Exhibition: Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 years in comics

This exhibition runs from Fri, 1st Apr 2022 to Sun, 28th Aug 2022. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

25th Jun 2022  
(10am - 5pm)
26th Jun 2022  
(11am - 5pm)
28th Jun 2022  
(10am - 5pm)
29th Jun 2022  
(10am - 5pm)
30th Jun 2022  
(10am - 5pm)
1st Jul 2022  
(10am - 5pm)
2nd Jul 2022  
(10am - 5pm)

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: £10.50

Enter into the world of superheroes in this first major exhibition to explore the representation of foundlings, orphans, adoptees, and foster children in comics, graphic novels and sequential art from around the globe.

DC’s Superman, who was found by his adoptive parents, is one of many comic heroes who are orphans: Spider-Man’s parents die in a plane crash; Batman’s parents are killed in a street robbery; and Black Panther – whose mother dies soon after childbirth and whose father is killed – is known as ‘the Orphan King’. Marvel’s X-Men experience both discrimination and social ostracisation. The superheroes’ early life experiences impact on their roles and the stance they take over good and evil in their comic lives.

Looking beyond the traditional ‘superhero’ genre the exhibition also includes characters from early newspaper comic strips, Japanese Manga and contemporary graphic novel protagonists. Historical newspapers, original artwork and contemporary digital work will be on display, as well as examples of international comics rarely exhibited in the UK.

Three new artistic commissions that examine care identity and experience have been specially created for the exhibition by comic artists Asia Alfasi, Bex Glendining and Woodrow Phoenix.

Loaned works will sit alongside objects from the collection, to encourage an exploration of the parallels between real foundlings and their illustrated counterparts.

Superheroes, Orphans & Origins has its own origins in a previous work commissioned by the Museum in 2014, when care-experienced poet and performer Lemn Sissay OBE created the site-specific piece Superman was a Foundling, a poem printed on the walls of the Museum’s Study Studio.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

Reserve tickets at this website


Foundling Museum,

40 Brunswick Square, London,

Map of Foundling Museum