Spirit of '76 (comics)

Spirit of '76 (comics)

The Spirit of '76 is the name of two fictional comic book characters, one each from Harvey Comics and Marvel Comics.

Harvey Comics

The first comics character by this name is a patriotic superhero created by writer Gary Blakey and artist Bob Powell in Harvey's "Pocket Comics" #1 (Aug. 1941). The personification of American folklore's Spirit of '76, the character would become a long-running feature in Harvey's "Green Hornet Comics".

Marvel Comics

Superherobox|

caption=Art by Jack Kirby.
character_name=Spirit of '76
alter_ego=William Naslund
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="The Invaders" #14 (March 1977)
creators=Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins
alliances=Crusaders
Invaders
All-Winners Squad
aliases=Captain America
supports=
powers=All-around athlete and superb hand-to-hand combatant|

The Marvel Comics superhero Spirit of '76 (William Naslund) first appeared in "The Invaders" #14 (March 1977), and was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Frank Robbins as part of a World War II-era superhero team, the Crusaders, patterned on the DC group the Freedom Fighters. The Spirit of '76 was the equivalent of Freedom Fighters member Uncle Sam, originally a Quality Comics character. [ [http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/capamer1.htm International Hero: "Captain America (Spirit of '76)"] ]

Publication history

Marvel's Spirit of '76 appeared as a member of the short-lived superhero team the Crusaders in "The Invaders" #14-15 (March-April 1977). In a canonical portion of a story in issue #4 (Aug. 1977) of the alternate-universe series "What If?", Naslund succeeds Steve Rogers as Captain America, the first of three official replacements until Rogers resumed the role years later. This retcon became necessary after Marvel's conflicting accounts of Captain America in 1950s and 1960s comics had created a discrepancy.

Fictional character biography

William Naslund was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An athletic young man, hoping to help the Allies' World War II efforts in a unique way, he develops exceptional fighting skills and learns to copy some of moves Captain America employed with the discus-like shield that the superhero carried. He is recruited by a mysterious man called "Alfie" to become a costumed hero in the new team the Crusaders, alongside Dyna-Mite, Ghost Girl, Thunderfist, Captain Wings, and Tommy Lightning. The team eventually learns that Alfie is a German agent, but not before he has manipulated them into fighting the Allied super-team the Invaders. Upon learning how they had been duped, all the Crusaders but Naslund left costumed adventuring.

When the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, and his sidekick, Bucky Barnes, went missing in action in 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman recruited Naslund and a young man named Fred Davis to become the new Captain America and Bucky. They briefly fought alongside the Invaders and the post-war All-Winners Squad. Naslund was killed in 1946 in the line of duty by an android named Adam II while warning the rest of the All-Winners Squad of Adam II's attempt to kidnap or kill then-Congressional candidate John F. Kennedy. ["What If" #4 (Aug. 1977; canonincal story)] Naslund was succeeded as Captain America by Jeffrey Mace, formerly the superhero the Patriot.

Footnotes

References

* [http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=30854 Grand Comics Database: "The Invaders" #14]
* [http://www.marvel.com/universe/All-Winners_Squad Marvel.com: All-Winners Squad]


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