With Superhero museum, who needs Comic-Con? (pictures)
The Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum, in Elkhard, Ind., has the world's best superhero memorabilia and comic books collection. CNET Road Trip 2013 visited instead of going to Comic-Con.
Adam West's Batman suit
ELKHART, Ind. -- The world may be focused on Comic-Con in San Diego this week, but no one has a better claim to superhero supremacy than Allen Stewart.
Tucked away on a leafy street in this northern Indiana town, Stewart runs the Hall of Heroes Super Hero Museum, part gigantic comic book collection, part homage to some of the greatest superhero artifacts ever produced.
Among its treasures is this Batman suit from the original 1960s TV show and the suit that the original Batman, Adam West, wore when he made personal appearances.
The suit was a gift to the museum this year from a man who had purchased it at auction years ago and who was liquidating some of his collection.
Opened six years ago, the museum was designed to look like the Hall of Justice from the Superfriends. Much of the collection belongs to Stewart, whose interest in superheroes dates back to the mid-1970s.
Stewart says that the museum holds 55,000 superhero comic books, including every Marvel book ever produced and every DC book since 1956. So while the museum doesn't yet have an Action Comics No. 1 (the first appearance of Superman), it does have an Amazing Fantasy No. 15, which was the first appearance of Spider-Man.
Another rare treasure in the museum is this Spider-Man poster, which depicts the webbed hero and the Twin Towers in New York. The poster was for 2002's "Spider-Man 2" but was recalled after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
A personal favorite of Stewart's -- which is also quite valuable -- is the museum's copy of Captain America No. 1, in which the superhero is introduced on the cover smashing Adolf Hitler in the face. The book is part of the museum's "golden age" section, which showcases superheroes through comics and other collectibles between 1938 and 1955.
With 55,000 comic books in its collection, the museum devotes a great deal of space to housing the books, which are presented in alphabetical order. This is just one wall of four of dozens upon dozens of boxes of superhero comic books.
This is Stewart's Captain America shield. Every year, he dresses up as Captain America in Elkhart's Memorial Day parade, and said that he is usually swarmed by World War II veterans who were often given copies of that hero's comics in their war-time care packages.