SEATTLE — The hammer of Thor, a hall of mirrors dedicated to the master of the mystic arts Doctor Strange, and he is... Groot. These are just some of the 300+ artifacts you'll find at MoPOP's MARVEL: Universe of Super Heroes exhibit.

“The Marvel Universe is familiar to most people through these extraordinary movies and we wanted to pay tribute to them, but also to track back to the comic book sources and give people access to some of the details of that history,” said Chief Curator Ben Saunders.

Saunders teaches comic studies at the University of Oregon, but his love of this art form dates back decades.

“I learned to read from Marvel comics when I was 6 or 7 and growing up in Wales,” said Saunders.

The first issue of Marvel comics came out in 1939, but it was in the 1960s that editors like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby reinvented the superhero.

“The Marvel heroes tend to have feet of clay and of course they injected humor and a kind of irony and self-consciousness about what they were doing,” said Saunders. “It's not that they were ever mocking their audience but they were sometimes winking at their audience."

It's been a winning formula that led Marvel from the brink of bankruptcy to becoming a billion-dollar empire. One you can celebrate at MoPop.

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