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Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal

Overview

Shazam made his debut in Whiz Comics in 1940, and outsold his biggest competitor, Superman, by 14 million copies a month. It wasn’t long before a variety of merchandise was licensed—secret decoders, figurines, buttons, paper rockets, tin toys, puzzles, costumes—and a fan club was created to keep up with the demand. These collectibles now sell for outrageous prices on eBay or in comic book stores and conventions. Seventy years later, an unprecedented assortment of these collectibles are gathered together by ...

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Overview

Shazam made his debut in Whiz Comics in 1940, and outsold his biggest competitor, Superman, by 14 million copies a month. It wasn’t long before a variety of merchandise was licensed—secret decoders, figurines, buttons, paper rockets, tin toys, puzzles, costumes—and a fan club was created to keep up with the demand. These collectibles now sell for outrageous prices on eBay or in comic book stores and conventions. Seventy years later, an unprecedented assortment of these collectibles are gathered together by award-winning writer/designer Chip Kidd and photographer Geoff Spear. Join Kidd, Spear, and the World’s Mightiest Mortal in this first, fully authorized celebration of ephemera, artwork, and rare, one-of-a-kind toys, and recapture the magic that was Shazam!

Praise for Shazam!:

"Superman has always gotten more press, but Captain Marvel may be the greatest expression of comics' optimism: A young boy says a magical word and turns into the World's Mightiest Mortal. Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear's gorgeous new book, Shazam! The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal (ABRAMS) pays tribute to the hero's bright colors and medium-spanning stories, all lovingly displayed in Kidd's signature style . . . It's a coffee-table book that provides a glimpse into a world where the powers of the gods are just an acronym away." 
-The Onion's A.V. Club 

"VERDICT: Despite the quite reasonable price, this features typical ABRAMS art and production quality. Fans will grab this Marvel-ous piece of Americana faster than you can say 'Shazam!'" 
-Mike Rogers, Library Journal Express 

"A handsome follow up to Bat-Manga!" 
--ComicsAlliance.com
 

"This is a collector's dream: Page after page of Captain Marvel art, premiums, posters, toys, and ephemera from the biggest-selling superhero of all time . . . This book is a true time capsule and worthy of any comic fan's bookshelf."
--USATODAY.com 

"Shazam! allows its rich imagery to tell the exciting story of this superhero. Between Kidd's glorious layout and Spear's highly detailed photography, the reader can feel the excitement and fabric that would eventually lead Captain Marvel to outsell Superman during the glorious Golden Age of comics!" 
--Comic Book Resources 

"Shazam! beautifully documents the creation and success of Fawcett's Captain Marvel franchise . . . Indeed, for non-Captain Marvel enthusiasts, the book may be most interesting as a compendium of historical documents, a glimpse not just of a bygone pop phenomenon but also of a larger cultural ethos."
 -Forward.com

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Captain Marvel, alas, is now all but forgotten, no doubt owing to his lack of a movie franchise for modern audiences. Half a century ago, however, it was a vastly different story—Billy Batson's utterance of the acronym "Shazam," which in a flash of lightning turned him into the world's mightiest mortal, was known everywhere. Though Superman is thought of as comics' first superstar, Captain Marvel regularly outsold him by a whopping 14 million copies monthly. His image also adorned countless paraphernalia, the basis of this lovely volume. Writer-designer Kidd and photographer Spear offer brief snatches of background text, but the feast here is the remarkable array of toys, ephemera, and artwork from the likes of C.C. Beck, Mac Raboy, and Jack Kirby featuring Cap, Cap Jr., and Mary Marvel. The cash cow Marvels appeared on every imaginable product, from toys to buttons, wrist watches, compasses, clothes, paint sets, whistles, flutes, and even tie clips. VERDICT Despite the quite reasonable price, this features typical Abrams art and production quality. Fans will grab this Marvel-ous piece of Americana faster than you can say "Shazam!"—Mike Rogers, Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810995963
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 1,061,014
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chip Kidd

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.

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