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Avengers Assemble at The Franklin Institute

April 12, 2019

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes

An exhibit highlighting the history, influence and excitement of the iconic comic book publisher and entertainment company opens at The Franklin Institute.

Gain insight on how the comic book giant has influenced and drawn inspiration from the ever-changing tides of popular culture in Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes. The world’s first and most extensive exhibition celebrating decades of the publisher’s visual and cultural impact (through comic books, feature films and television) is now open at The Franklin Institute in an expanded form to celebrate Marvel’s 80th anniversary year.

Marvel Comics photo by J. Pulley, Museum of Pop Culture, courtesy of The Franklin Institute.

Following the world premiere in Seattle at MoPOP, the immersive exhibition comes to Philadelphia for its East Coast premiere with a reimagined layout, new installations and never before seen content. The 15,000 square-foot exhibit traces the story of Marvel – the iconic comic book publisher and entertainment company – and its influence on visual culture, while also highlighting the narratives of individual characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange.

Spiderman photo by S. Vanini, Museum of Pop Culture, courtesy of The Franklin Institute.

The more than 300 original artifacts on display include iconic comics, costumes and props ranging from the earliest Marvel comic books to original theatrical costumes of Black Panther and Captain America. Walk through life-size scenes that bring the comic book world to life and pose with detailed life-size sculptures of Marvel’s beloved characters, including Spider-Man and The Thing. Transform into Iron Man and see rare, hand-drawn images of iconic heroes such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America, by the artists who first designed them – all set to a soundscape created by acclaimed composer Lorne Balfe.

Black Panther selfie photo by C. Mitchell, Museum of Pop Culture, courtesy of The Franklin Institute.

“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,” Brian Crosby, Creative Director of Marvel Themed Entertainment. The exhibit traces how Marvel’s stories have responded to historical events and have tackled issues such as gender, race, and mental illness. Creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko are also profiled.

Dr. Strange Mirror Room photo by C. Mitchell, Museum of Pop Culture, courtesy of The Franklin Institute.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes can be seen at The Franklin Institute through September 11, 2019, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia. Daytime tickets include general museum admission and Evening tickets do not.


The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) is the official tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia globally and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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