Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers applaud Archie Comics for introducing wheel-chair using character
On June 18, 2014, Archie Comics introduced its first disabled character, Harper, a wheelchair user. Harper is the cousin of Veronica Lodge, a staple character in the comic series. Her character was involved in a motor vehicle accident as young girl, and grows up to be a successful fashion designer – and perhaps a contender for the heart of Betty and Veronica’s beloved Archie.
Harper’s character is inspired by Jewel Kats, an award-winning Toronto children’s author, who has written a number of children’s books featuring characters with various disabilities. In a recent interview with CBC Radio, Kats revealed that she first approached Archie author Dan Parent with the idea of creating a disabled Archie character at the 2013 Toronto Fan Expo. The two then worked together to create a realistic and inspiring wheelchair using character. Kats described being driven by the need for children and young adults to see people similar to them reflected in the media, something that is lacking for children and young adults with disabilities.
According to Statistics Canada, nearly 1 in 10 working age Canadians aged 15 to 64) reported having a disability in 2012, and nearly one third of seniors aged 65 and older) reported having a disability. However, the representation in the media is not even close to proportionate. For example, the study Where We Are on TV Report: 2013 found that only one percent of regular characters on American broadcast television had a disability.
Media is a crucial tool in changing the public perception of people with disabilities, as well as people with disabilities’ own perception of themselves, particularly with young people. How refreshing to see the introduction of Harper into the world of Archie Comics!