Saturday, 11 May 2019



When you think of superheroes, you automatically think of strong, powerful men and women.  Marvel has received a lot of publicity for creating a 'handicapped' superhero with Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, but in the 1960s there was more than just him.  Here is a list:

Daredevil:  Blind.
Iron Man:  Injured heart.  (He needed what today would be a pacemaker.)
Professor X:  Crippled, confined to a wheelchair.
Nick Fury:  Loss of one eye during the war.
Don Blake/Thor:  Lame, needed a cane to walk with.
Dr. Strange:  Loss of dexterity in both hands.

In the twelve superhero series of the '60s, half of them featured what can be regarded as disabled characters.  And then there were also those who were 'sort-of' handi-capped.

Hulk & Thing:  Physically altered.
Cyclops:  Needed to constantly wear protective eye-wear.
Henry Pym:  Stuck in giant-size for a while.

Back then, members had to get to Avengers Mansion early for meetings or all the handicapped parking spots would be taken.

Who was the handicapped hero you most related to back in the day - and why?


Dave S said...

You could also add the Angel to that list, seeing as how he couldn't go out in public as Warren Worthington III without uncomfortably strapping his wings down.

I think I tended to be drawn more to the heroes who were emotional misfits, like Spider-Man, Adam Warlock or the Silver Surfer, rather than the ones with physical differences. What this says about me, I'm not quite sure.

To get back to the point of your post though, Barry, it is striking how many of the early Marvel heroes had some sort of physical flaw. DC's heroes tended to be paragons of physical perfection - Stan made many of his characters flawed, vulnerable, and ultimately more relatable than the planet-juggling Superman or the Flash, a man who could run through space from an asteroid to Earth (in the first Abra Kadabra story).

Kid said...

Supposedly, The Flash could run around the Earth eight times in one second. Not quite as believable as Quicksilver, eh, DS?

Barry Pearl said...

Dave, I think you are right. In the 1960s the Marvel heroes seemed more relatable. DC seemed to want young sidekicks, Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Aqualad and Snapper to be what readers related to. Stan Lee made the actual heroes relatable, both physically and, as you mentioned emotionally.

Barry Pearl said...

Kid, you really made me laugh. No, I don’t think Quicksilver was more believable. Neither was the Human Top or Johnny Quick. Once they pass 1,000 miles an hour they become fantasy.

Kid said...

Well, it's good that I've got a heretofore hidden talent for making you laugh, Barry, but my point was that there's fantasy and then there's fantasy. It doesn't seem as impossible to me (when it comes to a story involving superheroes) that someone could be stronger or faster than normal humans - to a superhuman degree - but not quite as strong or as fast as Superman or The Flash. Why, I'm sure when I've got diarrhoea, I can move at 1,000 miles an hour getting to the toilet. (My diarrhoea certainly seems to move at that speed once I'm perched above the porcelain.)

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