Spotlight: Marvel's Spirit of '76
Updated: Jul 7, 2018
On this Independence Day, we take a look at an often overlooked patriotic superhero who takes his name from the year our country was founded.
First appearing in Marvel Comics’ The Invaders #14 in 1977, William Naslund was born in Philadelphia and was known as Spirit of ’76. He joined a team called the Crusaders in hopes of fighting the Nazis in World War 2. However, the Crusaders discovered that they were assembled by a German spy and were tricked into fighting the Invaders, an anti-Nazi superhero team which included Captain America, Bucky and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
He had no superpowers but while he was Spirit of -76 he wore a bulletproof and fireproof cloak.
When Captain America and Bucky disappeared during World War 2, Naslund and another young man were recruited to replace them as Cap and Bucky. He carried a shield similar to that of Steve Rogers and practiced his moves in order to emulate him. This was short-lived, as Naslund was killed in 1946, just a year after Steve Rogers.
Though a very minor and short-term figure in Marvel Comics, William Naslund remains an unsung patriotic superhero in his true alter-ego, Spirit of ’76.