Apr 28, 2022 - Things to Do

Inside COSI's super Marvel exhibit

A Spider-Man prop hangs upside down, displayed by a spotlight
Take a selfie with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man at COSI's "Marvel: Universe of Superheroes" exhibit. Photos: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

Happy National Superhero Day! Avengers fans, assemble at this massive Columbus exhibit that's worthy of your time.

What's happening: The world's largest collection of Marvel memorabilia is at COSI till May 30, featuring movie costumes, props and original artwork.

  • Iron Man's suits. Thor's hammer. Captain America's shield … yup, they've got it all.

Why it matters: Our infatuation with superheroes continues to surge, largely spurred by the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • This 300-artifact exhibit celebrates the beloved films while also paying homage to decades of comic books responsible for the modern pop culture phenomenon.

Of note: I'm definitely not the target clientele. I haven't seen a Marvel film since the first "Avengers" 10 years ago. I fell asleep — and my cinephile husband won't let me live it down.

Yes, but: I still enjoyed our recent visit. It's fun to see such excited, enthusiastic fans.

  • Even the guy who was really eager to recreate the kiss scene from 2002's "Spider-Man" with the life-sized Spidey prop.

My take: This 10,000-square-foot exhibit rivals collections I toured in Hollywood. Browse casually and snap a selfie with The Thing. Or if you've got a few hours, spend them reading all the context and rich history.

  • Some highlights: the only surviving page of the first Marvel comic from 1939, a showcase of Stan Lee's movie cameos and a staged storefront with vintage toys.
  • The exhibit also tackles subjects like the "moral panic" comics caused in the '50s and efforts to be more inclusive with characters like Black Panther and Ms. Marvel.

If you go: 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday. $40 adults, $35 ages 2-12, includes COSI admission.

💡 Pro tip: Be patient. This will likely be a busy, popular attraction any day of the week.

A replica of Ms. Marvel with a giant fist
A replica of Ms. Marvel, a modern hero and Marvel's first Muslim character, with an "embiggened" fist.
A display of vintage superhero toys behind a window
A display of vintage superhero toys and merchandise.
A display of costumes from the 2018 "Black Panther" film
A display of costumes from the 2018 "Black Panther" film, inspired by East African tribal traditions.
A interactive exhibit explaining how sketches come to life as comics
A interactive exhibit explaining how sketches come to life as comics.
A Captain America costume and shield exhibit
Captain America's shield from 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" alongside a display of costumes.
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