The New-York Historical Society will explore the history of superhero comics, and the city’s importance “as a creative force behind a uniquely American mythology,” in an exhibition called “Superheroes in Gotham.”
“Comics are a huge cultural force, but few remember their New York roots,” Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, said in a statement. “’Superheroes in Gotham’ will immerse visitors in the early days of comics and their evolution, so they can learn more about the genesis of their favorite characters, encounter new voices that continue the creative tradition today, and perhaps see aspects of their own neighborhoods imaginatively captured on the page.”
Opening Oct. 9, the exhibition will feature material ranging from a rare copy of 1938’s Action Comics #1 and a Batmobile from the 1966 Batman TV series to original Spider-Man drawings by Steve Ditko from Amazing Fantasy #15 to clips from early radio and film adaptations. The two Ditko sketches will be available for public view for the first time outside of the Library of Congress.
The first gallery will be devoted to tracing the origins of iconic characters like Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America and Wonder Woman, showcasing a range of first issues, as well as early drawings by the likes of Ditko, H.G. Peter and Joe Simon. The second gallery will follow the superheroes’ journeys from the comics page to radio, television and film, while the third will explore the influence of superheroes on New York artists, including Philip Pearlstein.
But “Superheroes in Gotham” won’t only delve into the past; the exhibition will also spotlight contemporary New York-based superhero comics and artists.
More information can be found on the New-York Historical Society website. “Superheroes in Gotham” will be on exhibit from Oct. 9 to Feb. 21 at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.