"Cripping" the Comic-Con Brings Together Two Superhero Teams

Breaking Disability Stereotypes

You may have heard about an event called Comic-Con, where fans across the country gather every year for their favorite comic books and characters. On Saturday, Syracuse University is holding a similar event, but adding their own take on it.

SU’s Disability Cultural Center is hosting the 5th Annual 'Cripping' the Con, which is an event that focuses on disability rights.  SU Disability Cultural Center’s, Diane Wiener says this event is the only one of its kind in the United States and possibly the world.

Two teams of superheroes will be meeting for the first time at this international summit.  One team, the Department of Ability, are from the United Kingdom and the other, Access Avengers, are from the United States.

Wiener says it is very important for people to have a place where they can think about mental health and disabilities. She says sometimes movies portray people with mental illnesses as villains and they are trying to fix the negative connotations associated with them.  

Event Organizer, Chris Wildrick, dressed up as the character Harvey Two-Face, a negative stereotype of a person with a psychiatric disorder. He says that he enjoys cosplay so when he heard about Wiener’s event he thought it was a really good event to work together on.

This year, the panel will feature people from Australia and the United Kingdom. One of the panelists is Dan White, whose daughter Emily has spina bifida and hydrocephalus . A few years back she asked her Dad why there were little to no comics that feature images of students with disabilities. White then quit his full-time job to become a comic illustrator. He created the  “Department of Ability” which features his daughter as the main character and a whole team of superheroes with disabilities.

According to Wiener, the title is important because it is a play on ‘Dead on Arrival’ by saying that their lives do matter, and that they can thrive and have meaning in the world.

To end the event off, there will be a rock concert featuring the band, Calling Utopia. The band is made up of two sisters, one who has Hydrocephalus. They wanted to raise awareness for the condition and working with White and the Department of Ability, they created a song. The two families have never met and will be meeting for the first time this weekend.

Throughout the entire event, American Sign Language interpretation will be provided. The morning plenary session and evening concert will have Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) available.

“Cripping” the Con 2017 will be held Sat. Apr 22 from 9am to 8:30pm at the Schine Student Center at SU. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Lehman Lot, the Unv Lot or the University Avenue Garage.

For more information, visit crippingthecon.com


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