Spider-Man’s amazing history, from page to screen, is on display for an impressive new exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego. Titled Marvel’s Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing – The Exhibition, the presentation takes visitors on a comprehensive tour of Spider-Man’s journey, starting as the brainchild of the late great Stan Lee, to the multiple movies starring Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland (a series that we recently ranked from worst to best). Fans are encouraged to check out the interactive displays while in San Diego for Comic-Con 2022, but also need to be aware that the exhibit plays through January 3, 2023, in case you can’t make it to Southern California until later.
And if you love Spider-Man, this really is a curated exhibit that’s worth traveling to see. The highlights, particularly if you grew up on Spider-Man comic books, are the assorted displays of original comic book art from classic Spider-Man artists such as John Romita Sr., Gil Kane, Mark Bagley, and even Steve Ditko. These are authentic, Bristol board compositions of covers and pages you would recognize if you picked up assorted Spidey books over the years. Sometimes, you even get a look at first-pass attempts at incredible covers, as when this one for The Amazing Spider-Man #251 – when Spider-Man unmasked the Hobgoblin – was put on display.
Outside of the art that traces Spider-Man’s history on the page, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing also takes visitors through major aspects of the movies that introduced Marvel’s wallcrawler to a global audience. The highlights, for me, were the screen-used costumes of both Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland, with the former’s Amazing Spider-Man prototype suit on display in the pop-up gift shop, and the latter’s sweatsuit costume from Spider-Man: Homecoming available to gawk at.
The detail that is on display in these costumes is nothing short of amazing, especially the Kym Barrett suit for ASM, which is heavy on latex and spandex, but absolutely looks like the suit a teenager would make on his own dime. The same can be said for Holland’s suit, which he had to retreat to when Tony Stark took his souped-up suit away from him. Because as he was told, “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.” There’s a reason this suit fell where it did when we ranked every live-action Spider-Man costume.
Walking through the exhibit, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing, it’s easy to see why this character has touched so many lives for the past 60 years. We flock to his movies, and return to them when they return to theaters with additional footage. As you approach the end of the tour, and learn more about subsequent Spider people like Miles Morales, Silk, and Spider-Gwen, you learn the importance of the message, “Anyone can wear the mask.” And it amplifies the inclusive nature of the webheaded icon, who is celebrated in style at this fantastic event.
We spoke with the exhibit’s curators after Beyond Amazing opened, and they told us a lot about the thought process behind the presentation. You can see it all come to life at the San Diego Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. Tickets are available via the event website, comic-con.museum/night.
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