Zap! Pow! Bam!
The Golden Age of Comic Books 1938-1950

Superman, Batman and Comic Books Golden Age
at Maltz Museum of Jewish History

What do Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Spirit, Captain Marvel and The Hulk all have in common? If you said they have alter egos, look good in spandex, and helped shape American values, you're right.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman flies through Brick Wall at Maltz Museum

More importantly, the creators of the original superheroes were predominantly Jewish, as were the comic book publishers of that era, and their characters became beloved symbols of human potential and the triumph of good over evil.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Adolf Hitler comic book

While most were from New York, the boys who dreamed up Superman hailed from the Glenville neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Ohio historical mark birthplace of Superman - Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in Glenville

Step into the Maltz Museum September 16, 2008 - January 4, 2009 and you'll be enveloped in an entertaining and illuminating world, at once a nostalgic look at the origins of the still-vibrant superhero genre and a glimpse into the 'story behind the story' - their invention as America recovered from the Depression and entered World War II.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman superhero comic book golden age poster

"This is one of our most entertaining exhibitions yet," comments Judi Feniger, Executive Director.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman Atom Man Superheo cinema

"It has something for everyone - history, drama, adventure. Kids will have a blast trying on costumes, drawing in the Comic Studio and riding the Batmobile while their parents and grandparents can relive the thrill of sneaking off to the movies to see serials and hiding comics under the covers after lights out."

(photos by Dan Hanson) Batmobile in Metroplois awaiting Batman

Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero includes vintage artwork, rare early comic books, scripts, multi-media presentations, original toys and games, videotaped conversations with some of the leading comic book creators of their time, and colorful interactive displays.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Batman and Joker - Comic Studio

Through never-before exhibited art and objects culled from private and institutional collections, the exhibition explores the genesis of these important cultural icons and how they shaped popular opinion, then and now.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Green Kryptonite

A season-long offering of public programs delves further into issues like gender and racial stereotyping in the comics and how a comic is created.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Creator of Superman and Batman and other comic book super heroes

"There is great pop culture history here," notes Feniger, "wonderful vintage pins, puzzles, games and toys, scripts and postcards. One of my favorites is the first concept sketch of The Joker from the Batman series. When I think of The Joker, I picture the film version played by Jack Nicholson, and now we have Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight - but the original was from a much simpler time."

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman phone booth

Kids can step into the phone booth, hear the phone ring and when they answer it Superman will be on the line. He will ask them for help and there are costumes they can change into.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman, supergirl costumes

(photos by Dan Hanson) Batman and Robin costumes

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is at 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, Ohio, 44122, online at Docent-led tours of the Permanent Collection and this Special Exhibition are available.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman Statue

The Museum Store carries Superman items year-round, and, during this exhibition, a wide range of colorful and kitschy superhero-themed merchandise.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman gift shop at Maltz Museum

The Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., and Saturday Noon - 5 p.m. It is also open daily including Mondays for group tours.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Joker in Detective Comics # 71.  Cover art by Jerry Robinson

Detective Comics # 71. Cover art by Jerry Robinson. Copyright 1942 DC Comics

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman # 14.  Cover art by Fred Ray.  Copyright 1941 DC Comics
Superman # 14. Cover art by Fred Ray.
Copyright 1941 DC Comics

For more information on the exhibition, admission, programs, the Museum Store, membership, sponsorships, group tours and hosting private events, visit the website or phone 216.593.0575.

(photos by Dan Hanson) Superman flies out of telephone booth

Official Shop of Superman!

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