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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Superhero Comic characters with disabilities - sensory loss

After putting together the Characters of Colour posts, I thought it was about time we highlighted other role models not commonly seen in popular culture.  Specifically, we will look at people with disabilities, (or disabled people, if you prefer) and we shall attempt to find some decent characters with mental health problems.

The reason behind doing these series is to point potential readers towards books where they can find people like themselves, no matter the reader's race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  This is because it is important to see yourself reflected in the media you consume.

I thought I'd start with characters with sensory loss, mostly because one of my favourite comic characters is a Deaf woman, named Maya Lopez, or Echo.  Echo is a Native American woman who has been Deaf from birth.  She has the ability to copy any physical movement she sees, be that kicking, boxing, dancing, piano playing and more.  She first appeared in the Daredevil books and has 2 trades about her, Parts of a Hole reviewed here and Vision Quest reviewed here.
The art is great, the writing is great,I strongly recommend you track down a copy of these books!

Alongside Maya, is Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock.  Murdock was blinded in a freak accident when young.  Since then his other senses improved beyond normal human abilities so that he can always tell where he is and lead a life as a vigilante.  By day he's a lawyer, by night he's leaping around rooftops catching the bad guys.  Yellow, Wake Up and Parts of a Hole are all good places to start reading about him.

Dr Mid-Nite - Pieter Cross is a highly skilled doctor, one of the best in the DC Universe.  Born sighted, he became blind when involved in a car accident, which only happened because he was investigating a new dodgy street drug.  OK, we say he became blind, but much like Daredevil, he found that he could see in pitch black darkness by infrared vision and ultrasonic vision.
Cross is the third man to take the Dr Mid-Nite title and is a member of the Justice Society of America (JSA), the forerunners to the Justice League of America.  He is less of a vigilante and more of a doctor, although as part of the JSA he does engage in superheroics.
You can read about him in his own trade paperback or in nearly any recent JSA book.

The Wilson Family - let's go through each of them, starting with Daddy dearest, Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke The Terminator.  Deathstroke is a master assassin, easily one of the most dangerous in the DCU, and has had a somewhat complex history.  He's a bit of a bastard (and a killer, definitely a villain) but he loves his kids, in a somewhat screwed up way.  After one of his sons was injured (see below) his wife took revenge on him by shooting him the head.  This didn't kill him, but he did lose one of his eyes.  Slade has better than normal stamina, speed, healing, reflexes and intelligence.  He currently has a new series just started, but as this is part of DC's relaunch I'm not sure how much of his history is kept.  Instead, I recommend you read about him in either the Teen Titans books listed further down the page, or in Green Arrow: Crawling Through the Wreckage.

Rose Wilson, known as Ravager, is Slade's daughter.  She took his other son's codename, her Dad's costume, and in a bid to prove her love while in a drug induced haze, her eye (so she could be just like Dad).  She's a bit of an anti-hero, has precognitive abilities and the enhanced stamina, speed etc that her father has.  She drinks, she smokes, she flirts, she says what she means, she's violent and she can't really be bothered with niceties for niceties sake.  She uses swords to fight with (and sometimes fists and feet too).  She's one of my favourite characters.  See further down for books she's starred in.

Jericho aka Joseph William Wilson is Slade's son and has been a member of the Teen Titans.  He doesn't have a sensory loss, rather he is mute and communicates through American Sign Language.  As a young child Jericho's throat was cut by an enemy of his father's, thus rendering him mute.  As a teenager Jericho's metahuman power came into being and he discovered that he could 'jump' from body to body if he made eye contact with a person.  Joey has been variously good and evil, but to start reading about him try The New Teen Titans - the Judas Contract.  Amazon is currently pricing a used copy at £50.  Ignore that, hunt around, look on ebay and pay about £12 for it. 

All three Wilsons appear in the last Teen Titans run, start with Teen Titans: Family Lost.

Don't forget our other two posts in the series - wheelchairs users, and my terribly summarised, the rest.


  1. I really enjoyed Mid-Nite's miniseries by Matt Wagner you pointed out, just read it recently.
    It was a pretty good read. Even if he's not "realistically" blind and can see "other spectrums", it was a very good story and featured the struggling class and poverty fighting back against corporates and the reimagined Terrible Trio.
    Very good book indeed!

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