Isis battles a typical arch-enemy. Artist:  Kurt Schaffenberger.


Original medium: Television
Produced by: Filmation
In association with: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1975
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Isis has a unique distinction in the DC Comics pantheon of superheroes. She's their only comics character and member in good standing of their universe of such characters, who was a title character in a live-action television show before appearing in comic books. In its second season, Filmation's Saturday morning …

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… show Shazam!, which starred a version of Captain Marvel, expanded to twice its original length by adding a half-hour segment. The original idea was to star Cap's sister, Mary Marvel, but DC wanted too high a licensing fee, so Filmation created a similar character of its own. In its revised form, The Shazam!/Isis Hour was first seen on CBS Saturday, September 6, 1975. It was a year later, with a cover date of November, 1976, that the publisher launched a comic book version of the new one.

Both in comics and on TV, Isis was Andrea Thomas, a high school science teacher. On an archeological dig in Egypt (and it was never explained exactly how a high school teacher happened to be there), Andrea uncovered magical artifacts associated with the goddess Isis, the wearer of which, if she happened to be a descendant of the original Isis (which Andrea was) could acquire all of Isis's powers merely by saying the words "Oh, Mighty Isis" — which, of course, she did. These included soaring like a falcon, running like a gazelle and certain other handy abilities, which, like any good superhero, she used in mighty battle against the forces of crime and/or evil.

On TV, Isis was played by JoAnna Cameron, whose only other toon connection was a couple of years later, when she played a minor Spider-Man character in a live-action version. Supporting characters were played by Brian Cutler (who also had a minor role in a couple of episodes of The Incredible Hulk) and Joanna Pang (who lacks other toon connections). Isis remained attached to Shazam! as long as that show lasted, i.e., until 1977, after which it was continued separately, as The Secrets of Isis. It ran one additional season. 22 episodes were made altogether.

Isis was converted into animated form in 1978 as part of The Freedom Force, a segment of Tarzan & the Super Seven. She also made guest appearances with an animated Captain Marvel in Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!. As a cartoon, her voice was done by Diane Pershing, who also played Dale Arden in Filmation's version of Flash Gordon, Pearl Pureheart in Filmation's version of Mighty Mouse, and Poison Ivy both in various versions of Batman and in Static Shock.

In comics, she first appeared in Shazam! #25, a month before starring in her own title. When she did get her own comic, her first issue was written by Denny O'Neil (Green Lantern/Green Arrow), pencilled by Ric Estrada (Freedom Fighters) and inked by Wallace Wood (EC Comics). Later creative personnel included Al Milgrom (Firestorm), Vince Colletta (Ghost Rider) and Steve Skeates (The Hawk & the Dove). It suffered the fate of a majority of comic books that started as TV shows, i.e., cancellation when the show ended, which gave it a total of eight issues.

But like many DC characters, Isis was revived years later in a new form. The new Isis has the similar but not identical name Adrianna Tomaz. She was introduced in 2006, as part of a year-long, weekly limited series, 52. She started out as a supporting character to Black Adam, who had been a minor villain in the Marvel Family series in 1945, revived as an ambiguous quasi-hero in '94. This version of Isis was killed off after a few months, but given the usual pattern of superhero deaths, could be back any time.


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Text ©2007-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.