Monday, January 10, 2011
Big Cheese: Remembering the Golden Age of Captain Marvel
Pretty much everyone knows that Superman is the original super hero, and maybe the greatest of that genre. As Jim Croce sang, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” But one super hero did more than just tug on Big Blue’s cape. In the 1940s, Captain Marvel bested the Last Son of Krypton where it mattered most—on the newsstands. In Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Chip Kidd resurrects the days when "The Big Red Cheese," as the Captain’s arch-villain Doctor Sivana called him, reigned supreme. It was “a phenomenon that captured the imaginations of millions, yet lasted a mere thirteen years,” Kidd writes in his narrative (colorfully illustrated by the photography of Geoff Spear) beginning with the heroics of February 1940s Whiz Comics #2 (detail above) and ending, of all places, in a courtroom. This story tells the now-forgotten rise and abrupt fall of the original big cheese of super heroes. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Big Cheese."
[Many thanks to Abrams Books for providing me with a review copy of Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal by Chip Kidd, with photographs by Geoff Spear.]