The Importance of Neurological Diversity in Media

Neuro divers

 

Over the course of the 21st century we have seen a slow but steady increase in the amount of diversity presented in various forms of storytelling, art and entertainment media.  The majority of the focus has been on things such as racial and sexual diversity though lately other types of diversity such a body diversity have begun to make headway as well.   I personally feel though there is another type of diversity of equal importance that often gets overlooked in the debate.  and that is neurological diversity.

 

 

While true many characters in various animated series, comic, films and television programs are given diverse personality types and some of these could be attributed to various neurological conditions or quarks, very seldom do we see such things actually addressed within the context of the work.  Though thankfully this too is slowly changing.  This year Sesame Street introduced an Autistic character named Julia onto their program to both reach out to young autistic children and teach other children from a young age that some children may act/behave differently than them and that’s OK and should not prevent you from wanting to become friends.  And while Autism like many things in the realm of human existence is a spectrum and one character can only cover so much, the character’s inclusion into the children’s program is a small step in the right direction.

 

Other then that we have seen many other television programs address unique character quarks but not all have quite tackled the issues head on.  The character Jeff from Clarence has expressed to his friends how he has his own way of doing things and how many things other kids do make him feel uncomfortable but outside of over exaggerations of typical OCD & Germaphobic tendencies the show hasn’t always gone too in depth towards Jeff’s neurological quarks from a serious perspective outside a few speeches by the character himself.  I am not saying  the character can’t properly represent neurologically diverse individuals, just that this type of teasing is noting new in animation.   Other then that many other all-ages and adult animated programs have also touched on or introduced characters with various neurological quarks as part of their character traits that while engrained in their character’s habits and personality are not always explored as deeply as they could be.  Steven Universe is a masterpiece in its emotional depth and maturity but even it like most other programs can shy away from the more serious psychological issues at time.  The cult favorites My Little Pony/Equestria Girls have characters like Fluttershy & Sour Sweet that represent conditions such as severe generalized & social anxiety and disruptive personality disorder but these elements are only used as obstacles to over come social issues & friendship problems more often then being something the character has to live and work to control on a daily basis.  Then of course you have Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burger’s who is also a very socially awkward character but her unique quarks are often just played up for cringe or laughs.

 

Now again I am by no means saying that these characters cannot be inspiring to viewers that share the same or similar unique neurological diversity to them, just that with media’s slowly increasing willingness to talk about so many other types of diversity and to talk about things like emotional maturity and true morality in a more refined, serious yet still easily digestable manner that it would also be beneficial to neurologically diverse viewers and society as a whole, as everyone has some sort of quark or imperfection that helps make them uniquely who they are, to discuss characters neurological diversity in a more open, casual and mature manner as we have seen other issues brought up within media over the course of the 21st century.

 

One example I think television could take some level of inspiration from would be comics.  In recent years we have had characters like Jessica Cruz pop up to many a readers delight.  Jessica Cruz for those that don’t know is the newest Green Lantern of Earth and is unique not just in the fact that she is the first female Green Lantern to hail from our blue orb but also because she is a character who has openly dealt with the trauma of extended bouts of sever anxiety and depression and was still able to over come these and become a hero.  The book doesn’t ignore the issue though and early issues show how even as a hero Jessica still is working to overcome and control her anxiety and that it is her true arch-enemy the same way the Joker is to Batman.

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This extremely open and human portrayal of Jessica is what helps make her work as a character and seeing her overcome her fears and anxieties to become a hero is an inspiring story for readers of all ages.

 

Overall I do think that the representation of neurological diversity is becoming more prevalent if not somewhat more slowly then its ethnic/sexual/physiological counterparts.  I just hope that our favorite cartoons and comics will continue to push the envelope so to speak and continue to add episodes and stories giving open dialogues about neurological diversity and neurologically diverse charters so young children and adult viewers alike can continue to be empowered and inspired by these characters that give us all the courage to dream.

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The Importance of Self-Care in Troubled Times.

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OK, there’s no nice way to say this, the world is shit right now.  We have an idiot in the white house who is openly enabling and empowering Nazis and white supremacists and helping the most corrupt political party America has had in decades push through horrible legislation that harms and oppresses innocent men and women just because of their religion or ethnicity and not to mention all the damage all the EPA regulations being rolled back that will only hurt/endanger the environment and make people as well as all other life on this planet sick .  So yea, our current social and political climate is probably the worst it has ever been it has ever been in the past 30 or so years, so what does that have to do with this article.  Well honestly, everything.  Weather we like it or not we are part of this mess of a world right now, and while I know many of you are doing your best by protesting and fighting against the current admin and all the Nazi goons empowered to walk through the streets, as well as donating to organizations like the NAACP & SPLC that fight hate groups like this, the fact of it is these monsters probably aren’t going to go away anytime soon, so while we must never stop resisting or give-up on the fight it is also important to maintain proper self-care so we can keep our mental and physical health at a place where it is good enough to keep up the daily battle for life, liberty & freedom for all.

 

Collected here are some simple tips for self-care that can help bring some momentary peace to our lives in these troubling times.

 

 

  1.  Light Exercise:  Yeah I know it’s not particularly fun to jog or walk on a treadmill/elliptical.  But 15-30 minutes of light cardio in the morning before work or school can help get your body ready for the day, and hopefully get you pumped up enough to handle anything.

 

 

2. Read A Book (or Comic):  Sometimes all you want to do is sit down and  read a book, and for good reason.  Books can take us to worlds beyond our own, show the good and bad man is capable of and teach us as well as inspire.  Weather its a reread of an old favorite or a new venture you can never go wrong with a good book!

 

3. Watch some cartoons!:  It may sound silly to some, but between the bright colors, off beat antics, meaningful morals and life lessons watching a good cartoon to make you laugh, cry tears of feels & joy or just genuinely put a smile on your face can be a good way to make a bad day better.  Weather your tuning in to Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, Loud House on Nick, Rick & Morty on Adult Swim, or popping in a Equestria Girls DVD you can’t go wrong.  If a cartoon can make you happy that’s some worthwhile self-care!

 

4. Take A relaxing Bath/Shower:   On top of the obvious important of cleanliness, many cultures throughout history have viewed water as a source of rejuvenation and purity. A nice warm bath or shower can help take the edge off a long hard day.

 

5. Remind Yourself that you matter, you are special and you are loved: Look in the mirror and tell yourself how unique and awesome you are, look at photos of friends and family that have supported you, talk to friends on the phone and online, play with your ever loyal pets.  And just never forget that you can make a difference, that you matter!

 

So yea, I know this isn’t much for my first post in over a month, and I know it may come off as cheesy or pointless. But hey, we’ve all got to remember to take care of ourselves so we can be there to take care of and help others when they need it.  So, thanks for reading.  And stay awesome!

  Predator: Hunters #1 Review

Published By: Dark Horse Comics

Written By: Chris Warnar

Art By: Fransisco Ruiz Velasco

Lettered By: Michael Heisler


    Dark Horse Comics has been publishing Predator Comics for decades and from Aliens to Batman to Terminators the celestial hunters have gone against many worthy foes, however in this latest series humanity fights back and the hunters become the hunted.
  The book starts out as usual with a group of humans being hunted by the predator with all but one being killed by the beast.  We cut away to a gas station where our main character Nakai is being harassed by his racist redneck boss as he repairs a car.  Shortly after a mysterious trio arrives at the station and confronts Mr. Nakai.  They ask him what experience he has with Predators and he tells them his story.  The trio run by Jaya Soanes then reveal that they are Predator hunters and that they have also survived encounters with or descend from those that hunted the monsters and would like Nakai to join their group.  At first he is reluctant, but eventually he decides to tell off his racist boss and join the team.

 In terms of story the first issue is unsurprisingly primarily set-up and while we do get some brief predator action at the start and via flashbacks most of the issue focuses on setting up the characters and their relation to the extraterrestrial beast.  It isn’t the most entertaining read but it is well executed and gives us decent backgrounds for our human cast and the Predator moments are fairly well done.

 The art by Valesco seems a bit on the genaric side of things but it is done well enough to where the story is fairly easy to follow and the Predator is still intimidating.

  Overall this is a decent start to the mini-series, if not a somewhat subdued one given the premise of the story.

Final Rating

Story: 7

Art: 6

Overall: 6.5

X-O MANOWAR Vol 2 #1 Review

 Warning: This post contains spoilers.

Disclaimer: Everything in this post is solely my opinion.  X-O Manowar and all other characters are property of Valiant Entertainment.

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Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Written by: Matt Kindt

Art by: Tomas Giorello, Diego Rodrigeuz

Letters by: Dave Sharpe

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2012 the current incarnation of Valiant comics relaunched its valiant superhero universe and one of the books that made up the cornerstone of set universe was Robert Venditti’s X-O MANOWAR.  The book was basically a mix of Conan The Barbarian, Iron Man & Green Lantern, the run lasted 50 issues and rand until 2016, now in March of 2017 the second volume of X-O MANOWAR written by Matt Kindt picks up where the last series left off.

 

The story of the book is fairly straightforward, Aric who has given up the Manowar armor now works as a farmer on an alien planet and lives his days with his lover Schon until he is recruited as cannon fodder by one of the planets army’s to help them win the war currently going on between different tribes.  Aric of course being a natural born warrior ends up defeating all of his enemies on the battle field and a surprised high command recognizes his prowess giving him a new mission and promising him he can go back to his farm if he survives.  Aric aggress and the issue ends with him donning the Manowar armor once more.

 

Overall there really is not much to be said in terms of writing for this issue, Matt Kindt’s script is decent and no one feels out of character but despite being a good set up for the book it feels a bit bland as far as first issues go.  The art by Giorello and Rodriguez however is truly beautiful and makes the book a banquet on the eyes, like the previous series it has a visual appeal that makes it feel like a book from the late silver or Bronze age while still having a modern feel to it.

 

In closing, while the book may have a solid if not average script its art is what truly makes it worth picking up.

 

Final Score

Story: 6 out of 10

Art: 8 out of 10

Overall: 7 out of 10