“It’s loopy to assume how obsessed I used to be,” stated Zachary Levi. “At one point in my life this was everything.”
Mr. Levi, who’s 6-foot-Four and newly buff, was on the primary ground of Midtown Comics, simply south of Times Square, gazing up at cabinets full of new releases. A former comics head and self-described nerd, Mr. Levi likes to browse at any time when he’s within the neighborhood.
He is starring within the second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” as Benjamin, the grumpy physician who romances the title character, performed by Rachel Brosnahan. And whereas “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” hasn’t introduced a comics tie-in but, Benjamin — fast-talking, freethinking, enigmatic — is arguably a hero and his chemistry with Midge might explode a lab.
Benjamin’s superpower? “Logic,” Mr. Levi, 38, stated. Is that sufficient to face up to the power of nature that’s Midge? That’s a query for the third season.
Benjamin is just one of Mr. Levi’s identities, secret and in any other case. He performed Chuck Bartowski, the tech geek who grew to become an unintended superspy within the TV comedy “Chuck.” And he was the voice of Flynn Rider, the thief with questionable intentions and nice hair who rescued Rapunzel within the Disney film “Tangled.”
He can also be a Broadway star (“First Date,” “She Loves Me”). And in case you thought the musical comedy triple menace was his personal private superpower, he’s fairly certain it’s empathy. “I’ve always had a really gnarly heart,” Mr. Levi stated.
Next 12 months, he’ll lastly be part of the superhero cape brigade, in “Shazam!” Mr. Levi performs the title character, a muscular incarnation of a teenage boy immediately granted the knowledge of Solomon, the power of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the facility of Zeus, the braveness of Achilles and the pace of Mercury.
“Also I can shoot lightning out of my hands,” he stated proudly. “The wish fulfillment is very ridiculous.”
This made him minor royalty at Midtown Comics, although that morning he was assuming a decrease, much less electrical profile. Just one other fanboy. Only taller. He wore inexperienced pants and a black Under Armour puffer that hid his physique.
Even incognito, it was clear hero had entered the constructing. Staff members trailed him as he browsed the slim aisles, and different prospects snapped surreptitious smartphone pics.
The retailer is giant and brightly lit, however so overstuffed with comics and merchandise (Mr. Levi was particularly tempted by a Captain America gelatin mildew) that it appears so much smaller.
After noting a “Shazam!” assortment on the sale shelf, he paged by means of a “Bloom County” e book and a Legend of Zelda encyclopedia formed like an previous Nintendo cartridge. “This is giving me the most unbelievable flashbacks,” he stated. “I keep thinking about slapping the cartridges and blowing into them just so they would work.”
“Life was so much simpler in the ’80s,” he stated. That was when he first fell in love with comics, principally “X-Men” and its offshoots. “The idea of waking up one day and being able to teleport or fly or transform or be superstrong or whatever — the child in every single one of us is secretly hoping for that all the time,” he stated.
Mr. Levi nonetheless has a field of these previous comics someplace, together with some baseball playing cards “that are probably worth nothing at this point,” he stated. And he nonetheless performs video video games. Most lately the Red Dead Redemption 2, a Western. He thought there was an excessive amount of horse.
A Go-Bots comedian caught his eye after which a problem of “The Avengers” that confirmed Jimmy Kimmel on the duvet. “That’s when you know you’ve made it,” Mr. Levi stated.
Mr. Levi additionally admired a “Star Wars” comedian that types Leia and Han just like the farmers of “American Gothic.” “Tell me that’s not clever!” he stated.
He wished to see the toys and collectibles. “How do you go upstairs?” he stated to a pair of boyish Midtown Comics staff. Then he answered his personal query: “Oh. Where the stairs are.”
He ascended them with a pace that wasn’t fairly Mercury’s, consuming a meal alternative bar on the best way. “Every two hours I have another meal,” he stated.
Mr. Levi made a beeline towards a wall of X-Men collectible figurines. “Gambit was my favorite,” he stated, pointing to 1 figurine. “Because he was a total ladies man and spoke with that Cajun accent.” He went attempting to find a Shazam determine within the DC Comics part, and Henry Varona, a baby-faced staffer, needed to break the information to him that he wouldn’t discover it.
“There’s really not one?” Mr. Levi stated. “Come on. Really?”
He stared at a wall of bighead collectibles called Pops and was reminded that the toy firm Funko didn’t make a figurine from his “Tangled” character, Flynn Rider. “They have a Rapunzel Pop and Maximus the Horse Pop and no Flynn Rider. What does a guy have to do to get a Funko Pop?”
He ultimately discovered Shazam, albeit in T-shirt kind. “Does that ever get old?” Mr. Varona requested him. “No way, man,” Mr. Levi stated, shaking his head as he admired the yellow lightning bolt. “It’s just the coolest.” Being entrusted with enjoying a superhero, he added, “is something you get for the rest of your life, and to me that’s a very big honor.”
After Mr. Levi checked out some high-end collectible figurines, Rich Capobianco, the gross sales supervisor, requested him to signal again points of “Shazam!” and he obliged. “This will be on eBay in 10 minutes,” he joked.
“Five,” Mr. Capobianco stated.
He posed for selfies with the employees after which joined everybody in a gaggle shot. “Shazam!” they stated because the digital camera telephones clicked.
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