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on November 11, 2010
Most people seem to love the Chipp Kidd's work or hate it. I'm in the former category, and THIS book just knocked me out.

A word of warning: If you're looking for yet another recounting of the history of the original Captain Marvel, look elsewhere--this is not the book for you. There are plenty of excellent histories to be had, and a subscription to PC Hamerlinck's FCA is a great way to supplement them.

However, if you're looking for a gorgeous collection of photos of the incredible range of Captain Marvel and Marvel Family ephemera that Fawcett and its partners produced during the 13 golden years those characters were in print, stop wasting time reading this review and place your order NOW. This is a must-have.

I've long been fascinated by the incredible range of merchandising that Fawcett did for these characters--an idea decades ahead of its time--and here are stunningly detailed photos of the best of it, including some of the rarest stuff, repros of original designs for some pieces, and even side-by-side comparisons of original art pages and published comics.

This is what I'd hoped the DC Vault and Marvel Vault books would be. While Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal doesn't include facsimile reproductions like the Vault books, it shows so much more of the Marvel Family and Fawcett merchandise than either of the former does of their subjects that it just blows them away.

This is a book I'll be returning to it again and again, a visual feast. Heck, the quality of the photos and the amount of detail has me thinking about attempting my own facsimiles or reproductions of some of the items, since that's probably the only way I'm ever going to have examples of the really rare and really cool stuff. I'm already trying to decide whether to use Sculpey or Play-Doh to try my hand at one of those Cap syroco figurines...
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VINE VOICEon November 11, 2010
I can't deny that the product description is accurate but that was my biggest worry. I am a big Captain Marvel fan but I'm not a ravenous Captain Marvel fan. I love the stories by C.C. Beck and Otto Binder and I'll grab up any reprint I can find and I wish that DC Comics would start to publish the Shazam Archive editions again. Supposedly they were going to reprint the lengthy Monster Society of Evil storyline but that project seems to have been put on indefinite hold so in my desire to get SOMETHING with Cap in it I bought this book knowing full well that is was probably not what I was looking for. It's a nice big coffee book size, with glossy pages, a lovely die cut hard cover and high quality binding. Unfortunately there is but one story reprinted here and it's kind of an oddball in that's it was done by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

So what do you get? Images from a Captain Marvel collection owned by a fellow named Harry Matetsky. This includes pins expanded to full page size, patches, box covers, chipped up figurines, advertisements, fan club letters, single panels blown up like a Roy Lichtenstein painting. I also discovered that in the 1940's Captain Marvel was a shameless corporate shill who pushed possibly hundreds of products. The images are presented in a way that one might present artwork. For instance there is a photo of the original costume from the 1941 Captain Marvel serial that focuses on just the lightning bolt and chest button. If you consider images of unassembled paper toys and roughly drawn film posters to be artwork this might be the book for you and I'm not saying that many aren't lovely. The photography is superb but many of the images are of cheap 70 year old toys with a bit of wear and tear.

A couple of years back Chip Kidd produced a book called Bat-Manga! reprinting Batman comics produced in Japan from the 1960's. As in this book it featured a lot images of memorabilia but most of the book is devoted to the stories. Besides the Simon/Kirby story there is nothing except the occasional single or double page spread. The book veers off into non-Cap items including lengthy sections on Captain Marvel jr, Mary Marvel, Spy Smasher and even Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Kidd includes all sorts of Captain Marvel information but it's not uncommon to have a half dozen or more pages of just images. I just really was hoping to read some Captain Marvel stories and if that's what you're looking for keep looking.

Say what you will Chip Kidd put his heart in this book and did about as good as I could expect given the subject matter. I imagine he must be a heck of a salesman to get this published because it really appeals to a nitch audience. I can imagine someone who grew up during this era loving the nostalgia but you'd have to be in your late 70's or early 80's to fall in that demographic. You can pretty much blow through the whole book in an hour or so and having done that I'm not sure that I have a tremendous desire to go back through it again. It really pains me to write this review because I'm a Captain Marvel fan and Chip Kidd is a Captain Marvel fun but it's clear that Chip Kidd is a bigger fan than I of all things Marvel related. I do not want to do harm to something that continues to keep Captain Marvel in the hearts and minds of fans and introduces him to potential new fans but I'd be lying if I said that if I had to do it all over I'd purchase this again.
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on November 23, 2010
This is simply the best book I've bought this year. Period.
As a Captain Marvel fan, this is a MUST OWN. If you enjoy 1940s or 50s comics, toys, memorabilia, or just cool stuff about that era of superheroes then buy it as well.
The price is right on the money for this hardcover. The book design is superb. It's fantastically photographed with a lot of good concise info about the world's mightiest mortal. This book gives a great glimpse into what it must have been like to be a kid in the 40s wishing you could say "SHAZAM!" to become our favorite big red cheese but settling instead for the many different novelties and toys one could find in the corner five and dime. There are a lot of rare vintage items that I've never seen before, some only having a couple known examples. My only wish would have been to include a complete list of all the items in the book for us collectors to use as a reference. Chip, take note for the next book.
Overall, this book excels as a reference for vintage Captain Marvel merchandise. There are some examples of the comic stories and art but that isn't the focus. I hope Chip Kidd does many more books like this one. I think I'll go back and buy his "Batman Collected" book after thoroughly enjoying this one.
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on February 20, 2015
The packaging and arrival time were great. The book itself is amazing as it has beautiful pictures and is well organized and written. Great information on the enduring legacy of the World's Mightiest Mortals.
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on July 25, 2013
This doesn't actually cover Captain Marvel himself... it covers a plethora of marketing. Interesting, but NOT what I was hoping for.
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on November 20, 2012
If you are a fan of vintage Captain Marvel art, then this will not disappoint. Chip Kidd does and outstanding job in making bold choices to create visually striking layouts for this project. My only gripe is that I wish it was bigger. I really wanted more.
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on October 13, 2012
This lovely book covers the Golden Age history of the original Captain Marvel. This book is lavishly illustrated with not only panels from the classic days of this character, but also toys, foreign editions, original artwork, and more. You also get a loving look at Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr.

I could have stood a little more on Tawky Tawny and Uncle Marvel, but the book is well worth the price and a delight to read.
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on May 28, 2012
The original Captain Marvel is a wonderful and vital piece of Americana.He and his Marvel Family were the stuff kids and servicemen of WWII resorted to for whimsy and patriotic distraction.Capt. Marvel would sock his opponents and have a great sense of humor.His adventures were inspiring and fun.
All this gave rise to extraordinary merchandising and it is this that Chip Kidd has preserved and reproduced in this delightful work.
It is only a shame (as other reviewers have said) he could not have included some of C.C.Beck's original art in the book....and that there is not even more of the book!
I am grateful for this labor of love.If you are a Captain Marvel fan it is essential.
Perhaps someone can tell me why Captain Marvel was a mortal?
This is a lovely coffee table book that is beautifully produced and great value .
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on April 4, 2012
Another terrific book by Chip Kidd. Although this is more of an art coffee table book than a collection of comics,
it has such a wide variety of great images of rare Captain Marvel items that you can spend hours just taking in
every page! Equal Time is given to the captain's partners Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. If you love
Captain Marvel this book is something you would want to add to your library.
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on March 9, 2012
This Book was an awesome surprise. when i put it in my cart, hit save for later, it cost around $25 & i thought it was a collection of old stories from the 40's.
The price dropped to $8 for about 3 days and i pounced on the Deal. The deal was Great but the Book is awesome . it is more along the line of the "Vault" type books with pictures, news clipping, stories from the old news paper strips.
It has everything an avid Captain Marvel fan would enjoy covering the Beginning of the Character .
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