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The Power of Disabilities in comics

The Power of Disabilities in comics

In this session of the Denver Comic Con 2018, we explore how classic comics portray heroes and villians with disabilities and what that can teach students. We end with a a discussion of the new ways some contemorary comics portray disability.

For the Denver Comic Con 2018 I was invited to participate in a panel to discuss disabilities in comic books. In the panel I was joined by Nina Ellis Frischman who is a lecturer in the department of history for the University of Colorado, Walt Pourier the Executive Director of Stronghold Society and Heather Myer the Executive Director of Bring Balance & Achievement Center.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “disability”?

Initially you think physical, but there is also mental


The Educational side


Cultural iceberg- When telling a story or hearing someone else's story. Would you say the iceberg is an important analogy to keep in mind?


-Does visual storytelling help students with disability understand in a way that traditional word of mouth or writing does not?


-Would viewing “disability” as a superpower instead of an actual disability help to empower or hinder students when dealing with learning disabilities in the classroom?


Seeing a character go through the same struggles you are currently dealing with can be a very powerful thing for young readers. Seeing a character power through those difficulties can be even more so. Is there a character that you can relate to in a positive manner? What would you recommend for others possibly experiencing the same struggles?


-Echo(deaf), Sentry(agoraphobia), Daredevil (blind), Dr. Midnite(blind, Professor X (paralyzed), The Chief (paralyzed), Puck (dwarf), Tony Stark (crippled), Dr. Donald Blake aka. Thor (crippled), Bucky Barns(amputee), Hawkeye (deaf), Silhouette (paralyzed), Madame Web (Myasthenia gravis)

What would a spiritual disability look like?

The “Evil Cripple” is a common trope, what impact does this have on our students?

-Joker (Insanity, Lizard( amputee), Komodo (amputee), Two face( disfigured), Armless Tiger Man.

What impact does a positive, empowering character have on the development of youth?

What are some stories that have inspired and empowered you?

-Cassandra Cain(Speech, Language Disability), The Movement (muscular dystrophy)

What visual form of storytelling got you into this world of geek culture? (Comics, Games, Movies, Illustration?)

What do you think about disabilities in comics and how they are portrayed? Let us know in the comment section below.  Also, don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe to all things Constant Collectible so YOU can keep up to date with all the news and reviews from a world of GEEK CULTURE.

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