People always say the Marvel Family should have their own universe outside the DCU where they can be as powerful and whimsical as they want without having to be made the butt of jokes or jobbing to other heroes/villains. Well in the 1970s, prior to COIE, that was exactly what happened. From the 1970s Shazam series (this is from 1974, Shazam #13), located on Earth-S, I give you:
Mary Batson is hanging with her friends (who don’t know she is their hero) building a clubhouse. Interesting thing about the Earth-S Marvels in the 1970s is that although Freddy Freeman wasn’t college age (as he is the present DCU) Billy, Mary and Freddy were all 16-17 (same age Billy and Mary are now) and the stories still worked (since so many think they only work if they are little). I also love that the"Mary Marvel" font is distinctive and very different than the Captain Marvel/Shazam one (which is not the case now). Her costume here was also designed by C.C. Beck himself for the DC revival of the franchise. Anyway,just as the girls get settled, they got what seems to be a ghostly intrusion at their meeting. Mary Marvel shows up out of nowhere (since she was there all the time as Mary Batson) and shows that this "ghost" was just a mask in the window. Everything seems cool when even bigger more real-looking ghosts seem to fill every corner of the clubhouse. The other girls think it’s real this time but
I actually love the way she’s drawn above. Straight out of an episode of Scooby Doo, she’s got Velma’s sweater and Daphne’s hair (and the power of 6 gods). Eventually she figures out that this modus operandi reminds her of a lame villain named "Ghost" Gordon that her brother had once fought (back in 1950!). Being Mary Marvel she takes him easily and then explains to her pals how she figured it out:
Yeah, he would have gotten away with it if not for that meddling kid! Ha!. This is 2.5 pages out of 8 (that’s about 1/3 I think) from a 100 page issue. Every Marvel had at least one story and chance to shine (even Uncle Dudley). They were never portrayed as evil, naive, grim, dark, or idiotic (as DC has them do these days). By contrast, the Marvels here were smart, optimistic and fun to read. This is how the Marvels should be - it’s not that hard, DC!