captain Marvel slash Shazam were really two different personalities that Billy was a kid, but when he transformed it was a grownup.

It wasn’t until about the eighties that they, that one of the writers, and I forget which one, cause I forgot to make a note, said he’s gonna transform physically, but not mentally. Mentally. He’s still 12 years old and Billy. Was selected by the Wizard, which I didn’t even really get into that, but Billy was selected by the Wizard Shaza because he was pure of heart and he was supposed to be this fantastic, great hero.

So that’s where the whole g golly Wilker’s persona came from that had carried forward. And again, if you watch the Justice Lee cartoon, you know what I’m talking about. So they made him a little bit more cynical. And he’s not this Pollyanna character anymore. He’s very much, people can be good, but they, they often don’t.

And it’s this jaded ish version of the character that is the basis for the film that is the version of Billy that they use for the, the Zachary Levi. Characterization, when he’s a kid. And, and then when, when he transforms. And there’s a new series coming out in June written by Mark Wade who I imagine is probably going to do a really great job with it, cause it’s Mark Wade, and he’s fantastic at everything that he writes.

so now that we’ve spent the majority of the time talking about the legal history and very little about the character itself, let’s delve into the issues. So the theme first, Shazam is more than you think you are, which Doc pointed out is not just a great concept, it’s also the title of a Matchbox 20 album.

Doc Issues: Hey man, I, I freaking love that album, but it, it is definitely relevant to, to the issues that I’ll talk about.

Anthony: That’s fair. So the first one is something that is referenced. In one of the newer runs, Shazam the Wizard selects a child to be the world’s greatest hero.

That is an incredible burden to place on such young shoulders, and I forget which character it is. As soon as they find out that Shazam is actually a kid who can transform, they make a beeline for the wizard. And they’re basically saying, the hell are you thinking, giving a kid this responsibility?

Doc Issues: And yet, when you look at history, you could see plenty of instances where old kingdoms were ruled by teenagers.

It happens not currently, not in modern times, but forget that. Forget the the ruling thing or whatever I’ve had to endure. And yes, this is tangent coming. I had to endure. All of this stuff about LeBron James becoming the all-time leading scorer in the nba, and I’m one of those people that actually defends him and stuff, even though I think Michael Jordan is like the greatest player I’ve ever seen in my life, but I get it.

But the thing that is incredibly impressive about that is this kid has been under the microscope, and I know he is not a kid anymore. He’s close to Anthony and our’s age actually. He had been pointed out from an incredibly young age to be that person and he exceeded the types of expectations.

Even someone that has that put on them would ever expect to achieve. That is an incredible thing, and that is so incredibly rare that I’m willing to put up with all the annoying pomp and circumstance around all of that. It’s great when it works out in society. The point of this that I’m trying to make is, I’m glad we have those really upstanding beacons because.

For the most part, doing this to a child, and I’m saying to a child, not for a child, doing this to a child can have some major ramifications. Children are meant to explore. Children are meant to be protected from things that are going to seriously hurt them. Children are meant to make mistakes. If you place a child into a situation where they don’t appreciate those main facts that I just mentioned, there can be a lot of misinterpretation that happens, and if that happens, then there emotional maturity also gets affected.

So it’s not just whether or not they’re able to do the things that you want them to, it’s how are they going to be able to process everything that happens afterwards in terms of consequence, in terms of. Endurance because it’s one thing to do something well one time, but then when something is either a calling, a profession, a vocation, whatever other synonyms you wanna name, and it’s expected every day for an extended period of time of your life that might have a certain level of discipline that’s necessary, that is supposed to be instilled by the adults around that child.

And if that doesn’t happen, then the child may or may not find a way to substitute other things for it. Those other things are more than likely, as I’ve said so many times in this podcast, going to come from its peer group. If that’s the case that it’s wild cards, you have no idea what’s going to happen with that child.

So I know I’m talking about a lot of things that sound almost derogatory towards doing things that way. I’m not saying it has to go that direction either. It can be incredibly positive. If a child has the sense that they have enough space where they can explore things in a healthy way, able to do things at a low stakes level, where they can show what happens when you don’t do things exactly the way they should and appreciate the fact that they’ll have other opportunities to continue to get better, then that allows for healthy growth, that allows for the development of relationships, both with their peers and with other adults that aren’t going to produce increased level of trauma.

So the opportunity, if someone has things that are pointed out to be incredible talents and they’re fostered in a way that allows them sometimes to surprise people in directions that weren’t originally expected, and the adults are able to recognize that there’s another path that maybe wasn’t originally in the game plan.

All right. A child can go ahead and. Surprise people for the for the better instead of for the worse. I don’t wanna make it sound like I only come down one way or another on this. I’m just saying that if you really are going to put that level of pressure, recognize that you are stepping up to the plate as much as the child is.

And if you’re not willing to do that, if you’re not willing to match that level of intensity, dedication, and discipline, then this is gonna potentially do some not so nice things.

Anthony: So you might say you would feel unwell.

Nice. Nice. I, I had to look that up because I didn’t remember the track listing for the album. So the second issue, and I think. Directly follows up on this then is he doesn’t have parents to help him with this burden. He’s an orphan. He’s going through foster care, so he creates his own found family, and this is a little bit more of a thing in the later runs than originally created, but he knows that he has to have a support system around him, but it’s not one that is inherent to him.

So he has to go out and find these people and then he not just shares his life with them, he shares his powers with them, ultimately, so that each of them becomes a hero in their own right.

Doc Issues: Yeah. You know, it’s

interesting because throughout my career I’ve heard people use the term work spouse. Whatever. And I’ve actually used that myself a couple of times, but not commonly. It, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a work environment, but even with friends, I love the idea and I’ve received some pushback in my personal life about this.

I’m not gonna go into too much detail. Friends are the family that you pick, and to me that is one of the greatest blessings on this planet. So I’m going to look at this as a positive. it’s unfortunate that many people don’t have the opportunity to have parents or guardians, or if they do they’re abusive or ne negligence in any case I think everyone understands the reasons why that’s detri.

But in a very perverse way, it’s also an opportunity you get to pick from an incredible cast of people around you. Now, mind you, the selection may be limited due to the circumstances. If you really have no one else around, then of course you can’t pick anyone. But especially with Billy, it wasn’t like that.

So it could extend his reach and actually make connections with those that may not have even been from a similar background. And, and we’ve had other episodes where we’ve talked about how sometimes those differences can be incredibly endearing. Even the start of, initiating a relationship with someone.

Or it can be just commonalities, familiar environments, same interests, whatever it is. The beauty of it all is there’s no one way to make those types of connections. And then depending on just how much energy a person puts into that, or the circumstances that bring people together, it’s interesting to see how other people end up making connections amongst themselves when you are around.

And I’ve always thought that thing, that, that experience, that’s what I love looking at. I remember someone telling me this in high school and it stuck with me because I, I think some people might view it as a detriment, but I think it’s a strength. Sometimes my world is watching others go by and I love it.

I love seeing people and how they interact with each other regardless of how they’re interacting with me. And so when you get. People. Let’s say one person is best friends with someone else, but then this other person doesn’t really know them, but then they get introduced as mutual friends and whatnot.

Sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes it becomes even stronger than the original two bonds themselves with that other person, whatever it is. I love those opportunities because there are no limits. You don’t have to worry about biology getting in the way. You weren’t thrown around in, and I’ve used this term before, the genetic lottery, the vaginal lottery, whatever you want to call it.

None of that matters. Everything that you do, the things you say, the time you spend together, the motivations and goals that you decide to put forth, it’s all you and the other person That is so amazing if you allow it to be, because that can be manipulated. That can be gas lit, that can be completely ignored and it can be destroyed.

So there is the other side to that as well. But in this case, I appreciate the fact that although we identify it as an issue because of where it started, I’m glad. It’s what I think a virtue because of how it’s

going and that is the difference.

Anthony: Yeah. Friends, as found family, you and I have no, no knowledge of that. None whatsoever. . No, it’s a, it’s a foreign concept, brother. So. Amen brother. So the last one, it’s kind of an interesting. Billy serves as the functional avatar of six gods across various Pantheons, six immortal beings, eighties elders.

Whatever terminology you want to use, Billy is functionally serving as their avatar. Now, we’ve spoken about characters serving his avatars before for different spiritual entities, deities whatever. Dr. Fate was one. Moon Knight is famously another one for Khonshu. Different characters that serve a higher purpose and are beholden to a singular driving force.

Billy has six and they’ve each bestowed him with a different power, but that also means that. Is responsible for carrying on the legacy of six gods. And again, as a child, but even as an adult, that is quite the responsibility to have and that carries a host of very interesting ramifications. Yeah.

Doc Issues: So imagine the multiple spheres of your life where it’s not just that you understand you hold some responsibility, you are the last line.

This could take many forms. It can be cultural. Imagine that you have two parents of two very different backgrounds and they made it work cuz opposites attract. But, well, you can’t be the opposite of yourself . So I hesitate to do this because I know it could be a hot button issue, but you could picture someone saying that they were going to, end up being a priest or something like that.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the family, they have someone who’s completely non-religious and they pointed out, by the way, you were supposed to be the head of this organization, and I’m disappointed that you took that route, even though it’s a very literally a holy route. Like you just threw away part of who you are.

Like that, that’s rough. And that’s just two, you know, I’m just giving that as an example. You could imagine a person that has done different things in their life where because of their abilities or, or just their natural talents or interests, they rise in the ranks. There are many social organizations where that’s possible.

Some of them have overlap. And it’s just a matter of time. I’m not saying a matter of time colloquially. I’m saying how do you devote time to multiple things that are incredibly important and you are placed in an important role. You’re not just a bystander in it. You’re expected to be ahead of an organization or ahead of a committee.

And in addition to that, you have your main job where you’re also, a manager. And on top of that, you’re the coach of your kid’s softball team. Like all of these different things all at once, where if you bow out of any of them, you feel like you’re a disappointment, and yet you know that if you do too much at once, you’ll spread yourself too thin and you simply won’t do as good a job.

So now you’re back to the juggling act of spinning the plates all at once and just trying to make sure none of them fall off completely. I can’t imagine. The idea that you’re doing that just for yourself and for those, and by the way, the whole point of this is these are things that are meaningful to you.

I don’t wanna make it sound like you’re just doing it for the sake of doing it. Like, if any of these things drop off, you feel like you’re, you’re losing a part of yourself. That’s part of your identity, part of your purpose. If you lose too many of those things, then you feel less of a, as a human being, and that has emotional consequences.

If you do too much of one of the particular things, then you become too myopic and you end up neglecting everything by default. If you try and do everything exactly the same all at once, then you become jack of all trades, master of non incredibly mediocre, and people call you out on it. What I’m getting at is there is no one right answer for this, but you’re not getting away from it.

These are guaranteed consequences, and if that is the expectation of what you’re dealing with, because you’re good. Then to go back to the other issues, you might wanna make sure you have a good circle around you so that you feel supported. And you might wanna make sure that if you are going to continue this type of legacy, that you give that person a room where they don’t have to be put in the exact same spot you were, cuz you know how it feels.

So there’s plenty of variability and I think it’s the spice of life. I think it’s wonderful. I know for a fact that many parents or children or whoever you are in those situations are like, oh yeah, you think it’s so great while you actually try it. So I’m not trying to be too indifferent about it, but I, I’m just saying it’s, it’s okay sometimes to embrace the suck for a little bit so that you can get the fruits of the labor afterwards.

Anthony: Yep. And. To the gods, I believe Billy would say, you’re so real. I think we’re gonna have to link the album so that people understand exactly what it is that I’m talking about

Doc Issues: And they’ll be better off for it. It’s a great album. I’m serious.

Anthony: Okay. I understand. So we’re going to move away from Rob Thomas and friends, and we’re going to take a break for a couple of shows and we get back, we’ll get into treatment. Stay tuned.

And we’re back. So treatment.

As we call down the lightning and transform into Shazam, let’s talk about what the in universe treatment would be for Mr. Batson.

Doc Issues: So this is gonna sound strange, but I think I need to duplicate his sessions. What I mean by that is I would want to ask the exact same questions to Billy as a child and Billy transformed as Shazam because, and with permission, I would record those and then I would. The third session, be comparing and contrasting those two sessions themselves.

Because I do believe that a human being can be their own best therapist if they develop the awareness of what they’re looking for. So that type of meta-analysis would really give an opportunity for a developing adult to work on things that they may not have even considered before. And I’m a guide to that.

So I think that’s a great opportunity. It’s not confrontational. I don’t have to say one is better than the other. I don’t have to put that type of pressure. And I think it would allow Billy to open up more to himself, literally. So I think that’s worth a shot,

Anthony: but I’m. I’m just trying to follow, I like conceptually the idea, but Billy, I don’t know that he would answer the questions differently as a child versus an adult. Cuz he is the same person. It’s not, we’re not operating under the the, you know, the old school way that they’re separate.

Doc Issues: Right. And here’s what I’m getting at, and I’m glad you pointed it out because it’s not contradictory to what I said.

Right now we’re recording. You’re in your house wearing a t-shirt, not a problem. Put on a suit. You’re presenting something, you’re an attorney. I ask you the same questions. You are still who you are. There is no question about it. And I’m not even saying that it’s relevant to whether or not they’re legal questions.

I’m not even saying it’s your job. I’m saying I ask you certain question. You may not pick up on it in the moment, but if I recorded you that way versus just chilling around your house, there’s a difference. I almost guarantee it. Not fully guarantee you may be right, but I almost guarantee that you would hear a difference in cadence, difference in emotion, difference in you know, everything.

And if that’s the case, what can you learn from it? Maybe nothing. Maybe it truly is like there is nothing to glean from it, but I’d be shocked, absolutely shocked if that were the case.

Anthony: No, that, and that’s fair. I guess I hadn’t really considered that part of it. You are correct. I think that’s a natural thing that we play to our audience, or at least we present different facets of ourselves.

And we’ve spoken about that numerous times on the show, whether it’s code switching, whether it’s just talking. In different ways to different people. Obviously we speak to our spouse very differently than we speak to our children. Then we speak to our coworkers, then we speak to our parents, that we speak to a stranger on the street. It’s all still

us, but we, but

Doc Issues: right, but do we ever speak to ourselves?

Anthony: I mean, I talk to myself all the time, but ,

Doc Issues: right, right. No, no, I get it. I get it. I’m not, I’m not even trying to imply psychotic. I’m saying that’s, that’s a point though. That’s a point that you always have the opportunity to do that in a way that can be constructive for yourself. And in all honesty, the best description I heard of this was a episode of the Tim Ferris podcast where he had Bill Burr who describes going through therapy.

And he says, even though he doesn’t necessarily actively go now, he will say, after conversations, We they intense be they after a show, be it funny or whatever, they’ll say, so how’d that go? You know, what, what else is there? And not even in a, in a self criticizing way, but just in an exploratory way.

And I think we all can do that better. and just having the, the idea that you have this other superhero version of yourself, which by the way, if you ever read the book Superhero Therapy you know, it’s, no, I’m just saying it’s a wonderful opportunity. And, and for in universe, I’m like, go for it, dude. Let’s, let’s really do this.

Anthony: Okay. I, huh. Because I definitely have, have talked to myself and questioned. Things went done, like an internal postmortem, if you will, after conversations or a situation whenever. But I’ve never done it talking to myself or asking myself a question, putting myself in the head space of a superhero.

And I think that is something that might appeal to our listeners then saying, Hey, if you have this super powerful version of yourself, you have this invulnerable version of yourself, or even just this stronger, more courageous, more outgoing, more whatever version of yourself, how would they handle it? And maybe use that internal dialogue slash monologue.

Is it a, is it a dialogue? Are you talking to yourself, even though you’re different versions of you? I don’t know how that works. Yeah, there’s that, that gets into philosophy and I’m not, I’m not about that life, but that’s a really intriguing concept. I, I really like that. So, out of universe then, we’re obviously not dealing with powers, but we’ve got, I mean, a young kid with more responsibility than they probably should have, foster kid, et cetera.

There’s, they’re still out there. And I know you obviously don’t deal with child psychology, but I’m curious to see where you would go with this. Yeah.

Doc Issues: My limitation is in emergency room or hospital settings when absolutely necessary. So I’ll admit that I am not a child psychiatrist in terms of board certification.

So please take this with a grain of salt. Having said that, I still am a psychiatrist. So the thing that I would focus on first is just where the child is at. Is this something that is active in their mind? Is this child truly looking for that parental figure? How are they filling in that gap? Who are they filling that gap with?

If it’s heavily focused purely on immediate interactions, more so with peers than with other adults, then that’s something to be mindful of. If it’s all adults and no peers, that’s also something to be mindful of is the event that led to them being a foster person related to a traumatic event. Not all situations are that traumatic in the sense that maybe they never knew that those parents biologically and therefore, They don’t have that type of connection, and they simply have a loving foster family that continues to care for them.

Okay, great. Keep it up. In other words, don’t make an issue outta something where there is no direct problem. You can explore it to make sure you’re not missing anything, but you don’t automatically just assume. And I’ll admit, I hesitate because sometimes I, I see clinicians try to interject their own repeated experience with negative foster situations that they start getting that jaded lens.

And I, I caution against that making sure that the child has their basic needs met, making sure that they are developing their sense of self and self-esteem. And then of course, The thing that I usually point out with any developmental situation is you realize we all become, provided we live long enough, we all become adults, right?

It’s kind of inevitable as long as you’re alive. So from that standpoint, also as an adult psychiatrist, not forgetting that a person’s previous experiences have helped shape who they are right now, and I learned that lesson this week actually. Obviously for HIPAA’s sake, can’t give names or any other major details, but the point was the person was in my hospital for a certain reason and then when the person was ready to be discharged, they asked the question, but what about, and they basically did an info dump of years and years and years of.

Abuse in and out of foster systems. And so as a clinician, we hate what we call the the doorknob situation, which is you have the entire session or meetings and all that stuff, or in this case a hospitalization. And then like as the person’s at the door ready to turn a knob, like, oh, and by the way, so we are used to that.

We handle it. But at the same time we recognize, usually it’s a reach out to say, I know there’s something that’s still unresolved and this may be my one opportunity to make it. Right. So the job of the clinician at that point is to reassure the patient. As long as they want to continue to work on something, they can continue to work on something regardless of the setting.

In this case, the person wasn’t a danger to themselves or others and you know, they were able to. To be discharged, but just the acknowledgement that what has happened in the past may still be there and it helps shape who you are. It doesn’t shape who you stay. So sometimes it’s just acknowledgement. That is the thing on the person’s mind when it comes to that type of background.

And I admit that unless I actively search for it, I may not always find it. And I was lucky this time I’ll, I’m fully willing to admit it. I was lucky that the person mentioned it, but it shouldn’t be about luck. It’s why we call this practice because I know it’s something that I need to keep a better eye out for.

Anthony: Well, acknowledgement is such an important part of. Every problem solving because you can’t solve a problem until you identify what it is. So I also think that maybe don’t beat yourself up or, or not beat yourself up, but you know what I mean. don’t, don’t be so down on yourself over that because you are not a mind reader.

You don’t have the ability to pause and, and do research on this person and, and figure out every single little thing aspect of their backstory before they come to you, or as they’re sitting down with you. You have to take them at their work. You have to take them as they are, as they present themselves, and that is no one’s.

I don’t even wanna say it’s their own fault, but it’s certainly not yours. So, yeah.

Doc Issues: Yeah, I agree with that. I agree with that. It’s not a matter of fault it’s a matter of circumstance.

Anthony: And I, I acknowledge that. I also understand that in that kind of setting, you’re probably not gonna get the best version of that person anyway.

So there’s no guarantee that even in a less pressurized, I don’t wanna say hostile, but less pressurized situation, that they still wouldn’t have those defenses up. You get defenses like that from someone who just walks into a therapist’s office. So, I, I understand where you’re coming from, but I also wouldn’t sweat it too hard to say, well, you know, it’s, gosh, I, I could have caught this sooner.

You do the best that you can with what you’re given. Every single day and never forget that. And that goes for every single one of our listeners as well. You do the best you can with what you have. Sometimes you have a lot at at your disposal. Sometimes you’re trying to MacGyver your way through the day.

But the key takeaway is that you have to allow yourself grace to survive. And the same goes for Billy, and the same goes for every single one of you. Show yourself grace. Allow yourself the space to make those mistakes and to say, you know what? I did the best I could. If I made a mistake, I’ll own it and I’ll do better next time.

If you know better, do better. But acknowledge that and then use it to make yourself better. If you’re gonna take that experience, use it as a, as a refining tool and not a bludgeon for self-harm, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, what have you. So that’s my tip to you. Don’t beat yourself up, doc.

It’s not your fault. Thank you. Thank you. So all of that being said, and with the help of our friend’s son, let’s see what happens when we get Billy Batson on Dr. Ish’s couch.

  • DOC: Hello Shazam, I’m Dr. Issues.
  • BILLY: Oh please, just call me Billy.
  • DOC: Hi, Billy! Wassup. Hi five! 
  • BILLY: Ok, you’re trying too hard.
  • DOC: What? 
  • BILLY: I can tell you think I’m cool, but Just call me Billy…and you can put your hand down.
  • DOC: Crash and burn. *muttering* Nice one, doc. *normal voice* So Billy, what can I do for you? 
  • BILLY: Are you the one that writes prescriptions and stuff? I don’t really need that.
  • DOC: Yes…but I don’t tend to write many for kids unless it’s absolutely necessary. Are you having trouble with school? 
  • BILLY: No.
  • DOC: At home? 
  • BILLY: Nope.
  • DOC: With friends? 
  • BILLY: It’s complicated. 
  • DOC: Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere. So what’s going on with your friends? 
  • BILLY: Not much.
  • DOC:*pause* Sooooo…it’s not a problem, really? 
  • BILLY: Not anything you can do about it.
  • DOC:Try me. 
  • BILLY: Can you make them younger?
  • DOC:No. 
  • BILLY: Can you make them understand me?
  • DOC:Ummm…not directly 
  • BILLY: See? Waste of time.
  • DOC:Hold it! I’m not giving up yet. 
  • BILLY: Cool.
  • DOC:*pause, desperate* Uhhhhh…what games do you like? 
  • BILLY: Not any you’d care about.
  • DOC:Whoa dude. I’m used to being shut out but you’re a ninja at cutting people off. 
  • BILLY: It’s a gift, I guess.
  • DOC:Really? What other gifts you got? I don’t get to hang around aliens or gods or any of that stuff, so I know I’m *clearly sarcastic* OUT OF MY LEAGUE HAHAHA
  • BILLY: *pause* What is wrong with you?
  • DOC:*run-on* An intense level of sarcasm that acts as a veneer to cover plenty of deep caring for the world at large even when I want to be left alone. And you? 
  • BILLY: Same. whoa…WHOA…nobody says that. No DOCTOR says that.
  • DOC:No doctor admits it, you mean. I’m probably not supposed to say it like that. But honesty in myself helps me sleep at night even when nothing else goes my way. I try to match the room. If I can’t ,I just shut down. 
  • BILLY: TMI my man.
  • DOC:Is it? I’m filling time. Usually I’ll stay silent for a whole session, but that’s no fun. I’m trying something different. There must be something about you. I don’t open up to just anyone, so you must have some sort of connection even if you don’t admit it. But then again, there’s this theory that 
  • BILLY: *interrupting* Do you ever shut up?
  • DOC:Always.
  • BILLY: *awkward silence* What, you want me to talk now?
  • DOC:You don’t have to. 
  • BILLY: *more awkward silence* So we’re really going to sit here forever until I say something?
  • DOC:No, just until the end of the session….or you do the thing. 
  • BILLY: What thing?
  • DOC:You know the thing. 
  • BILLY: No
  • DOC:Come on, do the thing! Say it! Please? 
  • BILLY: Are you just a fanboy?
  • DOC:Not really. I just wonder if you’re different when you say it. I bet you are 
  • BILLY: No.
  • DOC:I’ll make the session free 
  • BILLY: No
  • DOC:I’ll make the next session free 
  • BILLY: I don’t want another session
  • DOC:I’ll cancel the next session 
  • BILLY: Fine. SHA-wait, I could just no-show the next session
  • DOC:I have a cancellation fee 
  • BILLY: I don’t care! You’re just trying to use me like everyone else.
  • DOC:*hurt* Ouch. Look. I’m bad at jokes like this, and it’s obvious I’m throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. First I tried to treat you like a typical patient, but that was selling you short. Then I tried to relate to you with something that you admit hit you personally, and you didn’t go for it. Then I tried flattery, and you felt insulted. I don’t know what works for you, but this ain’t it. If you want somebody else to see you, fine. But I’m not giving up. Somebody can help if you have things to talk through. 
  • BILLY: Why would you talk to someone that doesn’t want to talk to you?
  • DOC:Have you ever had to deal with somebody that didn’t want to deal with you? 
  • BILLY: Yeah.
  • DOC:And you did it anyway? 
  • BILLY: Yeah.
  • DOC:Why? 
  • BILLY: That’s different. I’m trying to save people.
  • DOC:So am I, in a much different way. I can’t do it the way you do. But I don’t give up on lost causes. 
  • BILLY: You sound like some people I know.
  • DOC:Is that a good thing? 
  • BILLY: Knowing them, yeah. But they keep getting in more and more trouble, and they keep fighting, and then they talk about it all the time. What if I don’t want to do that? What If I want to have fun? Or quit? Or hang out? I want to do what I want. They want me to be like Superman or Batman 
  • DOC:Then find a way to do it with your own style. Who cares if it’s not just like them? Don’t be a copy. 
  • BILLY: Nobody told me that before. 
  • DOC:*sarcastic clapping* Hooray, I did something. Yaaaay. Is there anything else? 
  • BILLY: You’re still strange, you know that? 
  • DOC:Not for copyright purposes 
  • BILLY: What?
  • DOC:Nothing. Now, for giving you one talking point 
  • BILLY: *interrupting* fine SHAZAM! *sound effects* See? No big deal, I’m still Billy. 
  • DOC:*sobbing* 
  • BILLY: Are you crying?
  • BILLY: Most people just ask for an autograph.

So thank you to our friend, Chris’s son for admirably playing the role like Bluey. We’re not going to credit our child’s actors for, for the sake of privacy,

Doc Issues: Wow. Okay. That’s, that’s, that’s a way to put it.

Anthony: I just figure, he’ll know and he can tell his friends, but okay. Okay. I’m not gonna make it a thing. Respect his privacy and, and our friend Chris. So that’s as much as I’ll say. So recommended reading is the Power of Shazam. This is the 1994 graphic novel.

That led to a ongoing series really reestablished a lot of the stuff that carried forward for the next 30 years in Shazam Stories. Not that there’s not good stuff if you can reread the early Captain Marvel, like Captain Marvel stories, but if you go back to the, the power of Shazam, that really kind of sets the table for everything that comes after that.

So, next episodes coming up. We’ve got the Penguin. Wait, wait, wait. Arcade and Jonah. Hes looking forward to each of those episodes. Very different characters, all of them. And we’ve got another theme month coming up. For May. So stay tuned for that. We’ve got some, some ideas things we’re gonna gonna do for that.

As always, you can find all of our episodes on our website, We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok capes on the couch. We’re also proud members of the Gonna Geek Network. Go do gonna geek where you can check out other awesome geeky shows and our fellow network affiliates and mates.

So we gotta make sure that we, we plug them. And thank you to all of our listeners for continuing support us. If you listen to us on a platform that allows you to like rate, subscribe, leave a review, please do so. And if you do that, then send us an email to capes on the, along with the screenshot and your address, and we’ll send you a sticker.

As a way of saying thank you for being awesome. So before we wrap it

Doc Issues: up, doc, I don’t have any puns this week. I just have something that I, I thought of on the fly. The idea that you shout something to invoke a certain emotion is a very obvious thing, so challenge everyone here. If you are having a rough day, if you’re just feel like you need to let something out, I think saying Shazam is more empowering than just using swear words or taking, if you’re religious, taking a a de at his name in vain.

So you might wanna try something a little different because it gives you the opportunity to feel more in control rather than the

Anthony: opposite. Okay. I like that. There’s definitely a physical. Change that can overcome you if you shout a word that gives you power. That’s why martial artists yell. There’s a physical change that happens, perhaps a, a postural change as well.

So way to end the episode with a call to action doc. Really like that idea. Instead of a pun, maybe we’ll start doing a little more of that, sprinkling them in every so often. For doc Issues, I’m Anthony Sytko saying thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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