Remember all those times when Lois Lane couldn’t understand where Clark Kent was running off to? Secret identities have been the crux of superhero struggles since the inception of comics. Time and again we’ve seen comic book heroes grapple with misunderstanding from those around them (Professor X’s school, anyone?) and balance the need to blend in with being true to themselves. That’s why it’s really no leap at all to envision invisible disabilities, like Asperger’s Syndrome, in a similar way.
In New York city, a homeless woman with Asperger’s Syndrome has created a comic exploring the identities and struggles of high school seniors on the spectrum, entitled An Invisible Disability.
Ms. Hawkins had always found escape in drawing comics. And she had talent. An eighth-grade teacher made one of her cartoons into T-shirts for the whole class. She got into Art and Design High School and then briefly attended Pratt Institute. As an adult, she did fewer drawings after she smuggled her portfolio into a comics convention and pushed it into the hands of the legendary Stan Lee. He never called.
Hawkins’ comic, Asperger’s Syndrome: An Invisible Disability, will be on display at the New York Public Library through this Friday, December 30.