Fan of comic books? Enjoy checking out cool old stuff? Want to see the 1966 TV Batmobile…? Then get thee to the New-York Historical Society!
Starting Oct. 9, the Superheroes in Gotham exhibit will offer an incredible behind-the-scenes look at the history of comic books, the cultural phenomenon born right here in NYC.
A list of the past decade’s highest grossing movies highlights the astonishing impact comic books have thrust upon the world of entertainment, and the multitude of properties currently in development suggests the momentum is stronger than ever.
Along with focusing on the history behind the most famous superheroes—the likes of Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and Batman—the exhibit also showcases stories behind more recently developed characters inspired by NYC.
New York City itself is the exhibit's unifying theme; Superheroes in Gotham will explore how the country's largest metropolitan area served as fuel for comic book creativity, becoming the driving force behind a distinctly American mythology.
An abundance of rare comics memorabilia will be on display, including (but not restricted to) several of Steve Ditko’s original pages from Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man, released in 1962); a copy of Action Comics #1 (published in 1938 and featuring Superman’s debut, in turn spawning creation of the superhero genre); clips from early Superman radio and film adaptations; the actual Batmobile from the hit 1966 TV series; plus an original costume from the Broadway stage show Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
Contemporary New York-themed displays include a copy of DMC, a comic set in 1980's NYC that centers around the alter-ego of musician Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC. The book will be displayed alongside the hip-hop pioneer’s trademark fedora, glasses, and Adidas sneakers. Brooklyn-based Dean Haspiel will also have art from his independent web-based comic books on view.
Interestingly, Superheroes in Gotham concludes with a chronicling of the United States’ first ever comic convention, taking place in NYC back in 1964.
From the New-York Historical Society’s website:
"Comic book superheroes are a part of our daily lives. They engage our imaginations on the pages of comic books, television and movie screens, as well as the Broadway stage and in the virtual world of gaming. Contemporary literature and art reference them; adults and children alike delight in donning superhero t-shirts, caps, and sneakers.
"Since their introduction in the late 1930s, superheroes have been powerful role models, inspirational and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they reflect, respond to, and offer ways to navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Comic books are a great American art form, a cultural phenomenon born in New York City that now extends around the globe.
"Superheroes in Gotham will tell the story of the birth of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from the page into radio, television, and film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega event known as New York Comic Con; and the ways in which comic book superheroes, created in the late 1930s through the 1960s, have inspired and influenced the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City."
Located at 170 Central Park West, the exhibit runs from Oct. 9 through Feb. 21, 2016. Don't miss out on this epic dose of Nerd Nirvana!