Marvel Entertainment’s Spider-Man has been outwitting supervillains and captivating audiences for six decades. Now, the webcrawling hero is the subject of an extensive multimedia exhibit at San Diego’s new Balboa Park Comic-Con Museum, which opens July 1, 2022, just in time for San Diego Comic-Con later in the year. month.
Spider Man: Beyond Incredible — The Exhibition was developed by Semmel Exhibitions and Marvel Entertainment, presented by special agreement with the Comic-Con Museum and Comic-Con International. The show features thousands of unique artifacts from Spider-Man comics, movies, animation, toys, video games, and merchandise from the 1960s to the present day, as well as cutting-edge digital and immersive experiences. Many pieces are on loan from private collections and are cumulatively valued in the tens of millions of dollars, especially in today’s booming comic book and collectibles market.
The exhibit was co-curated by Dr. Ben Saunders, director of comics studies at the University of Oregon, and Patrick A. Reed, pop culture historian and events and exhibits professional. Saunders, who is also the publisher of the all-new Marvel Penguin Classics, previously hosted the Marvel: the universe of superheroes exhibition launched in 2018 and still on tour.
Reed says the exhibit strives to create a “step-by-step celebration of 60 years of arguably the world’s most iconic and recognizable superhero across all media.” The show takes a chronological approach to history, with each room dedicated to a decade of artwork, animation cels, artifacts and information.
Saunders says the team paid special attention to reproducing the artwork, both digitally and mechanically, to create the original mood of the material, right down to the dots Ben Day used to create color effects in cheap print comics from the 60s and 70s. “We want people to be able to experience this piece of culture as it was experienced at the time of release,” he said.
According to Reed and Saunders, the exposition takes a three-tiered approach to the character. The first is cultural history, exploring Spider-Man’s ongoing interaction with American society from the 1960s to the present day, including the incorporation of real-life social issues and New York’s geography. Second, the history of character editing, acknowledging pioneers like visual storyteller Steve Ditko and dialogue editor/writer Stan Lee (who is credited with co-creating the character) through to the creators of comic books and other media that reinvented Spidey and his mythos for successive generations. The third aspect covers the character’s internal history, including the evolution of Peter Parker and his expanding cast, including all the different Spider-folk who now inhabit his multiverse.
“We follow this movement of guys working on a typewriter, pencil and Bristol board, starting just with the simplest tools, which ends up being this global franchise with dozens of legacy characters,” Saunders said. . “It’s a story told with objects and artifacts, including original artwork, costumes and props, and an extensive array of digital canvases.”
Reed says the expanded team of designers and professionals took advantage of the Comic-Con Museum’s expansive new space to create massive immersive experiences that combine physical objects and high-resolution digital images, “selfie moments” featuring life-size foam sculptures produced by Gentle Giant, and other state-of-the-art features.
The self-guided exhibit can be enjoyed in 45 to 60 minutes, Saunders says, but highly engaged visitors could spend hours consuming the voluminous notes and unpacking dense montages of images stitched together from every stage of Spider-Man’s career. .
The exhibit is one of the highest-profile events yet for the Comic-Con Museum, which officially opened last November. The museum is owned and operated by the same organization that hosts San Diego Comic-Con, which will make its full-scale return on July 20 after a two-year hiatus. Organizers expect at least some of the more than 160,000 Comic-Con attendees to head to Balboa Park to check out the new show as well as some of the other exhibits going on at the museum, including a history of Pac- Man and a spotlight on Rocket creator Dave Stevens.
The Comic-Con Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with last admission at 5 p.m. Standard admission, including “Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing – The Exhibition” (adults 18 and over) is $30; children (ages 4-12) are $18; seniors (65+), students (13-17), and military are $24; and group packages for 10 or more are $25 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Fever: Beyondamazingexhibition.com.