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Death, Disability, and the SuperheroThe Silver Age and Beyond$
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José Alaniz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461176

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461176.001.0001

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Disability, Visuality, and the Silver Age Superhero

2 Supercrip
Death, Disability, and the Superhero

Alaniz José

University Press of Mississippi

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.

Keywords:   supercrip, disabled community, Americans with Disabilities Act, mainstream culture, superhero comics genre

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