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Christmas Gift Guide

Adam West's Batman suit

Hall of Heroes

Amazing Fantasy No. 1

Spider-Man twin towers poster

Captain America No. 1

Batman with gun

First Superman toy

One wall of comics

Superman section

Spider-Man section

Batcave

Wolverine exhibition

Comics boxes

Hollywood heroes

Greatest American Hero suit

British Batman pedalcar

X-Men No. 1

Hall of Justice

Green Lantern section

Hot Wheels Invisible Jet

Captain America shield

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Though Batman is famously anti-gun, that wasn't always the case, as this Batman No. 15 illustrates.

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This is the world's first Superman toy, Stewart said, from 1940. It's a wind-up toy, and when wound, Superman picks up the airplane.

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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.

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The museum devotes special sections to a few famous superheroes, like this one for Superman.

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There's also, of course, a Spider-Man section.

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This section of the museum is painted to look like the Batcave from the 1960s "Batman" television show. It is full of hundreds of Batman collectibles.

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The museum usually has a special section set up to celebrate something in the superhero universe. Right now, it's a Wolverine section set up because of the forthcoming "Wolverine" movie.

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The collection features countless boxes like this one, which all together hold 55,000 superhero comic books, including every book from a major comic book publisher since 1956, Stewart said.

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Another special section depicts superheroes in Hollywood.

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Though not as valuable as the original Batman suit, this is an original Greatest American Hero suit from the 1980s TV show of that name.

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This is a Batman pedalcar from England. Stewart said it is the only one of its kind in the United States.

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Another important comic book from the collection is this copy of X-Men No. 1.

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Tucked away on a shelf is this Hall of Justice toy set from the Superfriends show. The museum's facade was designed to look like this building.

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Another superhero with a designated section is the Green Lantern.

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One year, Hot Wheels pulled an April Fool's Joke by issuing a press release that it was releasing a Wonder Woman Invisible Jet toy. Later, it put out a small number of the toys.

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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.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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