Anonymous asked: Do you give much thought to how mentally ill people are depicted in comics? I find that too often they're stereotyped as violent and dangerous villains, and writers use outdated or incorrect terms to describe them. It's hard to find positive portrayals of people dealing with mental illness.
Yeah, I’ve written about this a lot. One of the pillars of the industry, which is a little bit shameful, is that not just mental illness, but really any kind of abnormality, makes a person evil. If a person is mentally ill, they’re a killer. If they are malformed in some way, they’re a supervillain.
I don’t think the answer is to completely ditch the possibility of villains with mental illnesses. I think there are two answers here that will mitigate this tremendously.
First, don’t just say, “Oh, that guy’s a psycho.” Try to present a modern, more balanced point of view, even if it’s in passing, even if it’s just flash exposition. By which I mean, don’t demonize mental illness itself, don’t make that someone’s origin. When possible, maybe try to show some sympathy with the struggle that made that person a villain. Humanize it.
And second, and this is maybe even more important, show balance in portrayals. You have to show that heroes can struggle with mental illness as well, and citizens, and supporting characters. If we show that, if we show Rose and Thorn being heroic or, even Deadpool, in a meaningful way WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING that they are mentally ill, then we reinforce some important messages.
So I’m kind of hopeful for the future, but there’s still a lot of ignorant crap out there.