No one ever said being a single mother was easy, but raising a child with superpowers takes things to a whole other level.
That is the premise for Raising Dion, a new comic book that focuses on Nicole, a widowed, African American mother, and the challenges she faces in bringing up her son Dion – a seven-year-old who can become invisible in an instant, teleport, or use telekinesis to move objects.
To study Dion’s progress Nicole films her son around the clock, with the help of her late husband’s best friend, Pat. She guides Dion as he learns how to control his superpowers, making sure he doesn’t use his special abilities to sneak cookies or use the iPad before he’s done with his schoolwork, and banning him from using them in public. But she is not the only one watching Dion – mysterious men are tailing him too.
“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to raise a superhero?” Nicole asks in a trailer for the comic book. “How do you give him a normal childhood? How do you protect him from the world?”
Some of those questions apply equally to parents of color who are not raising a superhero. Dennis Liu, the writer of the comic book, said he did not set out to write a story reflective of minority parental concerns, but that he thought it was “great that people are reading in multiple levels of the story”.
Raising Dion comes at a time of high demand for more diversity in superhero stories. Liu said he wanted to write a comic with a “strong female protagonist”, but he also wanted to tell a story through the eyes of a parent because a common trope in superhero stories is that the parents die.
“I always thought it’d be interesting to do Batman but from the point of view of Alfred,” Liu said in an email, referring to Bruce Wayne’s butler. “What if Alfred doesn’t do it right? Or Superman from [his mother] Martha Kent’s point of view. If she doesn’t do it right, what will he become?”
The first issue of Raising Dion is available for free on Liu’s website. Liu said the second issue might focus on Biona, the lab where Nicole and her late husband Mark worked, and where scientists study child prodigies.
Liu said at Biona, Nicole meets an Asian-American 10-year-old girl who can throw 50 footballs with pinpoint accuracy. She also meets a Latino boy who plays a difficult Bach concerto on the violin.
“My point is, we need to subvert several stereotypes,” Liu said. “Asians are not always model minorities and can be athletic, and boys can play what would be considered a feminine instrument in school, etc. The story is not all about diversity, but it’s an important part.”
Source: The Guardian