When trying to understand something, we human beings often turn to labels to help us organize our thinking. This can be useful or it can reinforce prejudices. Anyone with ASD knows the dangers of labeling autism. Most of the time, people want to understand, but they accidentally choose labels that are hurtful or misleading. I’ve written before about how Marvel and DC Comics have had characters with ASD. While I applaud the willingness of these companies to include people with ASD, I dislike labeling autism with the category tags “Mental Illness Weakness,” as Marvel does.
At Face Value Comics, we’re trying something new. We’re raising autism awareness by giving the main character, a Superhero, autism. This allows us to show an autistic person dealing with everyday situations.
Rather than simply labeling autism as a weakness or a mental disorder, we’re showing a person coping with it in realistic situations. Of course, our futuristic steampunk universe isn’t exactly reality, but who could pass up the chance to write about crazy aliens or robots that are a mix of plants and metal?! By removing the stories a bit from our daily lives, we’re allowing space for our readers to get involved in the characters and the story lines and absorb the messages, raising autism awareness and teaching readers to decode facial expressions.
Autism awareness is the first step we take with readers. We make relatable characters for kids in middle school. Demystifying the broad spectrum of autism is a huge task. We start by showing kids can have heroes like themselves, and one hero just happens to have autism.
© Face Value Comics 2013