The Marvel and DC Comic Universes are genuinely excellent as they provide readers and movie-goers with entertainment and hope. With a vast variety of different characters, fans are bound to have a favourite hero or villain that is relatable to them in some way. Super-fans will then follow the character's story as if it is a friend or idol.
If there are characters for everyone, what about wheelchair users? Allow us to refresh you on superhero history. We are glad to present, Tecla's Top 3 Superheroes who Kick Butt from their wheelchair.
1. Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X)
The original mutant and the founder of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (later named the Xavier Institute) from the X-men Trilogy. Throughout the series of stories in the Marvel Universe, this character sets a gold standard for leadership, positive influence, power, and knowledge. To shorten his elaborate backstory, he developed paraplegia by the hands of his best friend, who becomes his sworn enemy, Incognito. His superhuman powers include that he is telepathic and has the strongest psychic powers out of all the X-Men.
2. Oracle (Barbara Gordon/ Batgirl):
Otherwise known as Barbara Gordon (related to Commissioner Jim Gordon) or Batgirl. Barbara becomes paralyzed after she was shot by the Joker. She then uses a wheelchair and other assistive technology to become a Batman's technical advisor, computer expert and information broker, reinventing herself as Oracle.
Her first superpower as Batgirl was her super-athletic ability, but after her incident, her superpower changed to super-intelligence. With this strength, she chooses to oversee crime-fighting missions from her mega-computer.
As time passes, she becomes the leader of a girl squad including the famous Harley Quinn as one of her members. This group is known as the Birds of Prey. Sound familiar? Well, that's because DC is creating a movie about the girl fighter unit, set to be released with Margot Robbie as the lead character in 2020. Unfortunately, the role of Oracle will not be in the feature film. The absence of her character is one of the many examples of the under-representation of disability in Hollywood. We definitely could dive deeper into this topic, but let’s save that conversation for another time.
Fun fact: At Tecla, we call our support system Oracle!
3. Ramp Man:
Writers did not create this superhero in Hollywood. Instead, Ramp Man was self-made. You will not find him in Marvel or DC Comic books but instead will see his videos on YouTube as he zooms through the streets of downtown Toronto, Ontario.
Much like how Superman has an alter ego named Clark Kent, so does Ramp Man but his name is Luke Anderson. Luke developed his powers after a mountain biking injury that changed his life forever. With an engineering background, he has the superpower of knowledge and super sight to see accessibility problems and build their solutions. The initiative he is known for is named #StopGap, which is a charity that raises awareness about the importance of accessibility, inclusion, and a barrier-free society.
Though the other three superheroes are pretty cool, our favourite is Ramp Man. We chose this character because he is real, and can motivate all of us. Many people do not realize the constraints city design can have on those with mobility impairments. One step may be nothing for many but can be the most significant obstacle for others. It isn't until you experience life in their shoes that you see the lack of accessibility features in the world. Whether it is access to technology or into your favourite restaurant, be aware of the space around you. If something is not equally accessible, be inspired by Ramp Man and make the changes necessary.
With access to technology, anything is possible. At Komodo Open Lab, our founders wanted to break the barrier of the digital divide and allow those with limited upper body mobility to access smart devices with ease. The tecla-e not only provides equal access to unlimited information on the Internet but also enables users to go about their day much like everyone else. In comparison to Oracle, the powers of the superhero and device are very similar. The difference is that the tecla-e allows for freedom since the device is portable and can be attached to the back of a wheelchair. Moreover, be inspired to start your Birds of Prey, but rather than lead your squad from behind a computer like Oracle, immerse yourself in action with the tecla-e by your side.
- 9 Surprising Things Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad
- iPhone and iPad accessibility options for quadriplegics and other users with limited mobility
- 4 Ways Quadriplegics Can Use An Ipad or iPhone
- Siri vs iOS Switch Control for hands-free iPhone access
- Using iPad AAC apps with switch control for speech and motor impairments
Learn more about tecla-e!