I was sad to hear about the Death of Stan Lee recently, I didn’t realise just how much of a comic book fan I was until my childhood was nearly over,I live in a small village with the best Fish and Chip shop for miles around, at the end of our road, maybe if that had been a Comic Book store, I wouldn’t resemble a small fridge freezer.
I can remember seeing the XMen cartoon for the first time in the early 90’s, back then, you didn’t see disabled characters at the helm of anything – In fact I didn’t see anyone like me in many forms of entertainment at all growing up.
So as a 12 year old, when I saw professor X, a man in a wheelchair who was seriously cool, joining together a load of misfit mutants, who basically saved the world, after a bunch of normals screw humanity over, I felt like a badass I was in a wheelchair like Professor X, and I spent the rest of my childhood trying to master mind power. I wasn’t a superhero but, my god, I wanted to be.
For me, the XMen are empowering, Most of the X-Men are mutants, humans who are born with superhuman abilities. The X-Men fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants in a world where antimutant bigotry is fierce and widespread.
Alright so I’m not a ‘mutant’ but I’ve been called worse and I wasn’t born superhuman, despite what the Channel 4 coverage of the Paralympics might tell you. Take the Comic book-ness out of it and you have a group of people who advocate equality between able bodied people and, for want of a better phrase, ‘disabled’ people, your basically describing my morals and personal ethos. Disabled people aren’t special, society thinks we are inspirational, when, we just wanted to be treated with respect and like an average Joe.
The rise of disability hate crime means that prominent and loud voices of disabled people need, more than ever, to be heard. If you give the idea to disabled people, that they are warrior like heroes that is a very empowering vision and when you become empowered you are unstoppable.
Stan Lee made me feel so cool and years later I started to blog as The Four Wheeled Wonder Woman (yes, I know she’s DC, not Marvel) the two things shouldn’t mix disability being alluded too with the term wonder woman thrown in for good measure, but when you do it’s a powerful image.
I may be a on Four Wheels, but I can still save the day, I use the persona when I need a confidence boost, minus the outfit, when I’m the Four Wheeled Wonder Woman I am unstoppable,
It’s not about shouting and argumentative, it’s about having strength to pick your battles and standing your ground, understanding that there will be people who disagree or dislike you, but you have morals and a willingness to never give in.
When I first saw those X Men Cartoons, I was a struggling withmy disability, I was growing up and realising society misunderstood me, Comicbooks and the XMen and Stan, made me see that just because I was different didn’tmean I was deformed. But more because I am Disabled, I am strong, andI am powerful.