A new team of superheroes shows children with disabilities how unstoppable they really are.
Team Supreme, an animated cartoon concept by Atlanta native Josh Leonard, features a cast of superheroes with disabilities who band together to take on various bad guys. Each member of Team Supreme has an individual superpower that makes them a key part of the group — and those powers are tied to their disabilities.
“I chose to focus on [kids with disabilities] because it hasn’t been done yet,” Leonard says. “It was simple for me, really. My cartoon is needed.”
Leonard was inspired to create Team Supreme after noticing that the children with disabilities in his life didn’t have superheroes that reflected their lives and resilience. He wanted these children, many of whom are the kids of his friends, to be able to see themselves and their experiences with disability reflected unapologetically in a cartoon.
“I wanted to create characters with an amazing, compelling story that was also cool enough to where the kids could not only relate to these characters, but also like and appreciate them,” Leonard writes on his website.
The main character of Team Supreme is an autistic boy named Zeek, who has the power to slow time down to a snail’s pace. His superpower is inspired by “splinter skills,” which allow some autistic people to retain large amounts of information in no time at all.
Leonard says this skill has always struck him as a real-life superpower.
Other members of Team Supreme include Thumper, who was born prematurely and has hearing loss; Shock, who was hit by a car and lost his arm; Li, who was born blind; Red, who lives with albinism; and Mech, who became paralyzed after surviving polio.
Each member of the team has a particular skill that hinges on their experience with their respective disability identity. Li, for example, has the power of supersonic hearing, though no eyesight. And Shock has a prosthetic arm that transforms into different tools to help him take on even the toughest of villains.
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