10 Epic Characters With Disabilities and DisordersJanuary 29, 2015
I recently read a Tumblr post where someone claimed that a certain blind character wasn’t disabled because, basically, they were too awesome to be considered “disabled”. Fun fact: characters can have disabilities and be epic, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. You don’t have to separate a character from their disability to be able to see them as “cool” or “badass”. To shine some light on the matter, I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite characters who live with either mental or physical disabilities and disorders.
Hiccup and Toothless – How To Train Your Dragon
Toothless’ left tail-fin was damaged after Hiccup shot him down, while Hiccup loses his left leg during the battle with the Red Death. Eventually, prostheses are built for each of their missing limbs. Their disabilities actually bring them closer as a team. Toothless can’t fly for very long on his own because he needs Hiccup to maneuver his tail-fin prosthetic from the saddle, and while Hiccup can travel through Berk with relative ease, Toothless helps him get around quickly and explore beyond the island.
Toph – Avatar: The Last Airbender
Toph was born blind and hidden away by her parents, who thought her blindness made her fragile and unable to care for herself. Over the years she learned to see using her earthbending, detecting people and objects through the vibrations of the earth. By the time she met Team Avatar at age 12, she was the reigning champion of Earth Rumble VI. She would go on to invent metal bending and become the founder of the metal bending police force of Republic City. Bottom line: you don’t wanna mess with Toph Beifong.
Hawkeye – Marvel Comics
Hawkeye has actually been rendered deaf… twice now I think, and he remains so for the most part in the comics. He uses hearing aids, sign language or lip reading to understand people around him, communicating back with either sign language or normal speech. Unfortunately, he’s so good at this that some people often forget he can’t hear them. Including Spider-Man and Deadpool. …Especially Spider-Man and Deadpool.
Teo – Avatar: The Last Airbender
Son of the Mechanist, Teo lost the use of his legs when he was just a child after a flood forced his village to relocate to the Northern Air Temple. His father builds him a special glider – which doubles as his wheelchair – that allows him to soar through the skies and perform all kinds of aerial acrobatics. Teo also helps his father build some of his inventions, and he pilots an earthbending-powered tank into battle during the Day of Black Sun.
Cloak – Marvel Comics
Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak grew up with a chronic stutter that he’s always struggled to master, and that prevented him from speaking up to help save his friend’s life as a child. When using the Darkforce as Cloak, his stutter vanishes, but when his cloak is removed and he returns to human form he reverts to his stutter.
Agent Leo Fitz – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After the events of the season one finale, Fitz suffered brain damage and fell into a coma. Although he eventually woke up, the results left him with aphasia. This language disorder made it incredibly difficult for him to communicate with the SHIELD team, and he withdrew to the point where he started hallucinating someone he could communicate with.
Kukaku Shiba – Bleach
Leader of the Shiba clan, Kukaku is a violent and hilariously aggressive master of fireworks. She’s physically strong, insightful and smart, and has access to powerful explosives. She also happens to be missing her right arm (in the anime she wears a prosthetic limb), but that never stops her from using a sword or punching her irritating brother in the face.
Silhouette – Marvel Comics
Perhaps a lesser-known Marvel character, Silhouette is a Darkforce wielder and member of the New Warriors. A bullet ruptured her spine and rendered her paraplegic, and since then she’s used braces to get around. Silhouette can teleport over small distances by using the Darkforce dimension to travel through shadows, and she uses her braces as weapons in combat.
Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen, and other Victors – The Hunger Games
Considering The Hunger Games are so gruesome and terrifying, it’s no wonder most if not all of the Victors suffer from some form of PTSD (not to mention the physical scars). Haymitch’s trauma results in his alcohol abuse, Annie is rendered mentally unstable after her Games, Finnick temporarily develops a nervous habit and some emotional numbness, and Katniss and Peeta both experience flashbacks and nightmares. The interesting thing is that none of these characters just suddenly “get better” – their trauma and symptoms are things they have to deal with throughout the books and films while they’re trying to lead a rebellion.
Barbara Gordon – DC Comics
After the events of The Killing Joke, former Batgirl Barbara Gordon was paralyzed from the waist down. Even after the incident, she kept training in martial arts so she could still fight from her chair. She continues to be proficient with firearms and projectile weapons, and often keeps a pair of eskrima sticks stored in the armrests of her wheelchair just in case. As Oracle, she was also able to demonstrate even more of her incredible intellect, hacking skills and tech knowledge operating as the tech genius and for not only Batman, but also many other DC heroes.