MUSUEM OF THE ALBEMARLE
Step into the 'Spider-verse' on June 20 at MOA
By Rebecca Stiles
Museum of the Albemarle
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Superheroes, right? It’s a popular topic within the last couple of years, specifically since 2008 with the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man.
There’s the DCECU, which is the DC Extended Cinematic Universe. I don’t want to complicate this too much, but clearly there are superheroes all across the board. I would love to spend this article waxing philosophical about a few of my own personal favorites (Captain America, Thor, Bucky Barnes, Black Widow, Falcon, Spider-man, Storm, Wolverine, everyone in Black Panther), but I’m trying to tie this whole thing into North Carolina history. I would really love the opportunity to one day write five-hundred words on why Thor is the strongest Avenger, but I digress.
Superhero fiction is the genre of fiction that is centered on a variety of characters, like superheroes, some of whom possess superhuman abilities and powers, dedicated to fighting evil forces of Earth and beyond. Usually these superheroes are battling villains and even supervillains. While the word superhero is more commonly used for male characters, superheroine is commonly used for women characters. Words are words and in this writer’s opinion you can call yourself a superhero if you want.
The rise of superhero fiction started in American comic books and films in the 1930s, with prolific creators Stan Lee & Jack Kirby for Marvel and Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, and Harry G. Peter for DC, just to name a few. The word “superhero” itself dates to as far back as 1917, with folkloric heroes like Robin Hood setting a precedent for helping the poor against the rich.
North Carolina doesn’t feature too heavily in the cinematic universes, except for filming locations like Wilmington and Charlotte, but in the DC comics some well known cities make appearances: Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, and even the Outer Banks! Back in 2016, Marvel released a series of variant covers featuring well known characters for each of the 50 states, and even Puerto Rico. While having Steve Rogers representing the state of Delaware is confusing (he is very famously from New York), it’s equally confusing that for North Carolina we are represented by the Atlantean, Namor. Although, being that we’re surrounded by so much water that isn’t too much of a stretch. Hopefully we don’t sink into the sea like Atlantis did.
Namor is a mutant (X-Men, anyone?) and is widely considered the first known comic book antihero, but not all antiheroes are villains, and Namor is significantly important to the Marvel universe. And yes, his origin story is very similar to the popular DC character, Aquaman.
Superheroes and comic books might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but you can’t deny the incredible inclusivity, diversity, and storytelling these universes and multiverses have given to the imagination of so many. So why not step into the multiverse on June 20 at the Museum of the Albemarle and watch Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse? Dress like your favorite superhero and enter to win a superhero related prize at the end of both showings (first showing at 10 a.m. and second showing at 1 pm)!
Rebecca Stiles is an Administrative Assistant at Museum of the Albemarle.