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Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal Hardcover – December 1, 2010
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Although he is largely overlooked today, in the 1940s comic books starring Captain Marvel outsold even those of Superman. Book designer (and memorabilia collector) Kidd has assembled rare merchandise and promotional items issued during the character�s heyday. The oversize pages sport lovingly photographed toys, figurines, clothing, secret decoders, temporary tattoos, and other rare collectibles featuring the �World�s Mightiest Mortal� and such spin-off characters as Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel. Unfortunately, those unfamiliar with Captain Marvel will get little hint of just why his exploits were so popular: although Kidd includes a sampling of the comic�s covers and panels, only one complete story is reprinted, and it�s an atypical one drawn by celebrated superhero artists Jack Kirby and Joe Simon instead of premier Captain Marvel illustrator C. C. Beck. After a decade-long copyright-infringement suit by Superman�s publishers, the captain�s comic was discontinued in 1952. DC has since updated the character for modern readers, and his younger fans will likely be bemused by this testimony to his bygone popularity. --Gordon Flagg
About the Author
Chip Kidd is an award-winning graphic designer and writer, and an editor-at-large for Pantheon Books. His books on comics include Bat-Manga!, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, and Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. He lives in New York City.
Geoff Spear is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared on numerous book covers. He lives in New York City.
Top customer reviews
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...
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.
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 .
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.