Unmasked, Part One

Comic books invoke daydreams. Regardless of how bad villains become, fans expect their hero to win. Most major protagonists, or heroes, have a weakness. Smart opponents exploit character flaws for their own gain. In Face Value #1, we have many stories to tell about overcoming human frailties. Hopefully, our heroes win. The story begins with advocacy.

Face Value Comics, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We chose this designation to represent our commitment to community. Maybe we’ll make a sizeable profit from comics and related merchandise (Pssst- we already have designs for a line of fully articulated action figures, and storyboards for more than eighteen months of comic book plot). Most likely, every cent we derive from sales goes into funding the next issues.  Money isn’t our biggest problem. Instead, we face the same challenge that many children have, with or with an ASD diagnosis: acceptance.

Look at other comic books. How many feature a hero with autism? Batman aligned with Lucas, a young boy with autism, but for only one issue in 2011. Also from DC Comics, Black Manta fights Aquaman, but has been inexplicably “cured” of his ASD. Marvel Comics’ database lists five “Characters who exhibit or have been diagnosed with autism,” here: http://marvel.wikia.com/Category:Autism_spectrum.  Readers take note: two of the five characters are the same person. Furthermore, Marvel’s official article appears with category tags: “Mental Illness Weakness (emphasis added).”

Sincerely, I applaud any attempt to include autistic characters by Marvel and DC Comics. Few brave writers discuss autism outside of blog posts or scientific study. Fewer writers seem to believe children with autism can be capable of doing grand things, like being an aquatic-dwelling, infant-murdering, criminal mastermind. My bucket list pales by comparison.

Relaxin' Chillaxin
Being different doesn’t automatically make someone or something a monster.

Our comics FEATURE a hero with autism. Make no mistake- the entire series is Michael’s story. He doesn’t have superpowers. Michael doesn’t have a spiffy catchphrase forced upon readers. His best friend isn’t a do-good vigilante sidekick. Honestly, Michael will be lucky to pass his most-recent science test! His greatest ability, aside from art and a mathematical mind, is compassion. Michael tries to understand his world during an on-coming alien invasion. Face Value Comics never had intentions of being like a heart-warming, tea-sipping, kitten-cuddling, after-school television show. We tell a great science-fiction story to keep readers’ interests.

Social injustice and prejudices against children with ASD requires more grit than fluffy promises. Reader’s aren’t sheep. Kids recognize comic books that have action and long-term plot. Face Value Comics isn’t just another therapeutic tool disguised as entertainment. Our team just has decades of combined experience with professional comic books AND mental health advocacy. Like Michael, Face Value Comics makes no apologies for who we are. Like Michael, we only ask for some time for people to understand something different and new.

Will you like Michael?

Will you like Face Value Comics?

© Face Value Comics 2013

2 thoughts on “Unmasked, Part One”

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