The origins of such iconic characters as Captain America, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are explored through a new traveling exhibit at Young At Art Museum in Davie.
“Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950” spotlights the pioneer artists, writers and editors who turned a hobby into a global phenomenon.
The collection of more than 70 pieces came from the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. The late Jerry Robinson, creator of the Joker character, curated the exhibit.
“The year 1938 is important because that was the year Superman made his debut,” said Yumina Myers, YAA’s outreach coordinator, curriculum and program manager. “It's a time during the Great Depression. People are very sad. There is a lot of unemployment and struggling. During that time, two young fellows, Joe [Shuster] and Jerry [Siegel], got together to develop Superman. The Golden Age happened with issue after issue coming out. … It gave people hope and dreams in a sad world. Superman gave them power.”
At the museum’s entrance, visitors are welcomed by a replica of a phone booth Clark Kent uses to change into his superhero persona and Superman bursting through a brick wall. Items on display include rare original comics from different periods, early sketches, vintage merchandise and posters.
Interactive stations include the phone booth, a Batmobile children can ride in and a drawing studio where youngsters can create their own heroes. Youngsters also can make masks, put on a costume, read comics and newspapers at the newsstand, and watch early black and white Hollywood productions in the Super Hero Cinema.
Through each station, visitors gain insight through historical elements, what went into the creative process, the idea of narratives and more.
The Wall of Fame area above a working typewriter features recent superhero works by Rob Cabrera, Manny Aguilera and Marcos Rivera.
“I've always enjoyed comics,” Rivera said. “It's very hard for me to leave and do my work because I really want to stay here. It's my favorite exhibit so far.”
Samantha Probert, 9, enjoyed making her own “kryptonite” using rocks and highlighters.
“My brother is a big comic book fan,” she said. “I like Superman because he is strong. It's a lot of fun here. I also learned that Benjamin Franklin was the first one to make a comic.”
Jacob Berger, her classmate at Griffin Elementary School in Cooper City, also liked the exhibit.
“I usually don't read comics unless they are in the LEGO magazines, but I like Spider-Man the most,” he said. “… Walking around, I got to see pictures of comics and learned about superheroes I never knew, like Atoman.”
The exhibit is on display through Jan. 5, and the museum is planning a host of events to go along with the superhero theme. The museum is at 751 SW 121st Ave.
For more information, call 954-424-0085 or visit YoungAtArtMuseum.org.