The Elders, also known as the Lords of Magic, are the benefactors of the Marvel Family. They empower the members of the Marvel Family into their heroic counterparts. It implies that the beneficiary speaks a magic word, usually an acronym formed by the initials of a pantheon (generally this acronym is the word "Shazam", but Shazam, in his times as the Champion, needed to say "Vlarem", an acronym of the Canaanite gods, and Captain Marvel, Jr. needs to say Captain Marvel, from who he gained his powers). The mediator of nearly all of these pacts was Shazam the Wizard.
Thousands of years ago, a young Canaanite was endowed with powers by his gods, becoming known as the Champion. Centuries later, he began to grow old and look for a successor. His successor gained the powers from Egyptian gods. Corrupted, he became known as Black Adam and was banished to the farthest star.
Later, the Canaanite, now called Shazamo, led a pantheon of gods (Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and Oggar) and a Hebrew king (Solomon) to perform heroic deeds. Oggar rebelled and was expelled from the team, and Shazamo, embarrassed, changed his name to Shazam. In the 20th century, Shazam chose a new successor: Billy Batson gained the powers of that pantheon that Shazam had once led and became Captain Marvel. A year later, Captain Marvel used the powers of the Elders to save the life of Freddy Freeman. A side effect is that he has now also been able to become a superhero figure, Captain Marvel Jr.. A few months later, Billy found his long-lost twin sister, Mary. She realized that she was able to transform herself into a super-powerful woman with powers given by Greco-Roman goddesses.
Billy Batson was granted the ability to become Captain Marvel by saying "Shazam!" by the Elders (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury). He now roams the Earth with his mentor, 'righting wrongs, developing understanding, and seeking justice for all'. The Elders are recurring advisers, and Billy can communicate with them via the Eterni-Phone.
The Elders are mentioned by the first time in Whiz Comics #2.