Sneak Peek at MoPOP’s New Marvel Exhibit, Opening April 21

Transport yourself into the Marvel Universe at MoPOP
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  • Time for a photo op with Spider-man. The chief curator, Benjamin Saunders, remarked how the life-size figure hasn’t been kissed...yet.
  • Take a break from the exhibit and catch up on some reading with The Thing.
  • According to Saunders, this is the only surviving cover of the first Marvel comic, “The Sub-Mariner.”
  • You can take a selfie with Black Panther! Plus, see the original Black Panther costume worn by Chadwick Boseman in the movie.
  • This 1978 calendar illustration features all the characters from the Marvel universe. How many can you name?
  • The famous quote from Peter Parker's Uncle Ben in Spiderman.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy corner features Groot and Gamora.
  • Tony Stark has quite the wardrobe. Three suits from the Iron Man movies are on display at the new exhibit.
  • Almost all the original comic book art and panels featured in this exhibit are on loan from private collectors.
  • Back in the early days, comics were bought from newstands. As you enter the exhibit, the first thing you’ll notice is the big newsstand showcasing quite a few comics.
  • Check out young Stan Lee, the comic-book author, editor and film executive has been doing comics for over half a century.

One of the most anticipated MoPOP exhibits is finally opening its doors to comic and pop culture fans. Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes opens to the public this weekend with a two-floor, 10,000 square foot exhibit, the largest to date at MoPOP.

The exhibit uniquely tells the story of Marvel, from the very first comic (Human Torch!), printed in 1939, to the most recent Marvel movies and Netflix shows. The chief curator, Benjamin Saunders, a University of Oregon professor who founded an undergraduate minor program in Comics and Cartoon Studies, wanted to both showcase original art and to tell a multifaceted story that has is 80 years in the making

According to Saunders, no art institution invested in preserving comic art in the 20th century. As a result, many of the items--comic panels, sketches, and comics-- in the exhibit are from private collectors who have generously lended their pieces. However, there is one piece that is loaned from the Library of Congress which is a page showing the first appearance of Spider-Man’s iconic costume and web shooters, from 1967.

One original sketch, shows the development of characters, such as The Punisher, who had other equally deadly name options during the first phases of his creation: The Executioner and The Grim Reaper. Other pieces show the power of storytelling through design of comic book panels themselves.

Aside from the art, the exhibit features an interactive digital video feature where you get to be outfitted as Iron Man (I’m sure there will be a line a mile long for this). Plus, original costumes from blockbuster hits Black Panther, The Avengers, Doctor Strange and Captain America and more are sprinkled throughout the exhibit.

Throughout the exhibit there are interactive touchscreens that let you jump in even deeper into the Marvel universe and spend hours reading about artists, various characters and how the Marvel world mirrors ours. Speaking of mirrors, you won’t want to miss the Dr. Strange where an old carnival trick brilliantly brings the movie’s scenery bending moments to life.

Saunders wants the exhibit to appeal to both die hard comics fans and casual Marvel movie watchers. Based on the topic alone, there’s no doubt this exhibit will be packed for the months to come.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes opens Friday April 20 to members and Saturday April 21 to the public and runs through January 6, 2019. For tickets visit

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