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Chester County Press

A walk through the Marvel world

01/28/2019 12:40PM ● By J. Chambless

'Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,' featuring more than 300 original artifacts, opens April 13 at The Franklin Institute.

Fans of the Marvel universe of superheroes are already grabbing tickets for an exhibition that arrives in Philadelphia in mid-April.

“Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” an 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.

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 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. “Marvel transformed the idea of the superhero in the 1960s – and beyond – by ratcheting up the visual spectacle, emotional dynamism and philosophical sophistication of the action-adventure comics genre,” said 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 superhero.

Fans will find an 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 original comic art by some of Marvel’s most admired creators, including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Byrne, and Frank Miller, as well as 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.

  • Special sections designed to provide snapshot moments with classic Marvel characters, and a digital feature that transforms guests into Iron Man.


“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” said curator Ben Saunders.

“Marvel created a cultural landscape that spans generations and delivers massive, undeniable global appeal,” said 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.”

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” will be in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion and in the Mandell Center from April 13 through Sept. 2, 2019. For more information, visit www.fi.edu.


Daytime Tickets

Daily: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.)

Includes general admission to The Franklin Institute

Adults $35; children (ages 3-11) $31

Members $12


Evening Tickets

Thursday-Saturday: 5 to 8 p.m. (last entry at 6:30 p.m.)

Does not include general admission to The Franklin Institute

Adults $20; children (ages 3-11) $15

Members $12

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