Okay, been meaning to do this for a while, but had to get to a spot where we had a little time to weigh the options.
I’m assuming most of the people reading this particular tumblr know who Oracle is, but just in case, she’s the DCU’s primary infojock. She is the daughter of Commissioner James Gordon, and was Batgirl for a number of years. In the graphic novel, A KILLING JOKE, the Joker shot her in the spine, causing permanent paralysis, and since then, she has been a hero, as well as the leader of the superheroine espionage team, the Birds of Prey.
In that capacity, she works mostly out of a home base, currently, KORD TOWER in Gotham City. But she does get out and about, and in both cases, she uses a wheelchair.
Now, she was never supposed to have a high tech, flying battleship wheelchair, as Professor X and the Chief from Doom Patrol are sometimes shown to have. It doesn’t fit her character.
But she does go out among the people and when she does, she used the plainest, least obtrusive wheelchair possible. The in-story reasoning, which I didn’t come up with but can certainly understand, was that her chair was suppose to not be noticeable, to not draw any attention.
Also, she never has handles on the back of her chair, because she doesn’t like to be pushed.
Now, over the years and the course of many, many appearances, she’s had like eight million different chairs, mostly generic, but some a little ridiculous, and quite a few very obsolete in appearance. Unobtrusive is one thing, but some of these chairs looked like they came from the 1700’s.
What I want to, and it’s way past time, is to update her chair, and to make it a consistent, reasonable design, that is still not hugely obtrusive.
I’ve talked with dozens of wheelchair users since taking over the book, and I am in regular contact with organizations that focus on the rights and access issues of the disabled, and I could just pick a new chair based on their recommendations. But I thought it might be interesting to get some opinions on it.
First, please, we don’t want a chair with hidden missile launchers. Oracle is not Professor X or the Baby Cart Assassin.
Other than that, we want something fairly light, functional, and modern. Expense is not an issue, but obtrusiveness is, she wouldn’t want anything that people will notice, in the same way that she doesn’t really dress to be noticed when going outside.
We want something maneuverable and versatile. Everything else is pretty much on the table.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, particularly if you use a wheelchair, or work with wheelchairs or people who use them, or otherwise have experience in this area.
What we end up with may be a hybrid of a few designs, but whatever we end up with, I will send to the various editors who use Oracle and ask them to follow as her style sheet.
I think this could be fun, and will help address something we should have taken care of some time ago.
So feel free to post thoughts, photos, links, whatever.
And thank you for your input!