|Me, Alec Frazier, at Marvel Entertainment|
We were met at Marvel by Jon Ennis, the Director of Business Development for Marvel Entertainment. He escorted us through the halls filled with original art, and into the Spider-Man Conference Room, which contains two life-sized figures of Spider-Man, and several large figurines of his supporting cast and villains. We were joined by Darren Sanchez, the editor of Marvel responsible for custom content.
For a while, we shot the breeze about what we liked about Marvels work, and how we got into it. After a while, I brought up the review I mentioned earlier, and Jon and Darren mentioned that they had read it. I pointed out that the autistic population is the fastest-growing disability, and one of the largest. We also mentioned that the disability population is the largest minority in the world, a fact that many people do not realize. We also pointed out some of the other successful work that Marvel has done with disabilities in the past, such as Matt Murdock, the first Daredevil, Professor X, and even Hawkeye. I also pointed out that having an autistic character in the Netflix show Daredevil for the hero to mentor would be a wonderful idea. At one point, Jd even brought out my book, and insisted that I have great qualities as a writer. This is a rough draft of the book Veni! Vidi! Autism! In which this essay appears. I had never seen a physical copy of the book yet, and we were all very impressed to hold it in our hands.
Our key mission was to make Marvel Entertainment aware of this large market. Darren mentioned that he had created some characters with disabilities as part of his projects in the past, and often worked with disability rights advocates. At that point, I mentioned my firm, Autistic Reality, and what we do, including but not limited to public speaking, lobbying, consulting, and peer advocacy. I also warned against working with radical organizations on either side of the spectrum such as Autism Speaks and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, both of whom tend to do more harm than good. We also asked that Marvel keep us in mind for Comicon panels on diversity and disability.
Darren and Jon appreciated all of this information, and definitely agreed that there are stories to be told, as well as an untapped market. In particular, they agreed with me that having a character around Tim Urichs age, between 15 and 25, would be amazing as they could show personal development and growth in the character as an autistic individual. All of us agreed that identity politics have the potential to tear us apart, and that autism is incidental to identity, and not the absolute primary focus, just as I had pointed out in Without Fear.
At the end of the meeting, we agreed to be in touch, and my boss and I were allowed to take some photos for publicity. Having a meeting with Marvel Entertainment, whom I have adored and appreciated since the age of five, is already beyond my wildest dreams. I get the distinct feeling that something will come of this meeting, although we do not quite know what. This is already a dream come true, and I already know that it will lead to furtherance of disability visibility in the media!
This blog posting is both the personal opinion of Alec Frazier, and the professional policy of his advocacy firm, Autistic Reality. If you oppose it, please screen grab it! We are very proud of this opinion!