Like mythological Greek gods of old, superheroes captivate the imaginations of people of all ages. Superman’s 1938 debut kicked off the golden age of comic books, and superheroes have used their breathtaking powers to fight evildoers ever since. More superheroes have emerged throughout the decades, thrilling comic readers with their exploits, and their massive success in making the leap to movie screens around the world makes this a new golden age for these larger-than-life characters.
Stan Lee (born Stanley Lieber, December 28, 1922–November 12, 2018) was one of the creators of the modern superhero template. His gift for storytelling, with multi-dimensional heroes and villains, thrilled audiences around the world. His work on early comics featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and The Avengers helped lead Marvel to success. Lee used his Marvel platform to speak out against bigotry and racism by proclaiming the availability of the hero's journey for everyone. Lee and Jack Kirby famously created the first black superhero in mainstream American comics; the Black Panther made his first comic book appearance in 1966. Lee continued to reinvent himself and create modern global superheroes while delighting fans in movie cameos as a cultural icon in his own right.
Explore items in our collections related to superheroes, including comic books, original comic art, movie and television costumes and props, and memorabilia.