Disability, Visuality, and the Silver Age Superhero
This chapter discusses the figure of the “supercrip,” which divides much of the disabled community both within itself and from the wider, “abled” culture. Coming into popular use around the time of the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the term denotes a type of disabled person more likely to appear in the mainstream mass media. The supercrip represents the antithesis to the other despised image in mainstream culture: the sentimentalized, pathetic poster child wheeled out for telethons and tearjerkers. As the term suggests, through its derivation from Superman and the superhero comics genre, “supercrip” implies an ego-driven overcompensation for lack that is dangerous for its misrepresentation of an entire community.
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