Just like the movies that represent them, the world-premiere Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes exhibition at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is jam-packed with action. With more than 300 original artifacts, including some of Marvel’s most iconic and sought-after pages, artwork, costumes and props, it’s also the Museum’s largest exhibit to date. If you’re ready to take a journey through Marvel’s 80-year history, from inception to modern day, round up your crew of superhero villains and read on for the deets.

photo: Kristina Moy

Props and Costumes and Artwork! Oh, My! 
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes features over 300 original artifacts, including props and costumes from the Marvel TV series and movies (many of which have never-before been seen by the public) along with original artwork. If you’re hoping to find some of your favorite comic books from your youth, you probably won’t find them here. Why? The curators of the exhibit wanted to share the many worlds of the Marvel brand, not just comics. However, you will find a copy of Marvel’s first comic book from 1939 as well as the original art board for page 12 of “The Sub-Mariner” comic; the only known surviving piece of original art. And this is just the start of 80 years worth of Marvel memories featured.

photo: Kristina Moy

Upon entering the exhibit, you will pass by the “Newstand” which features comic book covers from the last 80 years as well as an interactive element that shows the newspaper headlines of the day and the comic book that was released during that time. Once inside, a short seven-minute film plays to catch everyone up on the history of Marvel.

photo: Kristina Moy

Fans (both big and small) will feel like they are part of a Marvel movie as their journey through the exhibit is highlighted with music, created by composers Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer just for the exhibit. Further in, three “studios” are shown highlighting the talent of various writers and artists (including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) of the comic books over the years. Each have their own interactive elements featured on one of the large drawing desks explaining the process of creating comic books and how they’ve changed over the years. While many comic books are not on display, many pages of original artwork used in the comic books are. And they are super cool to see. Be sure to check ’em out!

photo: Kristina Moy 

Marvel film buffs will be happy to know that some of the actual costumes used in the Marvel movies of the last ten years are on display, including those worn by the characters of The Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Doctor Strange and Luke Cage. Movie props are also featured in the exhibit, including Peter Quill’s Walkman (with Awesome Mix Vol. 1), the Orb and a bust of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Fans of the Iron-Man movie will find Iron-Man’s armor, Arc Reactor and armor briefcase along with Thor’s hammer from Thor, Black Widow’s batons from The Avengers and so much more!

photo: Jeffrey Totey

Photo Ops Galore! 
As you might expect, there are photo ops around ever corner so don’t forget your camera or iPhone. You and your little superheroes can pose with The Fantastic Four’s “The Thing” on the couch (psst…watch the window behind him to see other characters make brief appearances) or hang out with the web man himself, Spider-Man who hangs upside down. Parents, be sure to visit the wall near Spider-Man to listen to the original theme song of the original Saturday morning cartoon series. It’ll bring back memories, for sure!

photo: Kristina Moy

Can’t-Miss Attractions
Since there are so many great things to see and experience in this exhibition, you will likely have a hard time narrowing down your favorites. Our top three, can’t-miss faves include the Ant-Man animated display where a cartoon character version of the hero wanders around, the Doctor Strange room which is full of mirrors and shiny floors that will mess with your mind and the interactive “Become Iron-Man” display where you can virtually suit up in Iron-Man gear and “fly” around an interactive target game. Psst…this is a popular stop in the exhibit, so expect to wait in line.

photo: Jeffrey Totey

But Wait. There’s More! 
The lower level of the exhibit pays tribute to some of Marvel’s newer creations and TV series and also includes a number of other “urban crime fighters” like Daredevil and Ghostrider. Just before exiting the exhibit, stop by a display to vote for your favorite Marvel character and see how your vote measures up against visitors before you. For fans who just can’t wait to get home and dive into a stack of comic books, the creators have provided a special reading room near the exit with a big t-shaped couch, monitors playing popular comics and, of course, a few comic books on hand. Finally, a stop at the all-Marvel gift shop is in order for a great selection of souvenirs (think: hats, t-shirts, mugs, Funko POP figures, books and more).

photo: Kristina Moy 

Included with Admission 
Tickets for Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes range from $25-$36 (4 & under are free) and include all of MoPOP’s other galleries, including the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, Scared to Death, Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic, Indie Game Revolution, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970 and the Sound Lab. 

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes
325 5th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98105
Online: mopop.org

Dates: Now through January 6, 2019.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Have you visited Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes? What did you think of the exhibit? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

—Jeffrey Totey


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