From Black Panther to Spider-Man, many superheroes are inspired by foundlings, orphans, adoptees and foster children – explore how their early life experiences shaped the characters they became.

Featuring some of your favourite comic characters such as Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Black Panther and Marvel’s X-Men, explore the parallels between real-life foundlings and their illustrated counterparts through original artwork, contemporary digital work and examples of rare international comics. Plus, characters from early newspaper comic strips such as Japanese Manga and contemporary graphic novel protagonists.

The exhibition has its origins in a site-specific work created for the museum in 2014 by poet, Lemn Sissay – Superman was a Foundling is a poem printed on the walls of the museum’s Study Studio. This is the first exhibition of its kind to explore the representation of foundlings, orphans, adoptees and foster children in comics, graphic novels and related art around the world, fittingly hosted in the former Foundling Hospital, London’s historic children’s home.

Also on display are three brand-new commissions by comic artists Asia Alfasi, Bex Glendining and Woodrow Phoenix, all examining care identity and experience.

Books & manuscriptsPrints & drawingsLondon


The Foundling Museum

40 Brunswick Square, London, Greater London, WC1N 1AZ

020 7841 3600

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Opening times

Tues-Sat 10am-5pm.

Sun 11am-5pm.

Closed Monday.

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