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When Universes Collide

Now Through January 4th

When Universes Collide

Some of the world's most beloved and powerful super heroes face off at a new exhibit at The ToonSeum, When Universes Collide: The Ultimate Superhero Smackdown.

The exhibit asks the question only fans can answer: Who would win in a match between Iron Man and Batman? Superman and Thor? Wonder Woman and Storm?

“With superheroes doing blockbuster business and dominating the cineplex in 2014, we thought we’d be remiss if we didn’t join in the celebration and have some fun with these great heroes this summer," said ToonSeum Director Joe Wos. "It also allows us to introduce fans of the movies to the source material— the original art from the comic books and the animated cartoons.“ 

The exhibit covers the crimefighting careers of each hero, represented by artwork from legendary comic creators like Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Darywn Cooke, Adam Hughes and more. The original comic book and animation artwork spans more than 70 years of Super-hero history,  

Each week, for six weeks, fans will be able to vote for their favorite heroes using their smartphones in the museum galleries or on the ToonSeum’s Facebook page. The winner of each smackdown will be posted weekly on the ToonSeum’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

”This exhibit has been in the planning stages for a long time," said exhibit co-curator Harold Behar.  "We have been working with top comic art collectors from around the region and nation to assemble this exhibit and bring this art to Pittsburgh.  There will be something for everyone from the casual fan to most serious fanboy. This is truly an all ages art show.”

In conjunction with the exhibit the ToonSeum is offering a series of limited-edition prints highlighting the Super Hero match-ups created exclusively for the ToonSeum by cartoonist Shawn Atkins. There are five posters in this vintage boxing poster style set. The set will be offered as a special hand-signed folio, limited to 50 sets, available online at The print set will be available to preview at that web address on Wednesday, July 16th.  The prints will go on sale between noon and 1:00 pm on Friday July 18th.  The release time will be announced on the ToonSeum’s Twitter feed. Individual prints will be available at the ToonSeum in limited quantities. 


Comic-tanium: The Super Materials of the Superheroes

Now Through January 4th

Comic-Tanium: The Super Materials of the Superheroes

Many of the secrets behind the powers of some of the greatest comic characters of all time have little to do with alien worlds and mutant abilities. There is actually some serious science going on within the comic realm, much of it focused on the materials that both heroes and villains use to boost their abilities, provide protection, and in some instances, define who they are.

Comic-taniumTM: The Super Materials of the Superheroes is a new exhibit at the ToonSeum that shows how Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, and other favorite comic characters use the tools and techniques of minerals, metals, and materials science and engineering to save their worlds. The mythologies of how these materials are created and used do tend to push the boundaries of what may be possible. But, they are also rooted in the fact that scientists and engineers are “living super heroes” who make sure that we have the materials we need for a safer, healthier, and more advanced society. To put it simply, materials make things work. The cars we drive, the smart phones we use, the generators that we rely on for electricity—and so much more—are part of our world because people have been able to engineer materials in innumerable ways.

Comic-tanium makes these material connections by teaming up comic art reproductions, vintage comic books, movie props, and artifacts with related scientific images and stories from the real world. “The goal of Comic-tanium is not only to share the materials “back story” of beloved comic characters, but also to inspire ideas for what might be technologically possible in our own futures,” explained James Robinson, Executive Director of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), the organization that curated Comic-tanium.

“I googol-dare anyone on Earth-616 to find a subject that reaches across age-groups, gender, and culture, as much as comic book superhero stories,” added Suveen N. Mathaudhu, volunteer Comic-tanium curator and assistant professor, University of California-Riverside. “These stories easily resonate with society, and are an ideal tool to reinforce the idea that many superheroes are scientists, and moreover, that scientists are superheroes who do amazing things without having to be subject to a laboratory accident.”

COMIC-tanium is a special educational outreach project developed by the ToonSeum and TMS, and supported by the TMS Foundation as a founding partner. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, TMS is an international professional society of minerals, metals, and materials scientists and engineers. The mission of the TMS Foundation is to support the development of current and future generations of minerals, metals, and materials science and engineering professionals.

Comic-tanium will be on display at the ToonSeum from October 12, 2014–January 10, 2015.

While Comic-tanium is exploring the science behind super powers, the ToonSeum has extended the run of this summer’s popular When Universes Collide: The Ultimate Superhero Smackdown to give fans a chance to debate how those powers would stack up against each other,

“In terms of subject matter and just providing a fun, all-ages educational experience, we couldn't have selected a more complementary exhibit to pair with When Universes Collide than Comic-Tanium,” said Harold Behar, co-curator of When Universes Collide. “That's two superhero exhibits in one museum, true believers! It doesn't get much better that that.”