Zap! Pow! Bam!

Entrance to the Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit at Scottsdale Civic Center Library

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.

The Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library might inspire reluctant readers to check out superhero-related books

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.

Comic books are coupled with author/illustrator information

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.

The exhibit is full of fascinating historical information too

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.

This car is especially fun for younger exhibit visitors

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.

This newsstand greets visitors to the 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.

Kids giggled and scurried away when this display warned of pretend radiation

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.

In all sorts of ways, it seems we need another superhero right about now

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.

— Lynn

Coming up: Ode to ensembles, Valley theater by the numbers, Now that’s a tea party!, Summertime and Shakespeare


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