'Department of Ability' Comic Book Heroes Shoot Down Disability Stereotypes

PHOTO: When Dan White couldnt find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.Dan White
When Dan White couldn't find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.

Dads will do anything for their little girls.

So when Emily White, who was born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephlaus, was two years old, her dad realized something had to change.

"I scoured the numerous channels and magazine racks looking for characters that Emily could relate too, i.e. anyone with a disability. I found several, but they were always at the edge of the action, or had no real character to show off. I felt that TV and the general media was walking too much on eggshells," Dan White told ABC News.

And so the Department of Ability was created: Comic book heroes whose super powers lie in their disabilities.

"I decided each [character] had to show a visible disability," White said.

PHOTO: When Dan White couldnt find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.Dan White
When Dan White couldn't find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.

He said it was important for the heroes "not to lecture anyone or generate sympathy" so that the concept would remain accessible to a wide audience.

White didn't need to look far for his inspiration.

"Emily is the most fun,sporty, arty, loud, independent person I have ever known, she speaks her mind and engages everyone in conversation," he said.

Now nine years old, Emily uses a wheelchair. There's also Emily's friends who provide inspiration for the characters.

PHOTO: When Dan White couldnt find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.Dan White
When Dan White couldn't find super heroes to inspire his daughter, who has Spina Bifida, he decided to create his own.

"In the circles we move in we are surrounded by strong, fearless, independent, funny, powerful kids of all disabilities, and they were telling me they would like some proper representation and to be included in the media like TV and comics that they, like all kids, consume."

The purpose of the comic, White said, is to just to show that "disability is not scary, and that it is not awkward, the heroes just happen to be different and they utilize their superpowers to compete with any invading alien or crime boss."

The comic book is being printed by charity Strongbones, but White said the idea is getting such attention from media, celebrities and charities the world over that he's "struggling to keep up with it all."

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