Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Coming to The Franklin Institute

Including some of Marvel's most iconic costumes, props, and original art

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Coming to The Franklin Institute

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, an immersive exhibition featuring more than 300 original artifacts, including some of Marvel‘s most iconic costumes, props, and original art opens at The Franklin Institute on April 13, 2019. The exhibit debuts in Philadelphia as the East Coast premiere during Marvel’s 80th anniversary year, and immediately follows the world premiere at MoPOP in Seattle, which drew more than 300,000 visitors. The Philadelphia stop brings a thoroughly reimagined layout, ambitious new installations, and never-before-seen content.

The 15,000 square-foot exhibit traces the story of Marvel and its influence on visual culture, while also uncovering the narratives of individual characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange. It gives insight on how Marvel has influenced and drawn inspiration from the ever-changing tides of popular culture, tracing how their stories have responded to historical events and addressed broader issues such as gender, race, and mental illness. The exhibit also pays tribute to pioneering creators such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko whose collective imagination made Marvel into the endlessly expansive fictional universe known today.

“Marvel transformed the idea of the Super Hero in the 1960s—and beyond—by ratcheting up the visual spectacle, emotional dynamism and philosophical sophistication of the action-adventure comics genre,” says Brian Crosby, Creative Director of Marvel Themed Entertainment. “Marvel has always been a reflection of the world outside your window, and one of its most compelling messages has always been, that anyone—regardless of race, religion or gender—can be a Super Hero.”

The Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit Features:

  • A fully-immersive exhibit design with life-size scenes that bring the comic book world to life.
  • Iconic props and costumes including those worn by Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) in Marvel’s Black Panther (2018), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World (2013), plus the Captain America costume worn by Chris Evans (2015).
  • Rare, hand-drawn images of iconic heroes such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America — by the artists who first designed them.
  • Many more pages of historically significant hand-drawn original comic art by some of Marvel’s most admired creators, including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Byrne, and Frank Miller — as well as exclusively commissioned original paintings by fan favorites Steve Rude, Esad Ribic, and Jenny Frison.
  • Detailed life-size sculptures of Marvel’s beloved characters, including Spider-Man and The Thing, to complement the larger-than-life super hero narrative.
  • Special sections designed to provide optimal snapshot moments with classic Marvel characters, and a digital feature that transforms guests into Iron Man.
  • An immersive soundscape created by acclaimed composer Lorne Balfe.

“Our show begins with the origins of the Marvel Universe and moves through to the present day, giving a chance to see some of the rarest and most precious objects from the past 80 years of pop culture history, and pointing toward the future with work from some of today’s foremost creators,” says curator Ben Saunders about the exhibition.

“Marvel created a cultural landscape that spans generations and delivers massive, undeniable global appeal,” says Franklin Institute President and CEO Larry Dubinski. “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is a unique exhibit experience that brings together some of the most iconic films, comics, costumes, and props—bringing characters to life and showcasing the legacy and impact of the Marvel Universe. We are thrilled that The Franklin Institute will be only the second stop for the new exhibit, and the East Coast premiere destination come this April.”

The Franklin Institute is presenting Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion and in the Mandell Center from April 13 through September 2, 2019.

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