Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SUPERB Comic Book To Star New Superhero With Down Syndrome

Comic books frequently feature characters with disabilities. However, there's usually a common theme when it comes to those disabled individuals. Their disabilities usually limit their mobility. Usually that means that they get around in wheelchairs. Occasionally someone gets introduced who uses braces crutches or leg-braces. Or you will meet a character who is blind or deaf.

But it's not terribly common for a mentally disabled character to show up as a regular character. I can think of characters offhand. The Penance twins from Generation X -- who sometimes seemed autistic to me in their portrayals, though I don't think that this was ever spelled out -- and Shape from the original Squadron Supreme -- who was portrayed as someone with an intellectual disability of some sort. I also remember an X-Men back-story from sometime in the mid-90s featuring Magneto and a young mutant with Down Syndrome who was never heard from again.

I've yearned for stories featuring heroes with mental disabilities for a long time -- whether they be folks with costumes and super-powers or funny characters by a company like Archie Comics. But life hasn't caught up with my desire... Yet!

I learned today of an upcoming comic book called SUPERB that stars a young hero with Down Syndrome! SUPERB was produced by partnership by Lion Forge Comics and the National Down Syndrome Society.

The hero in question is a young man named Jonah. I'm not certain if his code name is Superb or if he just goes by the name Jonah. According to news reports, Jonah is trying to figure out what to do with his new superhuman abilities -- strength, telekinesis, and telepathy:
“Everyone faces different challenges in life, but those challenges don’t prevent us from wanting to be heroes,” Lion Forge head Geoff Gerber told The Hollywood Reporter. “Superb is a story about two young people faced with challenges who struggle to understand one another and what it means to be heroes. But some challenges are more difficult for many of us to understand.”
I'm assuming that the second young person is the black girl on the cover, who possibly has Down Syndrome herself. It's not clear to me from the picture. It's also unclear to me if she has powers of her own or a costumed identity. But I'm really curious to find out!

SUPERB is being written by David F. Walker and Sheena C. Howard with art by Ray-Anthony Height, Le Beau L. Underwood, and Veronica Gandini. The first issue is scheduled to arrive in stores in July.

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