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Marvel's "Inexorable Wasp" is a serious reminder of bipolar disorder



Jeremy Whitley has focused his career on breaking taboos and opening up popular culture. The comic book writer who has worked for Marvel, among others, launched the award-winning series Princeless in 2011, which depicts a young black princess who begins to question what it means to be a princess – and instead of waiting her charming prince, who saves her from captivity in a tower, exchanges her dress for armor and does something about the situation.

"I have two daughters, both of whom are colored women, and I wanted them to reflect on themselves in this fairytale where they often do not see themselves," Whitley told Men's Health . "And this kind of destruction has evolved over time into a bigger thing that's still going on."

His recent achievement brings a nuanced understanding of mental health, and in particular bipolar disorder, to Marvel's current Unstoppable Wasp series he writes. (Issue # 5 appeared recently and Issue # 6 will be released on April 1

0.)

The story tells of the unstoppable wasp herself, Nadia Van Dyne – you may have seen another version of the superhero movie in the movie from 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. A puzzling Avengers member who can change his size at will, and a women-led scientific center called G.I.R.L. (Genius in Action Research Labs), she is also the daughter of Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man. As it turns out in the series, she shares his bipolar disorder.

If you are unfamiliar with bipolar disorder, the mental illness associated with extreme mood swings is between highs ("mania") and lows ("depression"). It is also associated with a genetic risk .

Whitley had the idea of ​​engaging in mental illness in discussions with his editor Alanna Smith. "The presentation of mental illness in comics goes back to the 70s. There was less knowledge about bipolar disorders and how they affect people. We saw this opportunity to make a more up-to-date story, a very different kind of story than we felt out there, "says Whitley.

This story in comics is riddled with some unfortunate pictures." We wanted to make sure we did Do not bother us with [bipolar disorder] how many people are used to seeing from older comic media where someone is inherently bad or evil because they have a kind of mental disorder, "Whitley says Take Two-Face, who popular DC comic supervillain (and the enemy of Batman) who develops two personalities after a facial scar – one good, one evil, while Two-Face is widely referred to as bipolar disorder, this characterization is "more of a movie version of a dissociative identity disorder" as a scientific consensus on bipolar disorder and uses his illness as an explanation for his malice, the same way of thinking also contributed to earlier representations of Hank Pym, who had another villainous personality in Yellowjacket.

"I think there was a misunderstanding," says Whitley. "This is gross especially for people who really love comics and love superhero stories, but are struggling with mental illness themselves and only really see themselves as villains."

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A page from The Unstoppable Wasp Issue No. 5 appears to be seen by Nadia Van Dyne in a manic episode.

Marvel, Gurihiru [19659013] Unstoppable Wasp resolutely breaks up this misunderstood notion Nadia is a "happy, exciting and young character" in which readers can see themselves happy, writes the writer, and was also fascinated by another possibility. "Bipolar disorder bothers Being a Superhero In a very interesting way, superheroes are often expected to move beyond the healthy human boundary. It is to do things, to bring oneself into the space where it is physically and mentally exhausted and still on the top stands. This is very much in line with what someone who experiences a manic episode would do. "

Awareness of bipolar disorder has picked up as more and more public figures openly talk about their own suffering. Kanye West named bipolar disorder on his latest album Ye and Mariah Carey and [MariahCarey] . To avoid misrepresentation of the disorder, Whitley consulted with several experts, including psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as people who either have bipolar disorder or know someone who does.

Equally important is that Nadia is portrayed as a person who does not flee from her diagnosis, however, integrates it into her life – and seeks support even from her superpowers to get better. "I need help, I think I'm bipolar … and I do not think I can handle it alone," she says in a difficult moment in issue # 5.

"She has to wonder why Doing what she does Your family and friends must keep an eye on her because if she's determined and thinks this problem fixable, she'll stay awake for weeks, she will not sleep until it's done, I think that's one very reliable thing, what we expect from superheroes, and what people start with in their real lives, "adds Whitley, including his own life." I know myself and other creative people often have to deal with things, and you have to find out At whatever point your work is your hobby, and perhaps you should leave the house and relate to other people. "

Whitley hopes readers who deal with mental illness will be more supportive feel like being burdened by history. "Nadia is still a hero even in her worst condition," he says. "I think it's a very heroic thing to admit that you're outdone and need someone who knows what he's doing."

Marvel is no stranger to putting provocative social issues out of a progressive stance. The X-Men are often read as a metaphor for the civil rights movement and the rights of LGBTQ. Unstoppable Wasp is another step forward. "This is a legacy that goes back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby," says Whitley. "I am very proud to be a small part of this heritage."


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