Finding Dory, Disability Culture, and Collective Access

Originally posted at Disability Visibility Project

On June 25, I saw Finding Dory after reading many positive reviews and recommendations from my disabled friends. I wasn’t disappointed. There was so much to unpack and process when I got home that I decided to write this review/essay.

Continue reading Finding Dory, Disability Culture, and Collective Access”

DC’s Next Superhero Spin-Off Should be Birds of Prey

We all know that DC’s television universe is a force to be reckoned with. Hell, the Berlanti-verse alone is already four shows deep across two networks, with each showeven Supergirl — all but guaranteed to return next season. Now that the DC Universe is firmly entrenched on the small screen, I think they should continue the pattern of spinning off characters into their own series. In fact, DC should look to spinning off no less than three shows next year: the obvious ones being Martian Manhunter and Vixen, but I want to make the case for another team show: Birds of Prey featuring the female heroes from the Arrow-verse.

Continue reading “DC’s Next Superhero Spin-Off Should be Birds of Prey

On Body Image, Diversity, and Comics’ Outdated Standard of Beauty

Originally posted on Black Nerd Problems

ESPN made a “Body Issue” based on Marvel superheroes, and it’s glorious. But before we get to that, let’s go through some fascinating history first. The first Body Issue was published in 2009 in response to a significant decline in ESPN magazine’s revenue during the financial crisis. Not only that, because it was also a response for that pesky high-selling publication from their competitor, Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue. ESPN photographers took shots of athletes — some more famous, others less known — nearly or completely naked, bearing it all with a soccer ball, or a baseball bat, or the snowboard they ride on. Where the Swimsuit Issue focused on homogeneous models showcasing bikinis and pandering to the typical standard of Hollywood beauty however, the Body Issue saw an opportunity: ESPN the Magazine would focus on the diversity of the human form by centering on the athletes themselves.

And focusing on diversity proved to be an amazingly successful strategy. Who knew?

Continue reading “On Body Image, Diversity, and Comics’ Outdated Standard of Beauty”

Disabled Geeks: Improve Representation of Disability in Wikis

Calling all geeky crips! Do you have a favorite comic book character with a disability?

Do you find wiki posts about disabled comic book characters ableist, inaccurate, or devoid of a disability perspective?

If so, we’re looking for you!

Dominick Evans and I — through the Disability Visibility Project — are looking for volunteers to update various entries in comic book wikis.

Continue reading “Disabled Geeks: Improve Representation of Disability in Wikis”

Ink and Ashes and Tu Books’ New Visions Award for YA Writers

This week we’re excited about two things: one is a book, the other an awesome opportunity.

ink_and_ashes_smallFor us readers: Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani came out this week. As a lover of mysteries as a child, I can’t wait to crack into this one!

And for us writers: the award that got Maetani published — The New Visions Award from Tu Books — also opens submissions this week! Tu Books is dedicated to diversity in genre fiction for young people and is under the banner of Lee and Low books, which publishes children’s books by authors of color. We definitely need more publishers with that goal in mind!

Continue reading Ink and Ashes and Tu Books’ New Visions Award for YA Writers”

A smiling Daredevil action figure sits in front of a computer monitor, arms raised above his head triumphantly. The opening sequence from the Netflix series Marvel's Daredevil plays on the screen behind him with a newly added audio track selected in the settings menu that reads: "ENGLISH - AUDIO DESCRIPTION." In the corner are two hashtags in red text: ‪#‎Dare2Describe‬ ‪#‎HellYeah‬

The Fight for Audio Description on Netflix’s Daredevil

When Marvel’s much-anticipated Daredevil premiered on Netflix on April 10, the disability community, especially the nerds with disabilities, looked forward to the series in appreciation of the genre, the comic books, and in particular, the blind protagonist, Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. Unlike other popular superheroes with disabilities that might be cyborgs, mutants, or aliens, Matt Murdock became blind in an accident, a very human and mundane event, nothing supernatural or alien about it. Yes, the radioactive isotopes that he was exposed to gave him certain abilities, but his lived experience as a blind man in a non-blind world also gave him certain skills that became as useful as his heightened senses, ability to take a beating, and mastery of the martial arts.

Very soon after the release of Daredevil on Netflix, people began to realize that blind Netflix users could not enjoy Daredevil’s adventures since the series did not come with audio description.

Continue reading “The Fight for Audio Description on Netflix’s Daredevil

Different But Not Broken: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Disability

by Jihan Abbas | Originally posted at the Disability Visibility Project

Within the superhero genre, comic books have always strongly connected notions of difference with unique abilities. Villains and heroes alike often find their motivation and power through origin stories that speak to difference or a process of change. Alice Wong wrote a great piece exploring how the mythology behind superheroes is relatable to many disabled people and those who grew up on the outside looking in.

It was our shared interest in disability representation in comic books and the recent expansion of Marvel into television that prompted a back and forth between Alice and I around disability and difference in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While the show first framed itself as an opportunity to view the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. — the so-called “normal” folks who work behind the scenes in this superhero filled world — it was clear from the beginning that the show was pulling on powerful threads about change, difference, and otherness. While this is not unusual where superheroes are concerned, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. applied these same dynamics to the bureaucracy behind the Avengers. In the first season Phil Coulson’s return from the dead — and the differences in him that resulted from this process, as well as Skye’s mysterious origins — were front and center.

Continue reading “Different But Not Broken: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Disability”

Mobility for Justice

Hey everyone! If you’ve been on this ride with me for a while you know that I have always been super busy and active — going to as many conventions as I can, making 15 costumes a year, taking every opportunity I can get. Just trying to live my life to the fullest.

And now I’m working for Marvel Universe Live — traveling to a new city every week for the next two years and seeing so many things and learning as much as I can along the way.

It’s been fun, exhilarating, exhausting. And painful. As you might already know, I am permanently disabled and have been for a long time. I use canes and a manual wheelchair to get around, but because I have severe pain and debilitating damage all over my body, using these mobility aids hurts me and makes it difficult to do my job.

Continue reading “Mobility for Justice”

A Mutant from Planet Cripton, An Origin

In 1974, a baby arrived in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana from the planet Cripton. She looked like the offspring of two Chinese immigrants, Ma and Pa Wong, but something was different.

The Earth’s gravitational force made it difficult for this baby to raise her head. She couldn’t crawl and went straight from sitting to walking. Perplexed, Ma and Pa Wong took their baby to the doctor and found out: she is a mutant from Cripton!

This is her origin story.

Continue reading “A Mutant from Planet Cripton, An Origin”