First Appearance: Invaders #14 (March 1977).
Appearances: Invaders #14-15, What If v1 #4, Captain America Annual #13.
Years Active: 1942-1946.
William Nasland as a patriotic American adventurer who was recruited by a German agent named "Alfie" as part of a plot to defeat the Invaders. Nasland was given a bulletproof, flameproof cloak, and he took the name "The Spirit of '76." Alfie had recruited other individuals as part of this plot, and given them with similar equipment. These individuals called themselves Captain Wings, Dyna-Mite, Ghost Girl, Thunderfist and Tommy Lightning. Nasland became their leader, and as a group they called themselves the Crusaders. Following Alfie's lead, and not knowing that he was a German agent, the Crusaders attacked the Invaders.
Naturally, Alfie's scheme was defeated and he was captured. The Crusaders, seeing that they had been deceived, broke up, and Captain Wings, Ghost Girl, Thunderfist, and Tommy Lightning abandoned the equipment which had given them their powers. Nasland, however, continued adventuring as the Spirit of '76 and was active throughout the war.
In 1945 Captain America (I) disappeared and Bucky (I) was killed in action. When President Truman learned of this he approached Nasland and asked him to take up the identity of Captain America, offering Nasland a simulation chain-mail costume and a "reasonable facsimile" shield. Nasland agreed, becoming Captain America (II). Nasland chose Fred Davis, a New York Yankees ballboy, to become Bucky (II).
Nasland, as Captain America (II), was active for the rest of the war, with Bucky (II) as his sidekick. After the war Captain America (II) and Bucky (II) became members of the All-Winners Squad.
In 1946 Nasland was killed battling an evil android.
Note: The Crusaders were, of course, part of the unofficial Marvel-DC
crossover of 1976, where the Invaders fought the "Crusaders," a team whose
members had the same powers as DC's Freedom Fighters, and where, in the
pages of Freedom Fighters, the Freedom Fighters fought the "Crusaders,"
who had the same powers as the Invaders.