Autistic Head Canons: Do Autistic People Need a Superhero? Or Do We Have One Already?

Now, heres the thing: a superhero can galvanize and empower a still woefully untapped sector of American society, at least by Hollywood. (Black Panther, for example.) That is the same with autistic people, especially concerning the superhero genre.

 Or is it?

 I think we have an autistic superhero – or three. Stay with me and Ill explain.


 The first case for an autistic superhero is Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy. This stems from a story that a young boy with autism identified with Drax when it was revealed he does not understand metaphors. (Look up Nothing goes over my headfor a reference.) Now, since Drax is of an alien race, a diagnosis of autism may not apply as well. Maybe this trouble with metaphors is typical of Draxs species. After all, in the Cinematic Universe he is from a race called primitive.(Or so the other species think.) Anyway, some autistic people identify with him, so he counts.


The second case is Groot, also from Guardians of the Galaxy. He is often identified with nonverbal autistic people, due to his lack of verbiage. (Everything is I am Groot.) Anyway, since he is not canonically diagnosed as autistic, his case spreads a little thin, I must admit, yet his nonverbal tendencies helps some autistic people identify with him.


 The third, and only canonical, case for examination, is Billy Cranston, portrayed by RJ Cyler in the movie Power Rangers of 2017. Let me make it clear that it is not the TV Billy portrayed by David Yost. It is strictly given to the movie version. Now, this is an excellent, canonical representation of autism in the superhero genre. The first reason is obvious: Billys autism is canonical. The second reason? It is one of the few portrayals of autism by an African-American. Normally, the autistic person is portrayed by somebody white, and more often male. Trouble is, autism does not know or care what race or gender you are. Ive met many different types of autistic people. Finally, the autism Billy has seems to be accurate to a certain extent, but not representative of ALLautistic people. Nor does it have to be.

 Im glad that autistic people can find themselves a superhero. Its a great vehicle of empowerment.


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Autistic woman in her 40s, bringing attention to issues that affect her and her kind.

2 thoughts on “Autistic Head Canons: Do Autistic People Need a Superhero? Or Do We Have One Already?”

  1. I tend to head-canon at least two video game characters as being on the spectrum. The first is Sephiroth, the villain of Final Fantasy VII, who is shown in canon as having problems with interacting with people, is highly intelligent, has a relatively flat affect, and who tends to come across as socially deficient. Now, this could all be put down to him being a human-alien hybrid, except for one thing: the game Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, which shows two other such hybrid persons, who apparently have no such social difficulties. (There’s still the option of it being an artifact of being raised largely as a laboratory specimen – the other two were raised as “normal” kids). But I tend to head-canon Sephiroth as being on the autism spectrum (and also head-canon this as being part of the reason he survived his upbringing in the first place).

    My second video-game autie is the protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall Leonhart. He’s bad with people, he has trouble with processing emotional content, he has most of the symptoms of chronic depression, he has a fairly flat affect (even in the games where he’s animated, he has a flat affect), he has very few close friends, and he is noticeably different in attitude to his cohorts and comrades. I figure his being on the spectrum would explain a lot of this (even before you throw in the amnesia from Guardian Forces and the whole business with the time loops and such).

    So yeah, a couple of examples from video games. I should note: both of these characters rise to positions of power and influence in the military (Sephiroth is a General in the Shinra Armed Forces; Squall becomes the Commander of a private mercenary force, SeeD), so it gives a bit of a boost to the idea that people on the spectrum can do well in the wider world as well.

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