Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) is a mecca for anyone who proudly deems themselves a geek or a nerd. Where else can you go to see real Starfleet uniforms worn on Star Trek, one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s actual stakes, and a Ghostbusters proton pack? And on April 21, 2018, MoPop is adding even more amazing pop culture artifacts to its extensive collection with Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes.
There are over 300 costumes, props, original comic pages, and more in this 10,000-square-foot exhibit. Universe of Super Heroes doesn’t just turn the lens on the incredible moviemaking Marvel has become known for, but its history as a company and its profound effect on popular culture.
As soon as you step into the exhibit, you’re treated to one of the rarest items in the collection: an original piece of production art from the very first issue of a Marvel comic.
The exhibit also showcases the company’s bravery, said Chief Curator Ben Saunders, and how Marvel often “takes the lead on social issues.”
With an impossible-to-miss replica of the now-famous cover of Captain America punching Hitler (before the U.S. had even entered the war), a look at the X-Men as a “metaphor for difference,” and even a summary of the Comics Code of 1954, Universe of Super Heroes doesn’t shy away from the real world issues Marvel tackled head on.
Along the same lines, MoPop’s Marvel exhibit is just as focused on telling the stories of comic book themselves as it is the films and TV series they inspired. On the walls you’ll find original artwork by masters of the medium like Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Todd McFarlane, and more.
And then there’s THE PROPS. The displays of props and the costumes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe—big screen and small—are simply breathtaking.
A small hallway is set aside for the mind-bending spectacle of Doctor Strange. You’ll be ready to bargain with Dormammu the moment you gaze upon the Eye of Agamotto, and you can get up close and personal with the costumes worn by Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton.
All the while, an ingenious use of mirrors and geometric abstractions straight out of the comics, designed to mimic the prismatic folding patterns of the films, said Saunders, make you feel unmistakably like you’re in Strange’s world.
You’ll find too many props from Marvel blockbusters to list, but here are a few highlights:
- Costumes worn by the casts of Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America, Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil, and Luke Cage
- Peter Quill’s Walkman and Drax’s daggers
- An arc reactor from Iron Man II
- Loki’s horned helmet
- Captain America’s battered shield
…not to mention interactive exhibits devoted to making comics that the entire family can enjoy, incredibly detailed yet concise infographics untangling the origins of typically confusing characters like Captain Marvel, looks at how the heroes have been translated from page to screen, and photo ops you won’t find anywhere else.
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is a must-see for fans of Marvel comics and Marvel films… which is just about everyone these days, isn’t it? The exhibit runs at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture from April 21, 2018 to January 6, 2019, so make your plans now to come to the Emerald City to meet your favorite heroes in person.
What prop or costume from a Marvel movie would you love to see in person? Tell us in the comments.
Nerdist attended a press preview of the exhibit.
Images: Kelly Knox
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