Thursday, May 28, 2009


As a kid I was not that into comic books, in fact my first comic was Spawn. Not a very kid friendly comic book to say the least, I think I was about 10. And from there I didn't get into comics until my later years when I found this amazing old Superman comic at the Rose Bowl Flea Market about 8 years ago. And my love for comics did not leave the realm of vintage comics. But now you can enter the realm of vintage comics without having to search for good condition comics.

The Skirball Museum has two amazing ongoing exhibits until August 9th called ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938–1950 and it's companion exhibit, Lights, Camera, Action: Comic Book Heroes of Film and Television.

Through never-before exhibited art and objects culled from private and institutional collections, ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950 explores the genesis of cultural icons such as Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman. In the midst of the economic and political turmoil of the 1930s and 1940s, comic books offered America champions who shaped the values of an entire generation. ZAP! POW! BAM! examines the creative processes and influences that drove young Jewish artists to express their talents through the storylines and art of comic books. The exhibition features rare vintage artwork and books, 1940s Hollywood movie serials, and colorful interactive displays including a drawing studio, a newsstand, a vintage Batmobile ride, and stations that allow children to dress up as Superheroes or transform themselves via a quick costume change in a telephone booth. Guest curator Jerry Robinson brings a long history as a comic book industry insider to the exhibition. Working with Batman co-creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Robinson named Robin, Batman's young protégé. Robinson also co-created The Joker, Batman's nemesis and one of the first Super-Villains.

Superman #14. Cover art by Fred Ray. © 1941 DC Comics.
Detective Comics #71. Cover art by Jerry Robinson. © 1942 DC Comics.
Wonder Woman #1, © summer 1942. DC Comics.

Or if you are more into the movie aspect, and lately the Comic book movie has been huge (ie. The Dark Night, The Hulk, All 3 Spiderman movies, etc.). You can check this out.

This companion exhibition to ZAP! POW! BAM! explores the enduring connection between comic book heroes and the moving image. Almost immediately after their rise to prominence in comic books, super heroes transcended their pulpy origins to find expression in theater, music, films, and television. Lights, Camera, Action examines the close relationship and parallel development of the comic book and motion picture industries. Treasured objects on view include the original 1966 Batcycle from the Batman television series, an original of Action Comics #1—featuring the first appearance of Superman—and Christopher Reeve's Superman costume.

Both are open to the public with the price of a general admission ticket to the museum, which so happens to be free on Thursdays (today) or $10 dollars otherwise. Check it out and hit me up when you do.