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6 Superheroes With Disabilities (That You’ve Never Heard Of)

By July 6, 2016No Comments

We’ve been inspired by the upcoming Comic Con! July 2016 is dedicated to superheroes and superheroics and we’re super-inspired by the epic barrier-breaking stories of these fantastic beings – with and without disabilities!

In the media and within popular culture, disability has had very little positive representation. Many disability rights advocates have slammed the various portrayals: although there have been quite a few, most of the stories are centred around an able-bodied person, and the person with a disability has little to no control over their own role within the story.

However, there has always been a bond between superheroism and disability – and we don’t mean in the pandering, inspirational sense.

Mainstream comic book publishers like Marvel and DC have actually been quite progressive when it comes to disability visibility, especially for the 1940’s, when Marvel introduced their first blind superhero, Doctor Mid-Nite. There has been an extremely diverse array of multi-dimensional superheroes, spanning virtually every identity – but mainstream culture hasn’t been too aware of most of them, save for Daredevil (blindness), Deadpool (facial disfigurement, cancer, chronic pain, dissociative personality disorder) and the X-Men franchise (a metaphor for disability rights struggles).

Because we believe that more positive representation can only be a good thing, here’s our list of six awesome superheroes with disabilities:

  1. Silhouette

Born in New York City to parents that have maintained a legacy of careful, selective breeding (so she would be able to tap into the power of the Well of All Things in Cambodia), Silhouette was shot by police gunfire, which caused the loss of functionality in her legs. She’s since added “superhumanly fighting with her custom combat-crutches” to her already extensive list of abilities (which includes being able to melt into shadows and teleport) – paraplegia hasn’t stopped her from being a hero.

  1. Misty Knight

Also hailing from New York, Mercedes “Misty” Knight was one of the best cops at the NYPD, until a terrorist bombing left her without an arm. She was offered a desk job, but was unhappy with being confined to a desk, so, equipped with a bionic arm that grants her exceptional punching and crushing force, she founded Heroes for Hire with her best friend, to whom she maintains fierce loyalty. She also boasts ambidextrous marksmanship and detective skills that would put Sherlock to shame.

  1. Karma

A native of Vietnam, Xi’an Coy Manh has learned to stay calm during times of crisis, having grown up around war-zones with her army general uncle. She is incredibly kind, calm and unselfish – except briefly when her powers of psychic possession were used against her by the evil Shadow King, whose influence caused her to abandon her true personality for one of evil – and which also forced her to put on a lot of weight rapidly to the point of morbid obesity. She has since lost the weight and regained her sense of self, but her leg has been amputated: she now wears a prosthetic, but still possesses superb psychic abilities.

  1. Hornet

Eddie McDonough succeeded Peter Parker as the Hornet, and received the Hornet suit which he modified to allow him the use of his palsied right arm (as well as flight and enhanced strength). The suit helped his confidence as he felt that people saw the superhero and not the disability. He was sadly killed by a possessed Wolverine, but Eddie is still remembered for his superheroism as Hornet and his civilian status as a science prodigy.

  1. Black Bolt

Black Bolt has an unusual disability which could also be seen as a super-ability, depending on your point of view: he has a hypersonic voice, capable of destroying entire cities with just one utterance! He has to work extremely hard to remain silent at all times, and communicates via sign language or a spokesperson. He’s reluctantly taken on the position of King of the Inhumans, a race of humanoid beings who came to be after an experiment, who now live in isolation and distrust of humans. Black Bolt is widely considered to also suffer from depression.

  1. Vengeance Moth

A 19 year-old recovering substance abuser who has muscular dystrophy, Drew Fisher has fantastic powers and, from her wheelchair, is a fully-involved member of The Movement, a crime-fighting superhero team. She is able to project a glowing green moth, which allows her to fly or to transport allies, project offensive rays from her moth’s wings, and create a force-field that shields her from her attackers.

Who’s your favourite superhero with a disability? Or do you better identify with the supervillians? Let us know!