Although technically originally introduced in Marvel publications in the 1970's, various retcons of the history of Captain America has expanded William Nasland's history to span publications published over 70 years. Below is an abridged version of his history. For a full history, see the Unabridged history of William Nasland.
Spirit of '76
The Spirit of '76 first came to prominence during the early 1940's as a costumed adventurer who fought against Nazi espionage in the United States. Presumably he adopted his patriotic costume and name in imitation of the original Captain America.
The Spirit of '76 left America in 1942 and took up residence in Great Britain to serve as a member of the Crusaders, a British team of superhumanly powerful champions who intended to battle Nazis. The Spirit of '76 was the sole American member of the team and the only one who lacked superhuman abilities. The Crusaders had been recruited and organized by a man known as Alfie, whom they believed to be a representative of the British government or military. In fact, however, "Alfie" was an agent of Germany who had organized the Crusaders in order to discredit the Invaders, another team of superhuman champions opposing the Nazis, and in order to further a plot to assassinate King George VI of Great Britain at the christening of a new British battleship. "Alfie" convinced the Crusaders that the Invaders were actually Nazi agents, and the two groups clashed at the christening. However, the Invaders exposed and thwarted the assassination plot, and the Crusaders realized they had been duped. The Crusaders broke up as a team, but the Spirit of '76 apparently continued his career as an adventurer.
In 1945, shortly before the end of World War II in Europe, Captain America (Steve Rogers) and his partner Bucky Barnes both disappeared. Harry S. Truman, the new President of the United States, selected the Spirit of '76 to assume the identity of Captain America and chose a boy named Fred Davis to be the new Bucky. As members of the Invaders, the new Captain America and Bucky battled the Japanese in the Pacific theater of operations during the remainder of World War II. After the war, Captain America and Bucky served as members of the All-Winners Squad, the postwar successor to the Invaders.
In 1946 the All-Winners Squad learned that Adam II, a malevolent android creation of Prof. Phineas T. Horton, intended to substitute a robot double for a Boston congressional candidate. Captain America and Bucky found Adam II and learned that the candidate Adam II intended to replace was John F. Kennedy. The two adventurers battled Adam II and other robots. Bucky was knocked unconscious, and Captain America went to Boston's Old North Church to summon the other members of the All-Winners Squad. One of Adam II's superhumanly strong robots caught Captain America and crushed him in its grip, mortally injuring him. The dying hero managed to use a flare device to render the robot inactive, simultaneously providing the signal that summoned the other members of the All-Winners to Kennedy's rescue.
Another costumed adventurer, the Patriot, found Captain America just before he died. Inspired by the second Captain America's noble sacrifice, the Patriot donned a spare Captain America costume he found in the nearby flagship of the Sub-Mariner, another member of the All-Winners Squad. Thus the Patriot became the next man to take the identity of Captain America. He and other All-Winners Squad members, who had seen Captain America's signal, prevented Adam II from killing Kennedy.
When Steve Rogers was reintroduced as Captain America in Avengers #4, the back story about him being frozen in a block of ice since April 1945 created a continuity problem as Marvel began adopting portions of it's predecessors Timely Comics continuity in the 1970s. To remedy this problem, new wartime super-heroes were introduced during the Invaders series. Ultimately Captain America #215 and What If? #4 would reveal that William Nasland replaced Captain America.
Although the actual publications still refer to Captain America and Bucky as Steve Rogers and James Barnes, according to the Official Marvel Index this retcon is effective from Captain America Comics #49 through 58, and all other Captain America appearances between the months of August 1945 to September 1946.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
AbilitiesNasland was a brilliant all-round athlete and a superb hand-to-hand combatant.
Nasland possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in intensive regular exercise.
- Bullet Proof Cloak: The Spirit of '76 wore a cloak that was made of an unknown material that was both bulletproof and flameproof.
- Shield: Captain America carried a shield resembling the one carried by the previous Captain America. However, this shield was constructed of ordinary steel and hence was not virtually indestructible like his predecessor's. He learned to duplicate the original Captain America's skills with the shield, although he was not quite as accomplished.
- The Spirit of '76 was conceived as a counterpart to Quality Comics (later, DC Comics) character, Uncle Sam. He also bears a resemblance to the public domain Nedor Comics character The Fighting Yank, in both appearance and powers (bullet-proof cloak).
- According to the Official Index to the Marvel Universe, William Nasland was Captain America as of Captain America Comics #49. As per this retconning that issue should be considered his first appearance. William was first identified as Spirit of '76 in Invaders #15, and subsequently as Captain America's replacement in What If? #4.
- 43 Appearances of William Nasland (Earth-616)
- 3 Images featuring William Nasland (Earth-616)
- 2 Quotations by or about William Nasland (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: William Nasland (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: William Nasland (Earth-616)
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