In the Last Week, the Museum of Science & Industry Has Re-Opened, Opened the Traveling Marvel Exhibit, Re-Opened the Burlington Zephyr Exhibit, and Added Evening Hours for the Marvel Exhibit
The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) in Chicago re-openedto the public on Sunday, March 7, A.D. 2021, and the traveling exhibit Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes opened to the public on that same date. There was a press preview on the morning of Thursday, March 4, A.D. 2021. The M.S.I. and Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes were open exclusively for Museum Members from the 4th to the 6th of March.
The Pioneer Zephyr exhibit has re-opened after an extensive remodeling. For now, there are no tours of the U-505 and Coal Mine. However, there will be twenty-five-minute-long virtual online tours of the U-505 every Saturday and Sunday, starting on Saturday, March 13, A.D. 2021. For now, the M.S.I. will be open Wednesdays through Sundays and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Face coverings are required for employees and guests ages two-and-over.
Fans of Michael Jordan should be sure to stop by a small exhibit of things he lent to the M.S.I. that are on display in the Lower Court. This small exhibit promotes Michael Jordan to the Max, which is playing in the Giant Dome Theater in the Henry Crown Space Center. The film has been remastered for the re-release of the film to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. This documentary showcases Jordan in his prime leading the Chicago Bulls to the 1998 N.B.A. Finals.
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes will run through Sunday, October 24, A.D. 2021. [This represents an extension, because earlier the M.S.I. announced it would run through Monday, September 6, A.D. 2021.] Originally, it was supposed to open on Thursday, October 8, A.D. 2020 and remain on display through April of 2021, but that was before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrating over eighty years of Marvel comics, the exhibit consists of 300 artifacts, including Marvel Cinematic Universe (M.C.U.) movie costumes, props; and original art.
Entry requires a separate, timed-entry ticket. The first employee who greeted me and a television reporter (and her cameraman) during the press preview explained the exhibit was already sold out through mid-April, but a senior-level spokeswoman clarified for me that it was 90% sold out for March. As of this writing, there is still at least one date in March for which what I will now call daytime tickets are available.
Tickets must be purchased in advance online at https://www.msichicago.org. They will be delivered by e-mail. Guests will then display the tickets on their smartphones for no-contact entry scanning.
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for children (ages three-to-eleven) or $9 for Members. Originally, these would simply have been called tickets for the exhibit, but now they must be called daytime tickets because the exhibit is so popular that the M.S.I. has begun to sell tickets to see it at night after the rest of the Museum is closed. These evening tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for children (ages three-to-eleven), and $20 for Members. As of this writing, there are still evening tickets available on eight dates in April.
The exhibit, which closed in 2019, is no longer called All Aboard the Silver Streak, but rather is simply called The Pioneer Zephyr. The Pioneer Zephyr, also known as the Burlington Zephyr, is a streamlined, diesel-electric articulated stainless-steel train. It was the first American diesel-electric passenger train; the first in a fleet of nine shovelnose diesel-electric trains built by the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company (CB&Q) between 1934 and ‘39; and it is a speed-record holder. Named after the Greek god of the west wind, the Zephyr set a speed record on May 26, 1934, when it went from Denver to Chicago in thirteen hours and then went on display at Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34).
In 1960, the CB&Q donated the Zephyr to the M.S.I. For thirty-four years, it sat outside behind the East Pavilion, near the U-505 (which is now also inside). The M.S.I. paid to have Northern Railcar Corporation restore the Zephyr to 1934 conditions for a cost of $1,500,000, much of the funding coming from The Grainger Foundation. The process took about three years, and the train was brought back to Chicago via truck in 1997. The 31,000-square-foot Great Hall and new Zephyr exhibit All Aboard the Silver Streak opened on July 16, A.D. 1998.
The Zephyr stands between the two wings of M.S.I.’s underground garage, which is under the north lawn. Thus, the entrance to the exhibit hall is at the north end of the Entry Hall (formerly known as the Great Hall). The Entry Hall connects the garage and Zephyr exhibit hall to the rest of the Museum by way of escalators, stairs, and elevators at the south end of the Entry Hall.
Ravenswood Studio, Inc. and ISO Design helped the curatorial and exhibit design staff overhaul the exhibit. “The Pioneer Zephyr is a beloved piece of transportation and Museum history that has wowed guests for generations,” stated John Llewellyn, Creative Lead at the M.S.I. “We are thrilled to reopen this Museum icon for guests to experience up close its beautiful design and incredible story which sets the stage for what to expect as they explore the rest of MSI.”
The entrance to the exhibit now has an eye-catching red color scheme that matches the shame of red in the frame of the Burlington Zephyr emblem on the front of the train. [I believe this should draw attention to the train, which is helpful because – and this is crazy – but even though it is a whole train, there are people who miss the train being in the Entry Hall or forget about it being there and are shocked to see it when they must face it as they leave, whether they descend to the Entry Hall floor via stairs or escalator or elevator.] The red color scheme continues with shelves that support historic photographs on both sides of the train, the ramp on the starboard side of the train, and the stairs that lead up the platform.
The Zephyr’s exhibit space used to be well-illuminated space that was three stories tall and visitors who parked in the underground garage were able to look down on the train through large windows. The exhibit hall is now one story tall, and visitors are no longer able to look down on the train from within the garage. Now, the exhibit hall is a dark space with dramatic lighting that lends it a romantic atmosphere.
There continues to be a platform on the starboard side of the train. There is a different educational display on the platform. This new display is devoted to traction motors. In addition to the aforementioned stairs that lead up to the platform from the rear of the train, there is now an elevator for the benefit of wheelchair-bound people who want to go all the way around the train.
There is now an animation running on floor-to-ceiling screens on the portside side of the train. When I toured the exhibit with a spokeswoman, I remarked that the animation reminded me of anime inspired by early 20th Century French and German architecture. Upon further reflection, it also reminds me of the animated train that was part of the opening credits of the first eight seasons of Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013). This animation emphasizes the speed and streamlining of the Zephyr.
The table that had stood on the portside of the train that had a scale model of the Zephyr where visitors could slide the portside half of it up to reveal the interior is gone.
Formerly, there were display cases at the back of the exhibit hall, and they have been removed. Where there had been a display case devoted to a security guard uniform and artifacts from A Century of Progress, there is now a shelf on which rests a group of artistically arranged photographs. There remains a movie theater behind the Zephyr, but it is different and there are no longer display cases featuring artifacts that demonstrated the influence of streamlining on the design of everyday household devices in the 1930s.
The animatrons, such as Zeph the talking burro have been removed. Costumed docents no longer conduct tours of the Zephyr. Rather, visitors enter and stroll through at their own pace. The hologram of an actor in character as a 1930s U.S. Post Office trainman explaining how the postal service worked on trains continues to play.
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes
Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is devoted to the history of Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios. A large part of the exhibit is devoted to costumes and props from films and television shows in the M.C.U. It also includes some costumes and props that appeared in Columbia’s Spider-Man films, but do not expect to see costumes or props from the Blade films, which were made by New Line or the X-Men films and television show or Fantastic Four films, which were made by 20th Century Fox.
Throughout the exhibit are many examples of “original art.” These are hand-drawn and lettered pages that were turned into comic books. Artists including Jack Kirby; Steve Ditko; John Buscema; John Romita, Senior; and Gene Colan drew art by hand in pencil. Then inkers, including Dick Ayers, Tom Palmer, and Hohn Sinnott drew over the pencil drawings in ink and erased unnecessary pencil lines. The examples of original art in the exhibit are identified by spiky word balloons on the exhibit labels.
This traveling exhibit was organized by SC Exhibitions; the Museum of Popular Culture (“MoPop”) in Seattle, Washington; and Marvel Themed Entertainment. BMO Harris Bank is the sponsor of the exhibit at the M.S.I.
“MSI is one of Chicago’s cultural treasures, and we are delighted to help celebrate its reopening and welcome visitors safely back,” stated Tracie Morris, U.S. Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Inclusion Officer at BMO Harris Bank. “This exhibit brings to life the diversity of Marvel’s expanding characters, which supports BMO’s purpose to foster an inclusive world and Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.”
The exhibit is divided between two galleries, both of which are on the Main Floor in the Museum of Science and Industry’s Central Pavilion. The first gallery is along the west wall of the North Court, also known as the Rosenwald Court, and the second one is along the south wall of the East Court, also known as the Transportation Gallery.
Scottish composer Lorne Balfe created the cinematic music that plays in the background of the exhibit. Mr. Blafe is a rising star amongst film composers. He scored the last Mission Impossible film and will score the next one, too. More germane to this exhibit, he scored Black Widow (2021), which will be the first film of Phase 4 of the M.C.U.
I recommend going through this exhibit with a spouse, friend, or group of friends or relatives because if you want to have your picture taken with the superhero statues, you are not really going to take everything in, even with a selfie stick, unless someone stands several feet back and snaps the picture.
The first room in the first gallery is devoted to Marvel #1 and the first three superheroes introduced by Marvel Comics: the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and Captain America. As you walk down a short hallway, the first thing you will see as you enter that room is a sepia-toned photograph of a young boy in a Captain America costume reading a Captain America comic book. Most people will have to turn back to look at something they passed at the entrance – a copy of Marvel #1 on a display box on a plinth.
The first superhero comic book published by Timely Comics with a cover date of October, 1939, was Marvel #1, which included Marvel’s first two superheroes: the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. [In the 1960s, the company adopted the name Marvel.] This was not the Human Torch with whom we are now familiar from the Fantastic Four but rather an android. In 1940, against the backdrop of the Second Great World War (1939-1945) which the U.S.A. had not yet entered, artist, writer, and editor Joe Simon (1913-2011) and artist Jack Kirby (1917-1994) co-created the patriotic superhero Captain America.
After that first room, you walk down a long dark hallway lined with dramatically illuminated Captain America art. Then you encounter a large exhibit label that relates information about the history of comic books that is important to keep in mind because it explains why between the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1930s and ‘40s and the Silver Age of Comic Books in the 1960s, comic book publishers pivoted away from superhero stories and suffered a backlash from parents and social commentators because some of those other stories were considered degenerate.
Comic book publishers shifted focus away from superhero stories because comic book readers were less interested in superheroes in the late 1940s. Publishers concentrated more on tales of science fiction, humor, romance, and westerns. DC continued to publish Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman titles, but dropped most other superheroes and Timely Comics dropped superheroes entirely. Gruesome true-crime and horror comics were also popular in the early 1950s, which provoked the ire of Dr. Fredric Wertham (1895-1981), a psychiatrist who wrote Seduction of the Innocent. He blamed comic books for the rise of juvenile delinquency. This led the comic book publishers to band together under the umbrella of the Comics Code Authority.
After the long hallway is a room devoted to writer Stan Lee (1922-2018) and artist Jack Kirby. Normally, comic book writers write scripts they expect artists to illustrate or they illustrate themselves. However, in the 1950s and ‘60s Lee developed the “Marvel Method” in which he would write a story synopsis for a penciler who would flesh out the story and not simply illustrate it. After the penciler turned in his work, which amounted to twenty pages per issue of a comic book title, Lee would write the dialogue. A letterer would then draw word balloons onto the original art by hand and write Lee’s dialogue in the word balloons. The inker would then use a dip-pen or brush to draw over the pencil lines because the black-and-white contrast was better than gray tones for the printer to reproduce. The printer received the original art with color guides in order to print the final comic book product.
During the period from the late 1940s to the early ‘60s when comic book sales remained strong but there was comparatively little interest in superheroes (aside from Superman) on the part of comic book readers, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby focused on literally weird tales. Lee and Kirby co-created the Fantastic Four in 1961. The next year, they created the Fantastic Four’s arch-foe Doctor Doom. They also created Spider-Man in 1962 with artist Stephen J. (“Steve”) Ditko (1927-2018). Kirby also had a hand in the creation of Marvel’s version of the Norse god Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the hero Nick Fury, the X-Men team, and the superhero Black Panther.
Around the corner from the Fantastic Four room is a rectangular room that is devoted to the Black Panther. Mounted on one wall are works of original art, an exhibit label, and a touch screen about the history of the character. This room holds both a statue of Black Panther – the second of three statues in the first gallery – and three costumes from Black Panther (2018).
In Marvel comics, Marvel cartoons, and the M.C.U., Wakanda is a hermit kingdom ruled by a line of warrior-kings each of whom adopts the identity of the Black Panther. T’Challa, the current Black Panther, is both a king and superhero. Jack Kirby came up with the concept of Wakanda as a “techno-jungle” when he introduced Black Panther in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966. The late Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020) played T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Figure 17 Credit: Seán M. O’Connor Caption: This statue of Black Panther is the second superhero statue in the exhibit. There is plenty of space for one or two people at a time to pose beside the statue of Black Panther for a picture, unlike the seated statue of Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing.
Perpendicular to the Black Panther room is a larger rectangular room devoted to Spider-Man in comics, cartoons, and live-action films. Stan Lee and Stephen J. (“Steve”) Ditko (1927-2018) co-created Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man in 1962. The first thing that is visible as you enter this room is an upside-down statue of Spider-Man, the third statue in the first gallery, but if you rush over there too quickly, you will miss the wall with a holographic drawing of Miles Morales as Spider-Man and art from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created Miles Morales in 2011 for the Marvel Ultimate continuity. This room holds original art, animation cels from the television cartoon shows Spider-Man (1967-1970) and Spider-Woman (1979-1980), as well as costumes and props worn by Willem Defoe in Spider-Man (2002), Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Be sure to watch the screen that plays the opening from Spider-Man (1967-1970) with its popular theme song.
Turn left to see the room devoted to the Incredible Hulk. The duo of Lee and Kirby co-created Dr. Robert Bruce Banner/The Hulk and introduced him in The Incredible Hulk #1 in 1962. The character obviously owed something to Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Lee acknowledged as much. An exhibit label acknowledges the relationship between the Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and adds the character is also inspired by the Frankenstein’s Monster (called “Frankenstein” with quotation marks in the exhibit label). In addition to original art and a fun depiction of the Incredible Hulk and The Thing about to trade blows, there is a touchscreen with two presentations from the C.B.S. television series The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982).
The last section of the first gallery is devoted to The Avengers superhero team. There is a room devoted to Iron Man the way there are rooms devoted to Black Panther, Spider-Man, and the Incredible Hulk. With support from Lee and Kirby, Larry Lieber and Donald L. (“Don”) Heck (1929-1995) introduced Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963. Framed examples of original art depict how the Iron Man suit has changed over time from the original clunky drawings (not unlike real Medieval suits of armor such as you can see at The Art Institute of Chicago) drawn by Kirby, to the sleeker suit drawn by Ditko, a famous cover illustration by Bob Layton that depicted Tony Stark’s struggle with alcoholism, and a recent cover illustration by Michael Cho.
There is a display of three Iron Man costumes Robert Downey, Junior wore in Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 3 (2013). Across from the display case with the three Iron Man costumes is a briefcase prop from Iron Man 2 (2010), part of the Iron Man suit that unfolds from a briefcase Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) brings Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) in Monaco.
In between these two display cases and off to the side is an augmented reality stage. This is labeled “Become Iron Man.” Anyone who stands on the small stage will see a picture of himself or herself on a large television screen and then Iron Man’s powered battle suit gets superimposed piece-by-piece onto the picture of the person on stage.
A Captain America display includes original art. An exhibit label explains the superhero Falcon (Sam Wilson), created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1969, was Marvel’s first Black African-American superhero. [Black Panther is three years older, but he is the ruler of a (fictional) country in Sub-Saharan Africa, not an American.] A display case has a Captain America costume and shield as worn by Chris Evans in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and a Winter Soldier costume as worn by Sebastian Stan in Avengers: Endgame (2019). Another display case nearby has a Nick Fury costume worn by Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers (2012). Next to the Nick Fury costume is a table with a touchscreen that covers the A.B.C. live-action television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2012-2020), which was a television extension of the M.C.U.
The last room in the first gallery is devoted to Thor (and related characters), Hawkeye, Black Widow, The Vision in comics, and the Scarlett Witch. It includes costumes and props worn by Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers (2012), Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Cate Blanchett Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Lee, Kirby, and Lieber created the superhero Thor Odinson as a superhero stronger than The Hulk. In their fictional universe, the Norse thunder god and other Asgardians (including Thor’s brother and sometime enemy Loki) were supposed to be aliens whom Norsemen worshipped as deities rather than actual supernatural deities. Marvel’s version of Thor first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962. Initially, Marvel depicted Thor as being able to appear on Earth by possessing a human medical student, Donald Blake. As an exhibit label explains, Kirby was a fan of both science fiction and mythology. This is why he depicted Thor encountering science fiction figures like Ego the Living Planet as well as Asgardians from Norse mythology such as Odin.
When you leave the exhibit’s first gallery, you will pass a display on Hawkeye and Black Widow on a wall to the left and the display on The Vision and the Scarlett Witch will be behind you. The display on Hawkeye and the Black Widow includes original art, a diagram depicting Hawkeye releasing an arrow, a touchscreen, and a costume as worn by Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers (2012). The exhibit label explains fans of the M.C.U. know the characters have a tight bond, but comic book readers know they started out as villains.
Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created a mysterious superhero called The Vision during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s, but The Vision we know now is a different character. Writer Roy Thomas and artist John (“Sal”) Buscema borrowed the name “The Vision” for their character. They also borrowed the color scheme and flowing red cape for their android. The Scarlett Witch eventually became a superheroine and joined The Avengers, but originally she was a villainess and an enemy of the X-Men.
One exits the first gallery through the Blue Stairs and then proceeds to the second gallery to see the rest of the exhibit. In between the two galleries, there are statues of Thor and the Incredible Hulk at the entrance of the East Gallery and there are banners hanging in the Grand Rotunda. When I attended the press preview, there was also someone in costume as Spider-Man in a booth so you could take a selfie with Spider-Man or take a picture of your child with Spider-Man.
The second gallery has a picture of Deadpool that a spokeswoman mentioned to me is an “Easter egg” so I have avoided sharing a picture of it. The first section of the second gallery is devoted to the superhero Daredevil. Beyond that first room is a section devoted to the superheroes Luke Cage and Iron Fist and the superheroines Misty Knight and Jessica Jones. These characters were played, respectively, by Charlie Cox, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Simone Missick, Krysten Ritter in Daredevil (2015-2018), Jessica Jones (2015-2019), Luke Cage (2016-2018), Iron Fist (2017-2018), and The Defenders (2017). [Those shows were supposed to be part of the M.C.U. This was never fully achieved because nobody from the movies appeared in any of the shows and nobody from the shows appeared in the films, but the producers, writers, and directors did a good job of conveying that the shows occurred in the same continuity even before the crossover show The Defenders streamed.] This section has an urban aesthetic as if visitors were strolling down the street and the costumes, props, comics, toys, etc. on display were mounted on outdoor walls or doorways and windows. There are costumes worn by Charlie Cox and Mike Colter that look like the Daredevil costume is in a doorway and the Luke Cage hoodie is in a window, for example. There is a Daredevil “DD” and horned silhouette that look they are supposed to have been spray-painted on a wall to indicate guests are in an area under Daredevil’s protection.
Exposure to a chemical as a young boy left him legally blind, but also gave Matt Murdoch the ability to “see” with a sense that is something like a bat’s echolocation. He is a lawyer by day and a masked vigilante by night.
In one corner of this section devoted to Daredevil is a display labeled “Marvel House of Ideas.” Most visitors, especially those who know Marvel primarily or exclusively through film and television adaptations, will probably speed past it because it is dark, but I recommend comic book fans linger here for a moment. This display looks like a storefront from a stage play and has a door with a fake window. An exhibit display case next to the door looks like a storefront window display and next to this window is an object that looks like someone retrofitted a circuit breaker box into a device that conducts a survey of exhibit visitors. It is labeled “Choose Your Favorite Marvel Character.” Inside the window display is a computer screen that has a readout of the survey results. This screen is tricked out to look like an old television set linked to the box as a closed-circuit television monitor. The display case is otherwise filled with toys and costumes.
The next section of the exhibit is devoted to heroes and antiheroes who owe something to the horror genre. New Line Cinema produced the Blade series of films that starred Wesley Snipes, so there are no costumes or props from those films in the exhibit, but there is a section on the vampire-hunter Blade, along with Ghost Rider, Morbius the Living Vampire, and Moon Knight in comics. An exhibit label ties these “Street-Level Heroes” together with Daredevil, Luke Cage, etc. from the previous section as crimefighters defending the streets of New York. The Street-Level Heroes are contrasted with the likes of the Avengers, who battle Thanos and cosmic villains who threaten to conquer the Earth or the whole dang universe or wipeout half of all living things in the universe, etc. I have a quibble with ranking Blade with the Street-Level Heroes, though, considering he was introduced in The Tomb of Dracula in 1975 as a hero who started out as an enemy of the King of Vampires. He was always more than a supplement to the New York Police Department.
After that section on horror-inspired heroes is a section on Marvel videogames. Fans of The Punisher should be sure to see the framed original art from the cover of Marvel Super Action #1.
There are no costumes and props from 20th Century Fox’s X-Men films, but there is a section devoted to the Uncanny X-Men comics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created The Uncanny X-Men in 1963. Writer Chris Claremont and artists including Dave Cockrum (1943-2006), John Byrne, Paul Smith, and Jim Lee further developed the characters.
The next section after that is about “The Superhero as a Metaphor for Difference,” according to an exhibit label. That section includes an animation cel of Jubilee from X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997), which aired on the FOX Network on Saturday mornings and did a better job of faithfully adapting the comic book story lines than the live-action X-Men films 20th Century Fox would late make. It also introduced many youngsters who had not yet purchased comic books to X-Men characters. For many of those viewers who never did become comic book readers or read other comic books, their knowledge of the X-Men was restricted to the cartoon until the live-action films came along and then they compared the films to the cartoon rather than the original medium of comic books.
The next section is devoted to The Inhumans, The New Warriors, and Runaways. This corner is a transitional space between the previous section devoted to the X-Men and the next section devoted to young superheroes and superheroines. Here, visitors will learn that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby co-created The Inhumans title to depict a race of super-powered people who live under a monarch in an isolated society apart from the rest of humanity. Members of the Inhumans gain their powers when they are ritually exposed to the “Terrigen Mists.” The members of the Inhumans royal family formed a superhero team led by their king, Black Bolt. Subsequent writers used The Inhumans title to explore individual transformation. There is no reference here to the depiction of the Inhumans on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the series Inhumans (2017), both of which were part of the M.C.U. and both of which aired on A.B.C. The New Warriors are a superhero team created in the 1990s. Brian Vaughan and Adriana Alphona created the Runaways in 2003 as a superhero team of young people who collectively flee their parents after they realize their parents are supervillains. There are three examples of original art mounted on a wall that demonstrate the evolution of an image from pencil on paper to a final color drawing suitable for inclusion in a comic book. There is no reference here to the Hulu streaming series The Runaways (2017-2020), which was part of the M.C.U.
Next comes a section labeled “Supernatural Heroes.” This section consists of two rooms. The first room is full of psychedelic imagery from the Doctor Strange comic books drawn by Steve Ditko, who co-created Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, in 1963. Then comes a room that conveys something of the effort made by Marvel Studios to bring those surreal images to the silver screen. Devoted to Doctor Strange (2016), it includes costumes worn by Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton.
The last statue depicts the superheroine Ms. Marvel, but it requires some explanation because it is not Carol Danvers. In 2013, Marvel Comics introduced sixteen-year-old Pakistani-American Kamala Khan as the fourth superheroine to adopt the mantle of Ms. Marvel. She took this step after Carol Danvers adopted the mantle of Captain Marvel in 2012 (with the encouragement of Captain America) to honor the memory of Marvel’s original Captain Marvel, the Kree superhero Mar-Vell, who died in 1982. Like Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan’s superpowers are courtesy of Kree technology.
“Marvel Cosmic” is the last section. It is mostly devoted to the Guardians of the Galaxy team in both mediums of comic book and film. Children will be drawn to the maquette bust of Groot while adults and teens will appreciate the costumes made for Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana to wear for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). A mural near the display case with the Groot bust puts the Guardians of the Galaxy team in the broader context of story lines in Marvel Comics with extraterrestrial civilizations and isolated individuals. When you are finished with the section, you walk through the gift shop on the way out of the second gallery.
The giftshop is noticeably about the size of a comic book shop. However, while most comic books are well-illuminated with large storefront windows and overhead lights and a have bright color schemes inspired by comic book art, this exhibit giftshop is stylish with black walls and bright lights mounted over each wall-mounted retail display, and muted overhead lighting. There is a small selection of comic books and graphic novels, but most of the wares offered for sale are t-shirts, baseball caps, and Funko Pop toys.
Museum employees, volunteers, contractors, and visitors (ages two-and-over) must wear masks. Parties should stay at least six feet apart. This includes in the Entry Hall, exhibit galleries, gift shops, dining areas, elevators, and washrooms. Tours of the U-505 and the Coal Mine are not taking place.
All M.S.I. employees submit to daily health assessments. They must stay home if they are ill.
High-touch surfaces are being disinfected with products approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) at least once an hour. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the public areas of the building. Air-conditioning is running to keep humidity and circulation at recommended levels. Water fountains have been turned off. Visitors may bring their own water bottles or purchase water bottles from the M.S.I.’s vending machines.
After your e-tickets are scanned, you will be handed a rubber-tipped stylus. Use it rather than your finger to touch screens and buttons in exhibits.
The Brain Food Court is open and offering salads, sandwiches, and coffee. Smacks and beverages are also available from Lower Level vending machines in the dining area outside the Ships Gallery. Please note that you may not remove your face covering except when actively eating when seated and for the moment while drinking from water bottles elsewhere in the building.
About the Museum of Science & Industry
Often formerly stylized as the “Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago” or the “Museum of Science + Industry” the institution is located at the northern end of the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park, on the south side of 57th Street, between Lake Shore Drive to the east and Cornell Drive to the west, in the East Hyde Park neighborhood of the Hyde Park Community Area (Community Area #41) on the South Side of Chicago.
The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, also known as the Fine Arts Building, which is the last palace from the White City fairgrounds of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), still standing in Jackson Park. Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), President of Sears, Roebuck & Company, founded the Museum of Science and Industry in 1926 through The Commercial Club of Chicago, of which he was a member. The M.S.I. opened in three stages between 1933 and 1940, with the first opening ceremony on July 1, 1933. These events coincided with Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34), which opened on June 1, 1933.
OnThursday, October 3, A.D. 2019, the Museum of Science and Industry announced that the Board of Trustees had voted to accept a $125,000,000 gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund. M.S.I. executives and board members felt it would consequently be appropriate to change the Museum of Science and Industry’s name to the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry. A multi-billionaire, Mr. Griffin is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of Citadel, Inc., a Chicago-based hedge fund. His gift is the largest in the history of the science and technology museum, and one of the largest gifts to any cultural institution in Chicago.
Currently, the Museum of Science and Industry is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The plan is for it to be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for Spring Break on Saturday, March 21, A.D. 2021 and Sunday, March 22, A.D. 2021; from Wednesday, March 24, A.D. 2021 through Sunday, March 28, A.D. 2021; on Wednesday, March 31, A.D. 2021; and from Thursday, April 1, A.D. 2021 through Saturday, April 3, A.D. 2021. All the Museum Entry (general admission) tickets for a given day may sell out in advance, not just Marvel: Universe of Super Hero tickets, so it is advisable to plan a visit as far in advance as possible.
Museum Entry tickets are $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children (ages three-to-eleven). Members get in free. Please note that Museum Entry tickets do not cover parking. Tickets for Fab Lab and Learning Labs are $12 for adults and $9 for children (ages ten and eleven). Members get in for free.
The address of the M.S.I. is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The Website is https://www.msichicago.org/ and the phone number is (773) 684-1414.
 Fans of the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man in Marvel Ultimate comics wanted to see him in movies, but he was unknown the greater public who would expect to see Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Sony’s Columbia Pictures, which has the rights to make licensed Spider-Man films, came up with a solution with the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) in which Miles Morales succeeds the Peter Parker of his universe as Spider-Man (as in the comics) but also the Peter Parker of another universe acts as his mentor, and they encounter yet other versions of Spider-Man from other universes.
 The original recording, or covers of the song, or samples of music from it can be heard in Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3(2007), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
 Kenneth Johnson at Universal Television (now N.B.C. Universal Television) made under license from Marvel for C.B.S. Bill Bixby (1934-1993) played Dr. David Banner and Italian- American bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, Senior played The Hulk. Johnson changed Banner’s name from Bruce to David.
 Nick Fury was originally depicted as the commander of a unit of commandos during the Second Great World War (1939-1945), but in the late 1960s, to capitalize on the popularity of spy novels, movies, and television shows inspired by the first film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, Marvel turned him into a spy chief.
 Hence the joke in Thor (2011) about Jane Foster’s mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) passing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) off as Jane’s (unseen) ex-boyfriend Donald Blake.
 Kurt Russell played Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017).
 In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela was depicted as Odin’s daughter, the older sister of Thor, and adopted sister of Loki, but in Norse mythology she was Loki’s daughter. Oh, and the monstrous wolf Fenrir that is destined to kill Odin was her brother. The world-serpent Jörmungandr was also their brother.
 Professor X’s archenemy Magneto appeared in X-Men #1 (with a cover date of September, 1963). Magneto’s organization, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, debuted in X-Men #4 (with a cover date of March, 1964). It included his children, the twins Wanda Maximoff (a.k.a. the “Scarlett Witch”) and Pietro Maximoff (a.k.a. “Quicksilver”), a speedster like The Flash. There have been many retcons over the years that concerned Magneto’s backstory, their backstories, and their relationship to him. Sometimes, they were not depicted as Mutants. The Scarlett Witch’s superpowers and abilities have also undergone several retcons. Originally, she had vaguely defined hex powers that had a science fiction explanation as they were attributed to her being a Mutant. At other times, she has been depicted as being a genuine witch with real magical powers. More recently, she was depicted as having “reality warping” powers that represent a return to science fiction.
 These statues serve two purposes, I think, as they draw attention to the exhibit Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, but they also allow people who cannot afford to visit that exhibit or cannot visit it because it is all booked up to console themselves with pictures of the statues.
 Columbia Pictures owns the rights to adapt Morbius the Living Vampire under license from Marvel, as with Spider-Man and Venom. Jared Leto will star as Michael Morbius in Morbius (2022), a movie that Columbia filmed in England in 2019. The film also stars Jared Harris, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. It was due to be released in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia postponed its release. Currently, it is scheduled to be released on January 22, A.D. 2022. This film will be part of the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters like Venom (2018) and the forthcoming sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019).
 Nicolas Cage played Johnny Blaze in two films produced by Columbia Pictures; Ghost Rider (2007) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012). After Marvel Studios regained the rights to the character, Gabriel Luna played the third iteration of Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, on the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
 Claremont worked on The Uncanny X- Men from 1975 to 1991. He co-created many X-Men heroes and villains, including Rogue, Psylocke, and Gambit. Cockrum worked on The Uncanny X-Men in the mid ’70s. He co-created the characters Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. Byrne worked on The Uncanny X-Men in the late ‘70s. Smith worked on The Uncanny X-Men (and other titles) in the ‘80s. Lee, who left Marvel to establish WildStorm Productions and co-found Image Comics and is now the Publisher of DC Comics, worked on The Uncanny X-Men in the early ‘90s.
 The Ancient One, the mentor of Doctor Strange and his predecessor as Sorcerer Supreme, is character co-created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In Marvel Comics, he was depicted an elderly man from the Himalayas.
 The Fawcett Comics superhero Captain Marvel long predates the Marvel Comics superhero Captain Mar-Vell or superheroine Captain Marvel, as he first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940. The Fawcett superhero Captain Marvel is a young boy who magically becomes a superhero quite a bit like Superman and at one point in the 1940s was more popular than Superman. The character is so much like Superman that DC – then known as National Comics Publications, Inc. – sued Fawcett Comics and Paramount and although the first ruling was in Fawcett’s favor, Fawcett eventually settled with DC out of court and as a result ceased publication of Captain Marvel comics in 1953. Marvel Comics introduced Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree Empire in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (with a cover date of January, 1967). This was the first of several iterations of Marvel’s Captain Marvel. In 1972, because superhero comics became popular again in what is called the Silver Age of Comic Books in the 1960s, DC reached an agreement with Fawcett under which DC began to publish Captain Marvel comics under license from Fawcett in 1973. Then DC purchased Fawcett Comics. In 2011, DC began to call Captain Marvel “Shazam,” which was the word the character would exclaim to transform from the human Billy Batson to the superhero Captain Marvel. In the Warner Bros./New Line film Shazam (2019), which is an installment in the DC Extended Universe, Asher Angel played Billy Batson and Zachary Levi played Captain Marvel, though he was called Shazam in the film.
 The young Pakistani-Canadian actress Iman Vellani will star as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel in the streaming series Ms. Marvel, which will be released on Disney+ later in 2021.
 Front and center is the Alpha Flight space station that is supposed to defend Earth from alien threats. The villains Annihilus, Thanos, and Galactus are represented on the mural. Of these three characters, the majority of exhibit visitors will be most familiar with Thanos, who was the archvillain in four installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – The Avengers (2012), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: End Game (2019) – and also appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017). Galactus may be somewhat familiar to exhibit visitors because of his appearance in various animated television shows and because he was the archvillain in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), though that film clearly did not have the budget to adequately present Galactus on the silver screen, and instead misrepresented him as a cloud. The Watchers are depicted on the mural, and exhibit visitors may recognize them from appearances in cartoons and James Gunn briefly included scenes with Stan Lee reporting about his experiences clearly in reference to his cameos in previous Marvel films to the Watchers as a joke in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Gunn included these scenes as a nod to a fan film theory that Stan Lee appeared in so many films because he was tied to the Watchers. The Skrulls and Kree are depicted in the mural and they may be familiar to most exhibit visitors from their inclusion in Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel (2019), Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the series finale of WandaVision. The Xandarians are also included in the mural, and they may be familiar to most exhibit visitors because of their depiction as founders of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy.
 DC and Marvel make much more money licensing the rights to make toys, clothing, sleeping bags, etc. with the likeness of Superman, Spider-Man, etc. than they have ever made from the sale of comic books.
 Wear your mask snugly. Masks with vents are not acceptable. Do not substitute a bandana for a mask. Even if you are wearing a face shield, you must wear a mask under it.
 In other words, if you have a party consisting of you, your spouse, your three kids, and your Great-Aunt Ethyl, the six of you don’t have to stay six feet apart from each other, but your party must stay at least six feet apart from other parties.
 For context, Good Friday will be Friday, April 2, A.D. 2021; Holy Saturday will Saturday, April 2, A.D. 2021; and Easter Sunday will be Sunday, April 3, A.D. 2021.
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