Scottsdale Public Art

Temporary Art

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

During 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! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950 explores the genesis of cultural icons such as Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and Captain America, and the ways that those figures shaped popular opinion.


Originated by The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, the exhibition features vintage artwork and books, multi-media presentations, and colorful interactive displays that immerse one in the world of Super Heroes.


TheGallery@theLibrary serves the Scottsdale community with exhibitions and educational programming that strengthens awareness of the arts and stimulates community dialogue. This exhibition examines the creative processes and influences that drove young, largely Jewish artists to express their talents through the story lines and art of graphic novels.


ZAP! POW! BAM!’s “Super Hero Cinema” showcases 1940s Hollywood movie serials and videotaped interviews with several leading artists and writers. Rare early comic books, superhero memorabilia, selected artifacts from creators and publishers, and original art on loan from major individual and institutional collectors bring Super Heroes to life.


ZAP! POW! BAM! features a drawing studio, a news stand offering free comic books, and, in conjunction with Reading Is Fundamental, a comic book nook. Interactive stations allow children to dress up as Super Heroes or transform themselves via a quick costume change in a telephone booth. On both adult and children’s levels, educational aspects of the exhibition promote literacy, character development, and understanding comic books as a cultural force.

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