Made it out to the Skirball Cultural Center earlier to check out the new Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938–1950 exhibit.
The exhibit focuses mainly on the heyday of comics. A time when Superman comics sold approximately one million copies a month. (A claim made by an employee of the Skirball Cultural Center, one I did not bother to verify because this is just a blog that no one reads, not CNN.com.) Something like that is amazing to me because growing up, none of my friends read comics, only I did. And my parents absolutely hated the fact that I was into comics. Hated it. A time when comics were socially acceptable is almost inconceivable to me.
If you're a comic fan like I am then I think you'll find it pretty interesting. It was good to see older comics. Much older comics. They weren't kidding about the whole "Golden Age of Comics" thing either. Just a quick FYI, us comic nerds refer to the early years of superhero comics, generally from the early 1930s to the late 1940s, the "Golden Age." Superhero comics largely disappeared in the early thanks to the effort of noted crackpot Fredric Wertham and his book Seduction of the Innocent. The book basically alleged that children who read comics were exposed to depictions of sex and violence which led to the children becoming delinquents.
The book was mostly anecdotal but he did raise one good point, children were exposed to highly suspicious imagery. I give you Exhibit A: Batman's Leather Thong and Exhibit B: Batman & Robin Tanning. And I'm not even going to mention the Joker's boner. Still, I'm not sure how superhero comics of that era were any worse than other comics that were available. Say, Disney Comics, for example. Because Donald Duck will straight out murder you if you get on his bad side.
There was smaller related exhibit going on there as well. It was about superheroes in film and television through out the years. From some of the earliest examples like the Captain America serials from the 1940s to the Spider-Man television show from the 1970s and ending around the first Batman film from the late 1980s. It had a bunch of props and costumes and stuff. They had Warren Beatty's costume from the Dick Tracy film, which elicited a heart-felt "Eh" from me personally.
All in all, it was cool. Zap! Pow! Bam! runs through August 9th, 2009.