I’m coming to comic book characters rather late in life. Not through comic books or movies like “Green Lantern” and “Captain America” — but through my local public library.
Recently I took my teen daughter Lizabeth to the Scottsdale Civic Center Public Library so she could stock up on more summer reads. While there, I checked out the “Zap! Pow! Bam!” exhibit that runs through Sept 2.
As I entered the exhibit, I spied several parents sitting on benches near the Superman sculpture that greets exhibit visitors. Nearby, children dressed in superhero costumes played together, pretending to have all sorts of special powers.
I got curious about which superheros have which superpowers, so I came home to research characters like “Captain America” on the Marvel website. I discovered that his “real name” is “Steve Rogers” and that he first appeared in 1941.
Seems Rogers was born during the Depression and tried to enlist after seeing a newsreel of Hitler. How he went from human to superhero is a marvelous bit of storytelling, which your kids (or you) can explore at the Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit.
The exhibit features a drawing studio, a newsstand offering free comic books and a comic book nook, a superhero dress-up area complete with telephone booth — and more.
I loved seeing all the original comic books, learning more about their development and place in American culture, and watching folks react to the “Kryptonite” that warns them in a booming voice to stay away from the danger.
During this visit, like so many others, I was struck by the beauty of libraries as places where curiosity and community take hold. What we really need now is a superhero who can assure that libraries get the funding and support they need to carry the next generation into the future.
Coming up: Ode to ensembles, Valley theater by the numbers, Now that’s a tea party!, Summertime and Shakespeare