Disabled or Mislabeled: Comics and Graphic Novels About Disabilities Bibliography

This is a brief break from my regular program posts. The below bibliography is from the panel I was part of at New York Comic Con. It’s not a complete bibliography, but my fellow panelists and I wanted to share some of the things we found while working on the panel.

Mental Illness

Bechdel, Alison           Fun Home

Bradshaw, Hannah     Dark Early

Brick                            Depresso

Brosh, Allie                  Hyperbole and a Half

Cunningham, Darryl    Psychiatric Tales

Forney, Ellen              Marbles, Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me

Green, Justin               Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary

Leavitt, Sarah              Tangles

Powell, Nate                Swallow Me Whole

White, Tracy                How I Made it to Eighteen

Will, Elaine                  Look Straight Ahead

Williams, Ian                The Bad Doctor


Superheroes with Disabilities

Blue Ear and Sapheara – hearing impaired (Marvel) – Blue Ear was created in honor of Anthony Smith, a hard of hearing four year old comic fan

Cannan – Synesthesia

Daredevil – Blind

Echo – Deaf

Hawkeye – Deaf

Michaela Watch – Blind – Blood Blockade Battlefront

Mimori Togo/ Sumi Washio – Wheelchair

Professor X – wheelchair

Toph Befong – Blind  – Avatar the Last Airbender


Frazier, Alec. Without Fear: The First Autistic Superhero


Non- Superheroes With Physical Disabilities

Bell, CeCe. El Deafo (self – deaf)

Chmakova, Sveltana. Awkward (Mrs. Thompson – wheelchair)

Davison, Al. The Spiral Cage (Self – spina bifida)

Hotta, Yuti. Hikaru No Go (Hikaru – Autistic)

Kats, Jewel. Ditzabled Princess (self)

Kohske. Gangsta (Nic -deaf)

Leka, Kaisa. I am Not These Feet (self – amputee)

Oima, Yoshitoki. Silent Voice (Shoko -deaf)

Stevens, Eric. Skateboard Sonar (Matty – blind)

Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona (Lord Ballister Blackheart – amputee)


Manga Characters with Disabilities


Akira –  Samurai Deeper Kyo

Hinoto – X

Kakei Jubei – Get Backers

Kaname Tousen – Bleach

Madoka Otowa –  Get Backers

Mamoru Hijikata – Until Death Do Us Part

Michaela Watch – Blood Blockade Battlefront

Motoko Kusanagi – Cybernetic Body

Sara – Samurai Champloo

Usui –  Rurouni Kenshin

Yomi – YuYu Hakusho

Yuan – Samurai Deeper Kyo

Zaphikel – Angel Sanctuary


Wheelchair User

Hazama Rei – DOUBT

Kakinomoto Karen – Limited Lovers

Sylvette Suede – Tegamibachi

Teo – Avatar the Last Airbender



Allen Walker – D-Gray Man

Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist

Kuukaku Shiba- Bleach

Neko Onna – Adekan

Sesshoumaru- Inu Yasha

Shanks – One Piece

Vash the Stampede – TRIGUN



Hikaru- With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child



Readings on the Subject of Disabilities in Comic Books


Alaniz, Jose. Death. Disability, and the Superhero.


Biklen, D. and Bogdan, R. “Media Portrayals of Disabled People: A Descriptive Study.”


Birge, Sarah. “No Life Lessons Here: Comics, Autism, and Empathetic Scholarship.”

Comer, Todd A. “The Hidden Architecture of Disability: Chris Ware’s Building Stories.”


Ilea, Ramona. “The Mutant Cure or Social Change: Debating Disability” in X-Men and Philosophy.


Irwin, Marilyn and Moeller, Robin “Seeing Different: Portrayals of Disability in Young Adult Graphic Novels.”


Irwin, Marilyn and Moeller, Robin. “Seeing the Same: A Follow-Up Study on the Portrayals of Disability in Graphic Novels Read by Young Adults.”


Kats, Jewel Michelle. “Ditzabled Princess: a New Disability Comic.”


Lewis, E. “Minorities in Comics 1 of 7: 10 Comic Characters with Disabilities.”


McGrail, Ewa and Rieger, Alicja. “Increasing Disability Awareness through Comics Literature.”


NPR Staff. “El Deafo: How a Girl Turned Her Disability into a Superpower.”


Waldman, Katie. “Patterns and Panels: How Comics Portray Psychological Illness.”

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