I had a chance to talk with WMQ about the need for diversity in comics.
WMQ: Without getting too personal, have you or someone close to you had struggles with mental health? Did that make you want to write this story? I’ve struggled with anxiety and OCD for much of my life, so seeing this treated with such respect is really important and means a lot to me.
Jeremy: Honestly, while I feel like it would be easier to say “there was this one experience I had,” it’s not that simple. There are a lot of people in my life who have struggled with mental health, be it depression, anxiety, bipolar or more often something undiagnosed. I deal a bit with anxiety myself from time to time, but honestly it’s tied to all of these things but not just any one of them.
We’re in a period where superhero comics are dealing with diversity in ways we haven’t seen in the past, and I think dealing with characters who aren’t neurotypical should be a part of that. Just like comics of the past have often relied on stereotypes about race, ethnicity, and religion to provide villains for their heroes, the same is overwhelmingly true of characters with mental illness. But for me, the best superheroes have always been ones that fight through their limitations to do amazing things, and I think it’s time we started treating mental illness with the same respect we now mostly show to things like race and ethnicity in comics.Grote, Dan. “Jeremy Whitley Talks Mental Health” WMQ Comics. 8 April 2019.
You can read the rest of this interview with Dan Grote, and more from the folks over at WMQ Comics. You can also find Dan hanging out online and getting excited about Wednesdays @danielpgrote.