These days, it seems the Marvel franchise can do no wrong. In addition to the success of the Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy films, last year’s Black Panther was the first superhero movie ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. It’s also the franchise’s top-grossing film so far, netting over $688 million.
The Franklin Institute is celebrating this cultural phenomenon with Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes. Debuting April 13, the 15,000-square-foot exhibition includes over 300 artifacts from the box-office hits, including costumes and props. Philadelphia is just the second city to host Marvel, and the first on the East Coast. “Our show begins with the origins of the Marvel universe and moves through to the present day,” says curator Ben Saunders. “It gives you a chance to see some of the rarest and most precious objects from the past 80 years of pop-culture history, and it points toward the future with work from some of today’s foremost creators,”
In addition to its glimpse behind the scenes, the exhibit also sheds light on the iconic characters and their ties to pop culture. “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,” 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 superhero.”
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