Hearthside Happenings

The Franklin Institute's Marvel Exhibit

Journey into the rich worlds of comic books at The Franklin Institute's Marvel Exhibit before it leaves on September 11th.
Posted: September 04, 2019 by Joe Carelli

The colorful world of comics unfolds around you as you lose yourself in the world of comics, explore the impossible and discover the superhero within at The Franklin Institute's Marvel Exhibit in Philadelphia.

Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Man. Generations have grown up with these characters, their stories have resonated with many and their popularity continues to surge with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Avengers: Endgame was the most anticipated movie event of the year smashing box office records becoming the number one film of all time. This film was an unprecedented culmination of 22 Marvel movies (currently 23 and counting) featuring characters previously unknown to the mainstream such as Guardians of the Galaxy to the relatable Spider-Man.

The Franklin Institute has been home to a very special Marvel Exhibit that is concluding on Wednesday, September 11th.  The Franklin Institute Science Museum, named for our Founding Father and renowned scientist Benjamin Franklin allows people of all ages to understand the world around us.

Some of the exhibits in this museum include a focus on our planet’s ecosystem, climate change, sports, the human body, aircraft, transit, space, amazing machinery and a thorough exhibit about the inner-workings of the human brain! These exhibits are both informative and interactional, when your feet are feeling a bit weary you can look to the stars in the astonishing planetarium, take to the skies in the flight simulator or take a seat in the Tuttleman IMAX Theater. 

Journey deep into the rich world of comic books and immerse yourself in the masterful Marvel exhibit currently receiving tremendous popularity in Philadelphia. It explores the early pulp western and crime stories and the outrage that almost brought the industry to a screeching halt.

Comic burning events were hosted as the public were wary of this new mean of entertainment "plaguing" the youth. Marvel weathered the storm and broke through becoming a staple in people’s lives. Iconic visionaries Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko revived the industry, cementing Marvel into the mainstream juggernaut it is today.

As your journey into the exhibit striking original sketches, and completed panels canvas the walls digging deep into the stories behind the stories. You view the world through the lens in which they were first introduced such as the rush of patriotism in fighting the good fight with Captain America against WWII’s darkest atrocities. Shades of yourself can be found in any era when relating to web-slinging Peter Parker struggling with finances, adolescence, adulthood, relationships, responsibility, and grief over the loss of loved ones.

This exhibit provides profound respect to the dedicated, brilliant, diligent work that brought these characters to life. Their comics traverse a plethora of themes, allegories, and milestones from discrimination in the X-Men comics, family affairs with Fantastic Four, in addition, to providing an outlet for people of all races, genders, and walks of life.

Marvel has spanned many mediums since its initial appearances on comic pages. Disney acquired the rights to the majority of Marvel character and launched the MCU in 2008 with Iron Man. These films do the impossible and pluck ambitious, visually stunning pages from the comics exploring Earth, the cosmos, the real, the real weird and coming together in The Avengers.

There have been Marvel films outside of Disney’s Marvel Studios that helped blaze the way for modern comic book movies. Fans eagerly await the next iteration of Fantastic Four and X-Men which will bring the films into the MCU following Fox’s acquisition of Disney. In certain instances, deals were worked out to allow them into the MCU (Sony’s Spider-Man, which is currently in a state of limbo for future movies in the MCU).

Excluding legal, complex (and sometimes confusing) difficulties for a few characters, Disney acquisition of Marvel Studios allowed for a massive roster to play with and cross-over to other properties. This acquisition provides an ambitious, official interpretation true to the spirit of the comics.

There's no shortage of things to gawk at in this exhibit. Marvelous costumes and memorabilia from the films include but are not limited to Spider-Man, Thor, Captain Marvel, Starlord, Captain America, as well as Black Panther from the best picture academy award nominee film of the same name. The costumes alone allow you to see intricate details and the designer’s hard work to bringing them to life.

You can feel Tony Stark’s larger than life presence as you see Iron Man’s suit illuminating in front of you. As you progress through the exhibit you will become enchanted in a spectacle of mirrors, lights, and illusions surrounding Doctor Strange’s costume.

Watch as the eyes of those around you absorb the rich art, history and cultural importance of these icons. Kids and adults will line up to take pictures next to their favorite heroes and feel as if they are in the comics themselves.  

This special experience transcends what we believe to be possible, capturing your imagination, demonstrating the very real human elements of these superhumans and showing reflections of the superhero in you. Everybody will find something to marvel at from those who can write dissertations about Thor, to new fans finding their way into Marvel, and even non-fans will walk away with a better understanding of the deeper implications of these iconic stories.

In short, don’t miss out on your chance to journey deep into the comic book pages of the Marvel universe right here in Philadelphia!  Learn more about the Marvel Exhibit from the Franklin Institute of Science's webpage here and be sure to check it out before the exhibit leaves on September 11th. 

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