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In the 2019 movie Shazam, much is made of the fact that the title character - though apparently an adult man (with superpowers) - is in actual fact an emotionally immature 14-year-old boy - i.e., that he is impulsive, makes poor decisions, has poor judgement, etc.

Was the original comic-book version of this superhero also portrayed as lacking in emotional maturity?

  • Don't know about the comics, but I have definitely seen this in other adaptations, so I'm pretty sure the movie didn't invent it. – Kevin May 2 at 16:40
  • He used to be even younger. My grandfather (who - true story - actually worked for DC comics way back in the day as the person who wrote back to fan mail directed at Captain Marvel) described the character as a "12-year old snot-nosed news-boy". Though that doesn't answer your question as to whether he retained his youthful outlook in an adult body. – Darrel Hoffman May 2 at 19:37
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Not from the start of the character but after the post-Crisis relaunch, this became his constant trait:

The first post-Crisis appearance of Captain Marvel was in the 1986 Legends miniseries. In 1987, Captain Marvel appeared as a member of the Justice League in Keith Giffen's and J. M. DeMatteis' relaunch of that title. That same year (spinning off from Legends), he was given his own miniseries titled Shazam!: The New Beginning. With this four-issue miniseries, writers Roy and Dann Thomas and artist Tom Mandrake attempted to re-launch the Captain Marvel mythos and bring the wizard Shazam, Dr. Sivana, Uncle Dudley, and Black Adam into the modern DC Universe with an altered origin story.

The most notable change that the Thomases, Giffen, and DeMatteis introduced into the Captain Marvel mythos was that the personality of young Billy Batson is retained when he transforms into the Captain. This change would remain for most future uses of the character as justification for his sunny, Golden-Age personality in the darker modern-day comic book world, instead of the traditional depiction used prior to 1986, which tended to treat Captain Marvel and Billy as two separate personalities. - Wikipedia

Even his childlike personality get used as his weakness in some stories.

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Was the original comic-book version of this superhero also portrayed as lacking in emotional maturity?

There have been many retcons of Shazam! over the years. According to this article

In 1987, a reboot entitled Shazam!: The New Beginning was published, which introduced the idea that Billy Batson retains his childish personality when he transforms into the Captain. There was also a 1994 reboot and 2006 revamp that focused on magic and mysticism.

So, to answer your question: The upcoming movie is based very heavily upon The New 52 era reboot of Shazam in 2012.

To comment about Emotional immaturity of comic-book version of superhero Shazam:

Don't know if this is appropriate but I am providing link from customer reviews on Amazon with one of them stating:

Great story arc.. Black Adam is badass as usual.. Shazam is not your typical hero... Love the way his transformation is done.. His inner child showing through most of the time..story is a pretty simple origin story... A young boy is given power by the wizard to protect the good and fight the evil.. Black Adams story also explained. This was out a long time ago.. And no second volume has been announced

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    >>In 1987, a reboot entitled Shazam!: The New Beginning was published, which introduced the idea that Billy Batson retains his childish personality when he transforms into the Captain.<< By implication, this would mean that in the first incarnation - i.e., the ORIGINAL version of the comic-book superhero character - he did NOT retain his adolescent personality. Thank you! – Alex May 2 at 16:59
  • By original.. I understood just the comic version. If only you had specified first. – naive May 2 at 17:01
  • Thank you again! I consider this question ANSWERED. – Alex May 2 at 17:04
  • You are welcome! – naive May 2 at 17:06
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Supporting the other answers, it bears recalling that in the earliest comics, "SHAZAM" represented an acronym, including the initial S representing "Solomon's wisdom" as a principal part of his power portfolio. There's a nice Captain Marvel themed website with a page inspecting examples from those comics of his mental feats, including: quickly designing a rocket ship, deciphering an ancient language, decoding an encrypted message, and reasoning out clues in a mystery.

http://www.theworldsmightiestmortal.com/2016/01/captain-marvels-powers-wisdom-of-solomon.html

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