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TEMPE, Ariz. -- A tribute to American pop culture is coming to Tempe.

The Gallery at the Tempe Center for the Arts is getting ready for "American Pop," an art exhibit that is a salute to popular things that people love and collect. Everything from photographs to statues to comic books will be there when the exhibit opens Friday night.

Gallery coordinator Michelle Nichols Dock said Valley business and art leaders were asked what they loved as a kid and what they love today.

"What we heard was that they grew up watching 'Star Trek' episodes, 'Looney Tunes,' Marvin the Martian, and Batman," said Dock. "Today, they still collect Batman toys and still go to Batman movies."

In fact, an entire wall of the exhibit is dedicated to the 1960's "Batman" TV show, with autographed pictures of Adam West, Burt Ward, Burgess Meredith and other stars of the popular show. The Batmobile that was sold at last year's Barrett-Jackson auto auction will also be on display for Friday's opening night.

Dock said there are lots of other things to see.

"We've got moon images, Marvin Martian, Fantastic Four, and all of these things," said Dock. "What brings it together is that we've got little vignettes in the exhibition."

Each vignette represents the particular interests of one of the people who responded to Dock's survey. One of them is Tempe librarian Ralph Brown.

"He's an avid collector of comic books," Dock said. "He grew up on them and is an avid collector. He's also writing us a really nice essay on the love of popular culture and comic books," Dock said.

The exhibit runs through June 8th and admission is free. For more information, go to

Bob McClay, Reporter

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