Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jonah, the World’s First Superhero with Down Syndrome

by Lorraine Walker, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

At the end of March, Sesame Street introduced the world to Julia, the first autistic Muppet. Julia’s puppeteer is also mom to a son with autism. She said that it would have been wonderful for her son to have someone in the comic book world to identify with.

The same might be said for Lion Forge Comics’ newest creation, Superb. The comic launches in July and will feature the first superhero with Down syndrome. The National Down Syndrome Society (DNSS) was a full partner in bringing Jonah, the main hero, to life along with Lion Forge, whose slogan is ironically “Comics for Everyone.”

Everyone faces different challenges in life, but these shouldn’t preclude anyone from wanting to be a superhero. Lion Forge president Geoff Gerber said in a statement earlier in the month that Superb is the story of two young people faced with challenges who try to understand one another and what it means to be heroes.

The series is written by David F. Walker and Sheena C. Howard. They used NDSS to help create characters with life experiences that they personally didn’t have. Superb also features art from Ray-Anthony Height, Le Beau L. Underwood, and Veronica Gandini. I realize that the library does not stock comic books, but the topic is so important that we have no problem promoting reading in the fashion.

The cover image is wonderfully vibrant and makes great use of the comic book style to introduce these new characters. It will be interesting to follow the series and see what they come up with.

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