The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
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!"

"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." 

"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 Indeed, for non-Captain Marvel enthusiasts, the book may be most interesting as a compendium of historical documents, a glimpse not just of a bygone pop phenomenon but also of a larger cultural ethos."

Baker & Taylor
A fully authorized celebration of ephemera, artwork and rare, one-of-a-kind toys and licensed merchandise that recaptures the magic that was Shazam!, who made his comic book debut in 1940 and repeatedly outsold his biggest competitor, Superman.

Publisher: New York, NY : Abrams ComicArts, 2010
ISBN: 9780810995963
Characteristics: ca. 200 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 32 cm
Additional Contributors: Spear, Geoff


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 21, 2018

This was an interesting look at a super hero character that started in late 1939 as Captain Thunder, then Captain Marvelous, which was shortened to Captain Marvel in 1940's Whiz Comics #2.
As with many super hero's during the Second World War, Captain Marvel used his powers to fight crime and then the "enemies" of WWII. As stated, this character, as powerful as Superman, even surpassed his popularity, but was short lived due to DC Comics legal battle regarding copyright infringement due to the similarities of Superman, which ended by November 1953, with the end of the Marvel Family publication ending in January 1954.
Although Captain Marvel was a young pre-teen boy Earthling, was transformed into a man with super powers, just by saying the name SHAZAM, and then repeating it to turn back into his boy age personality.
SHAZAM is an acronym for Solom (Wisdom); Hercules (Strength); Atlas (Stamina); Zeus (Power); Achilles (Courage); and Mercury (Speed).
This book is a colourful representation of the Marvel Family (including Captain Marvel Jr - not related; Mrs Marvel - sister to CMJr; and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny), but found lacking in some information details. However, did enjoy this book.

* DC publisher Carmine Infantino decided to bring the Captain Marvel property back into print, and in 1972 he licensed the characters from Fawcett. Because Marvel Comics had by this time established Captain Marvel as a comic book trademark for their own character, created and first published in 1967, DC published their book under the name Shazam! Infantino attempted to give the Shazam! book the subtitle The Original Captain Marvel, but a cease and desist letter from Marvel Comics forced them to change the subtitle to The World's Mightiest Mortal, starting with Shazam! #15 (December 1974). As all subsequent toys and other merchandise featuring the character have also been required to use the "Shazam!" label with little to no mention of the name "Captain Marvel", the title became so linked to Captain Marvel that many people took to identifying the character as "Shazam" instead of "Captain Marvel" upcoming New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Shazam! feature film scheduled for release in 2019 as part of the DC Extended Universe.." (* excerpts from wikipedia)

Jan 05, 2018

Believe it, or not - Back in the "Golden Age of Comic Books" (the 1940s) - When Shazam! (aka. Captain Marvel) first made his debut in Whiz Comics - He actually outsold his biggest competitor, Superman, by 14 million copies a month.

And, to top that off - Captain Marvel was also the first superhero to be adapted to the screen, appearing in a live-action, 12-chapter serial released by Republic Pictures in 1941, starring Tom Tyler.

This first-rate, jam-packed volume of Captain Marvel memorabilia loudly and proudly commemorates the 70th anniversary of the "World's Mightiest Mortal".

From secret decoders, to figurines, to paper rockets, to collectible cards, and to much-much more - This is, without question, a super-fun book that (page after page) can be enjoyed by all, young and old, alike.

theorbys Feb 05, 2012

A great collection of memorabilia, collectibles, some history, fan activities, etc of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family from the Captain's inception to his untimely legal demise in 1952. Nothing not to like here.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at SMPL

To Top