5 Comic Book Characters On the Autism Spectrum
April is Autism Awareness Month. So I decided to compile a list of comic book characters who are on the autism spectrum.
As someone who is on the autism spectrum, I believe that representation is important. And the media is just starting get wind that "Hey! People with autism are actually PEOPLE! Maybe we should have characters that represent them in the media!" WOW! You THINK??
Even though a lot of people were critical of the new Power Rangers movie that came out a few years ago, I loved it and would not shut up about it. You know why? THE BLUE RANGER. Billy Cranston had asperger's. A SUPERHERO THAT I HAD IDOLIZED SINCE I WAS A CHILD HAD THE SAME AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AS ME. AND WAS A HERO. I freaked out IN the theater.
And it was never the center of focus, which I loved. He just announced it. It was a thing for 2 minutes (that they explained very well, by the way) and moved on. Because this character wasn't defined by his "disorder". He was just a kid (nay, HERO) who just so happen to have asperger's.
Representation matters SO MUCH.
So here are some other comic book characters that are also on the autism spectrum:
1. Black Manta (Aquaman)
Black Manta is a big villain of Aquaman (he's even going to be in the new Aquaman movie!) And he has 2 different origin stories. One of which, involves him being an autistic orphan that was placed in Arkham Asylum. The story explains his touch sensitivity, and how the Asylum workers treated him. The workers had no knowledge his autism or even how to handle it. Therefore their ignorance and rough treatment traumatized him, and turned him into the villain he eventually became.
However, of the two origin stories that have been in the comics, this alternative origin story isn't one that the media uses when portraying Black Manta in animated movies, tv shows, or video games. They usually just use the "My dad died, and now I want revenge" plot line. But that's not his origin in the comics. It's much darker.
So I really hope they use his comic book origin story in the new Aquaman movie. Give me a compelling villain backstory (either origin story will do; I'd just prefer the Aspie one.) Make me understand why he does what he does. Don't just make him 100% a d***.
2. Legion, David Haller. (Legion)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (AKA: Multiple Personalities. And they ALL have issues.)
David is the son of Charles Xavier (Yes, THAT Charles Xavier) and has a LOT of powers. Like, the list grows every day. And each of his personalities has control of certain powers. And each of his personalities has some mental problems of their own.
In the comics, he also has the power to absorb your mind/personality if he is near you during death. So not only does he have his "regular" multiple personality disorder, he LITERALLY has multiple personalities living in his head...
David's got issues, man...
3. Johnny Do. (Psi-Force)
This comic was only in publication for about 4 years in the late 80s. But to have highly autistic character like Johnny in a comic book in the 80s? (And to give him fire powers???) Revolutionary.
4. Mark Shiffron (Postal)
Mark lives in a fictional city that is only made up of ex-convicted criminals who are living together in secret from the outside world. Any crime is severely punished and passed down by the Mayor. The Mayor's son is the only one who isn't a convict. He just has asperger's and delivers the mail. (This series is currently in development to be a show on Hulu. Hopefully in the near future.)
5. Mister Fantastic, Reed Richards (Fantastic Four)
Mister Fantastic has changed since his original incarnation in the 1960s. As of recently, he has been portrayed to be cold and distant to his colleagues, but very focused on his work. It was recently revealed in the comics that Dr. Richards is on the autism spectrum. So, he's not an a**hole. He's just really goal oriented.