Thor's Hammer Exhibit

John Magnan Studio
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

For a long time, I wanted to make my own version of Thor's hammer. When I finally did, I couldn't help but see it as a judge's gavel, a symbol of judicial responsibility. That got me interested in using Marvel images as vehicles for examining other topics, and this exhibit is the result. Some works make a statement, some ask questions, and a couple pay homage. They all follow in Marvel's tradition of including social commentary in stories.


Hammer of the Justices

2019, John Magnan
Ash, purple heart, leather, steel

Captains of America

2019, John Magnan
Steel, aluminum, leather

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

2019, John Magnan
Maple, walnut, aluminum

S.H.I.E.L.D. is a fictional law enforcement and counter-terrorism agency which is at times infiltrated by criminal elements, making it unclear on which side the organization stands. In this depiction, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s central logo image is replaced by that of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Doom’s Mask

2019, John Magnan
Cast coal dust

Dr. Doom is a genius archvillain, scientist and inventor of several doomsday machines. He is arrogant and unwilling to accept responsibility for his own actions.

She's Not Alone

2019, John Magnan
Maple, mahogany, poplar, walnut, plywood, mixed media adornments

As the female superhero Captain Marvel confronts the evil
Thanos, a wounded Spider-Man wonders how she’ll be able
to survive the battle alone. We hear two women’s voices,
Scarlet Witch saying, “Don’t worry” and then Okoye saying,
“She’s got help.” Suddenly, one by one, women of the Marvel
Comics universe materialize and unite to have Captain Marvel’s
back. She’s not alone.

The Other

2019, John Magnan
Two-way mirror, lighting, tiles

Black Panther action figures used in homage to the 1969 Star Trek episode,
“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”

Loki's Scepter and the Mind Gem

2019, John Magnan
White oak, walnut, aluminum, lighting

Cast replicas of OxyContin tablets.

Loki, Thor’s evil half-brother, wielded this scepter when he commanded an invasion of earth. It is powered by the blue mind gem, an Infinity Stone capable of augmenting mental characteristics.

Sword of Damocles

2019, John Magnan

Purple heart, cherry, plexiglass, electrical

Spider-Man's Revenge

2019, John Magnan
White oak, purple heart, dress maker pins

In 1984, as a public service, Marvel Comics collaborated with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse to issue a special Power Pack edition. In that edition Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s alter-ego, is portrayed as having been abused as a child. The story is used to educate young people about how to respond to inappropriate touching.

Soul Stone

2019, John Magnan
Slate, steel, plexiglass, cast soap, electrical

One of the six all-powerful Infinity Stones, the Soul Stone allows the user to alter living and dead souls.

Stan Lee

2019, John Magnan
Marker pen

Quotes by Marvel’s most famous writer and long-time editor.


2019, John Magnan
Foam insulation, 125 one-dollar bills

Redwing is a hawk used for reconnaissance and controlled through telepathy by the superhero Falcon. This interpretation is a scale model of the $876M US Navy X-47B semi-autonomous vehicle.


2019, John Magnan
Wood, steel

The Death-Throws are a fictional team of supervillains consisting primarily of jugglers who each use various juggling props as weapons.


2019, John Magnan

Superhero Iron Fist adapted Kung Fu techniques to his handgun, from which he fires “Lightning from God.”