NYCC Panelists Have Sound Advice on Writing Characters with Disabilities

Like real life, some people in comic books have disabilities. Usually they’re not the main characters and tend to be secondary or tertiary characters at best and villains at worst. More importantly, many of these characters are unrealistic, and Saturday’s How (and Why) To Create Disabled Characters panel at New York Comic Con was all about discussing what defines a good or bad portrayal of a character with disabilities in popular media. And these weren’t just random panelists pulling random names out of a hat; all the panelists either had disabilities, worked with people with disabilities, were disability activists, or were a combination of the three, so they knew what they were talking about. So, let’s start with what characters the panelists think are good positive representations of people with disabilities and why. Well, Professor Charles Xavier is an obvious choice, but not because he uses a wheelchair. Professor X is actually a good representation because, like many people with disabilities, he’s an activist, albeit for mutants and not people with disabilities. Regardless, Professor X reaches out to his fellow mutants and uses technology to create a safe, comfortable environment, which isn’t too different from what disability activists do. […]

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