The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super HeroesOver the last eight decades, a sky full of super-heroes and super-villains have been featured on television, radio, the silver screen, and of course, on the very medium that originally spawned them, comic books. But now, thanks to DC Comics, they’re also going to be featured at London’s O2 Arena, ready, willing, and able, to give us a glimpse beneath the cape.

Forbidden planet

Well, for those of you not in the know, since February, 2018, The O2 has been the home of a great new exhibition that celebrates the rich history behind this esteemed publishing house. It’s called, The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes, and it offers fans, both young and old, a unique opportunity to trace the development of the DC Universe. This started in Action Comics #1, circa 1938, which was the first time Superman ever graced the comic book page. Then once he took off, Ka-Pow!, he was quickly followed by a number of other colorful characters, like Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash, both in the comics and the movies. Here,  check out this brief summary of what's on display...

The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super HeroesCONCEPT ART:   Before making a film, filmmakers such as Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder hire someone to cut their hair. Ha! I'm only kidding. But they do hire someone, an artist to be exact, and they instruct them to sit down and draw, sketch, and doodle, what would hopefully end up on the big screen. So here, at London's O2, you can get to see some of these production designs, over 300 of them in fact, including variations on a theme, costume designs, character designs, backdrops, props, vehicles, as well as anything else required to make the film look better, bolder, and more like a real-life comic book.

ORIGINAL DRAWINGS:   Now, talking about comic books, this exhibit has also been able to gather together original drawings, sketches, and full-blown illustrations on some of the most iconic comic book characters in history, such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, among others. Each illustration has been drawn by the likes of such world-renowned artists as Jim Lee, Bob Kane, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, and Alex Ross, to name but a few, totaling over 200 images overall.

COSTUMES AND PROPS:   If you like watching comic book movies then I'm sure you're going to get a right kick out of this exhibit. For a start, Batman fans can check out many of the costumes, vehicles, and props featured in his films, ranging from the Tim Burton films, the Joel Schumacher films, as well as the critically acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan. There will also be many other costumes put on display, including Henry Cavill’s Superman outfit, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman body armor, and Heath Ledger’s Joker costume. Plus, as a special bonus, there's the famous cape worn by Christopher Reeve in the Superman movies, along with Lynda Carter’s iconic Wonder Woman costume from the 1970s.

The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super HeroesWhat I Thought of It?   By and large, I’m generally not a big fan of this type of exhibit. After all, how can someone learn, understand, and digest over 80 years of comic book history within a period of one and a half hours? It can’t be done, no matter how smart you are, and obviously is a very difficult task to accomplish, for both the teacher as well as the student. In this case though, well, I don’t honestly think the main aim was to teach anybody anything! Not totally, anyway, more like, inform, entertain, and put on a show full of images, costumes, models, props, and video displays, which were all fairly fun to follow.

Now where the images are concerned, yeah, I loved looking at those, all of them in fact, because on a visual level they seem to represent the evolutionary style of many of the characters featured in the DCU, ranging from Dick Sprang’s version of Batman (circa 1940), Curt Swan’s version of Superman (circa 1970), all the way up to Frank Cho’s modern day version of Wonder Woman (circa 2016). Along similar lines, I also found the costumes, props, and vehicles on display equally as fascinating. Seriously, just by getting up close and personal you can have a much better perspective at their actual sizes, textures, and varying designs, without forgetting to take note which actor is bigger than their comrades — Ben Affleck, who’s notably taller than Henry Cavill or Gal Gadot

The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super HeroesThat said, however, there were a couple of things featured that I wasn’t too keen on: Like the audio guide, for example, because it was fairly boring to listen to, monotonous even, and with all due respect, some of the things the narrator said were very, very, obvious (Batman likes bats? No sh@t Sherlock!). I also had a bit of difficulty with the lighting scheme this exhibit conformed to! Only sometimes, mind you, because just like many other gallery-styled exhibits, this one had a low-level lighting effect which was occasionally dim in places. So dim, in fact, that sometimes it was hard to read the captions placed next to the displays. But apart from that slight gripe, on the whole, I had a pretty decent time walking, talking, and basically taking in the comic book ambiance.

So if like me, you’re a fan of comics or comic book movies, go on, check out the DC Exhibition today! And if you do decide to go, I would highly recommend you listen to the video presentations that feature Geoff Johns, the writer, and Lindy Hemming, the costume designer, as they both really know their stuff.

The DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes
My mate Nick wanted to take this bike but all he took was this photo. Bless him.

What: DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes.
Where: London's O2 Arena, right next to North Greenwich Underground Station (Jubilee Line).
When: It started in February and will end on the 9th of September, 2018. The doors will be opened every day between 10am to 7:30pm, except Wednesday, when the exhibit is closed.  
How Much: Over the summer period tickets will cost £10 for Adults and £5 for Children. But please note, during this period all tickets will be subject to a booking fee, and there will be no family tickets, group tickets, or other discounts available. Click here to book or for more information. 

To find out more please feel free to check out the official DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes website, facebook, instagram, and twitter pages. But remember, it closes on the 9th of September, so don't delay, exhibit today. 


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