New exhibition to chart New York roots of comic book heroes

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2015-11-09 10:00:19

The New York origins of the world's greatest comic book superheroes will be revealed at an exhibition by the New-York Historical Society this fall.

Superheroes in Gotham delves into the way in which the city helped inspire the creation of characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man.

“Comics are a huge cultural force, but few remember their New York roots,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “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.”

The first gallery tells the story of how these iconic characters came into being - created by New York-based artists and writers, and viewed in a cultural and historical context which takes in patriotism, WWII, and the evolution of the city through the 1950s and 60s.

Amongst the rarest items on display will be copies of Action Comics #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15, the comic book debuts of Superman and Spiderman, along with two original Steve Ditko drawings from Amazing Fantasy #15, displayed publically for the first time outside the Library of Congress.

The second gallery examines how these characters made the transition from the page to the screen, decades before the franchises which now rule the box office – from the earliest Superman and Batman serials and cartoons of the 1940s, to the Spiderman and Wonder Woman TV shows of the 1960s and 70s. 

The third gallery in the exhibition explores the way in which comic books have influenced generations of New York artists, as well as inspiring contemporary characters and stories set in the city.

Superheroes in Gotham is now open at the New-York Historical Society, and runs until February 21, 2016.

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