Marvel Impresses with Increased Disability Representation

Written by Chad

March 2, 2022

Considering that approximately15% of the world’s population is living with some kind of disability it is definitely not surprising that more pressure is being put on the media to increase their disability representation. Last year was a very big year for the comic books industry thanks to the launch of many comic-based movies and movie franchises. In addition to this, the effort made to increase race and gender inclusiveness and representation in comics by some of the biggest names in the game, including Marvel, has also contributed to the industry’s successes.  Even though there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of representation, a number of heroes and villains with disabilities feature in some of our favorite Marvel comics. Let’s have a closer look at three of them.
 Professor Xavier Leads from His Wheelchair
One of the most well-known Marvel characters with a disability is without a doubt the leader of the X-Men, Professor Xavier. The professor, who is confined to a wheelchair, has TV paraplegia which has left his legs paralyzed. Despite his disability, Professor X remains one of Marvel’s most powerful mutants who strives to promote peace between humans and their superhero counterparts. A comic book hero that also happens to be in a wheelchair is definitely a big inspiration to the thousands of Marvel fans living with their own mobility concerns. In addition to representation in comics, there are also many exemplary online communities that provide invaluable assistance to the loved ones of individuals living with a disability. For instance, CPFN is dedicated to providing support to families that have been directly impacted by cerebral palsy.
Hawkeye is not Deterred by His Deafness
Hawkeye, one of the most prominent Avenger in both the comics and movie series, is completely deaf and has to read lips in order to understand what is being said. While the exact cause of his disability remains unknown, it is believed that he either lost his hearing while using a sonic arrow to counter the brainwashing weapon of Crossfire or when his eardrums were obliterated by a psycho clown during David Aja and Matt Fraction’s run. Regardless of the reason, Hawkeye has become somewhat of a hero to fans with hearing impairments from across the globe. There are a few instances when disabilities are put in the spotlight in the comic series including the immersive experience offered by Hawkeye #19 by way of blank speech bubbles and non-existent sound effects.
Daredevil is a Hero to Many
Ever since Daredevil was created by Stan Lee back in 1964, he served as a hero to comic fans living with visual impairments. Daredevil was blinded when he was still young. The same radioactive substance that gave him his extra-sensory abilities splashed into his eyes and destroyed his sight.  Although his superhero abilities do set him apart from the average visually-impaired person, Daredevil still has to contend with many of the same obstacles real-life people do. In addition to his blindness, Daredevil also experiences severe bouts of depression which makes him even more endearing to his fans.

Inclusivity and representation in comic books are of utmost importance. By continuously creating more characters with various disabilities, the stigma of being disabled can be decreased considerably.

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