New Books Network

Brian Cremins‘ book Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia (University Press of Mississippi, 2017) explores the history of Billy Batson, a boy who...

Brian Cremins‘ book Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia (University Press of Mississippi, 2017) explores the history of Billy Batson, a boy who met a wizard that allowed him to transform into a superhero. When Billy says, “Shazam!” he becomes Captain Marvel. Cremins’ explores the history of artist C.C. Beck and writer Otto Binder’s Captain Marvel comic book character who outsold Superman comics in the 1940s. Examining the Golden Age of comics in the United States, Cremins addresses the careers of Beck and Binder, Captain Marvel, and the ways in which they influenced comic fandom in the 1960s.

Focusing on the relationship between comics and nostalgia, Cremins examines the origins of Billy Batson and Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia details the lives of Beck and Binder, the lawsuit filed against Fawcett Comics that eventually ended Captain Marvel and Fawcett Comics, and the role of World War II and the nostalgia of American soldiers and civilians in Captain Marvel’s popularity. He also investigates the complicated histories of characters such as Mr. Tawny, the talking tiger that adapts to American society and befriends Captain Marvel, and Steamboat Bill, the African American food truck owner who helps Captain Marvel catch a group of criminals and in return is given a job by Billy Batson. Ending with the influence of comic fanzines of the 1960s on reigniting interest in Beck and Binder as well as Captain Marvel, Cremins examines the impact of comics on memory and American popular culture.


Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digitalin peoples lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at rj-buchanan@wiu.edu.