CW Star Unveils Teen Superheroes with Disabilities
As a celebrity ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), I bring with me optimism and a message of empowerment wherever I travel to talk to kids who, like me, were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age. I hope to reassure them that they can live normal, healthy, successful lives and maybe inspire them to reach for the stars, while managing the chronic illness that we have in common. And I think that all starts with embracing our diagnoses as a gift – an integral part of who we are, what we do and what we become.
Earlier this year, I was finally able to put that message to good use by co-creating a comic book series, called The KINETIX, with two close friends of mine, Dave Maulbeck and Josh Taub. We mounted a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $11,000, then got to work crafting four separate origin stories for each member of our superhero team. After months of research and a lifetime full of experience living with an autoimmune disease, I am proud to say that The KINETIX inaugural comic books have been officially printed and are available for distribution!
The KINETIX tells the story of a group of unpopular students at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School (FDR High), who each have a different disability or chronic illness. Under the secret guidance of their mysterious teacher, Dr. Jamarcus Guttles, they come to realize they have the power to unlock special, superhuman abilities lying dormant within their own DNA. In other words, they are students by day and a team of superheroes by night! Their superpowers originate from the very disabilities and conditions that had previously marginalized them, supporting the series mantra that “our perceived weaknesses can be our greatest strengths.”
Let’s meet the characters… First, there’s Bobby Byers – a jock with Type 1 diabetes, who wears an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that electrify his body and turn him into the teenage super-cyborg, CYABETES! Bobby is inspired by all the kids I’ve met through my advocacy work with JDRF, and modeled after my own experience growing up with T1D. Then there’s Joules Joyner – a champion gymnast born without legs, who becomes our team leader, DEADLIFT, with superhuman arm strength and a retractable silk scarf as her weapon of choice! Daryl Dennis is an extremely talented artist with Autism Spectrum Disorder, whose full potential is unleashed as BRAINSTORM – giving him the ability to project anything he can imagine into the earthly realm! And last but not least is Rosario Richter – a photographer and social media wannabe “influencer” who is unable to hear or speak. She transforms into AFTERSHOCK, with a Vibration Force that lets her soar circles around the sinister! Under the tutelage of their teacher, guru Dr. Jamarcus Guttles, the group is able to fulfill its destiny by forming the evil-fighting superhero team known as The KINETIX.
This major release spotlights my lifelong desire to create and empower characters that have been traditionally sidelined in the mainstream comic book universe, and across the entertainment landscape, as a whole. I could not be more excited to finally introduce my virtual avatar, Bobby Byers, a.k.a. CYABETES, into the lexicon of classic sci-fi good guys! However, each of our four main characters has their own unique story to tell that’s just as important, and we cannot wait to finally get these comics out into the public eye. Through Bobby, Joules, Daryl, and Rosario, comes a new voice and platform for a community that deserves a better reflection in the art, entertainment and media world around us. And now that the comic books have officially been printed- we plan to ensure that they are primarily distributed to charitable and educational organizations, as well as popular comic book stores, libraries, schools, children’s hospitals, and other worthwhile venues. However, anyone with an internet connection can request a set of issues by messaging us on our Facebook homepage. Check us out on Instagram and Twitter.