New Comic Book ‘Raising Dion’ Features A Power-less Single Mom As The Superhero

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This is the coolest thing we’ve seen in the comic book world in a long time! Although we have to say there have been a lot of exciting developments such as Female Thor having breast cancer and Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur from Marvel Comics showing it is becoming more of a diverse industry than ever before.

A new comic book series called ‘Raising Dion’ does not hail from the Marvel Universe, instead it comes from an idea that is very familiar in the real universe: single moms as heroes for raising children on their own while also making ends meet.

Raising Dion was created by award-winning and critically acclaimed writer/director Dennis Liu whose work includes directing music videos for the likes of David Guetta and Sia, as well as commercials for Nickelodeon, Toyota and Microsoft.

An interesting fact about Dennis, which we think is a great precursor to this story, is that he is an active member of the Director’s Guild of America EDSC (Eastern Diversity Steering Committee). The goal of the EDSC is to increase the presence of female directors and directors of color and to also increase the presence of diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

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Here’s why we think that’s important, because Raising Dion is the story of a single mom, Nicole, with no super powers whatsoever, who is raising a son, Dion, who does in fact have super powers. We know in the title of this article we said she was “power-less” but let’s dig a little deeper at that statement. Nicole’s powers do not come from super natural ability like her Dion’s instead it comes from the every day decisions and actions she takes to raise her son to be healthy, happy and safe.

The fact that there is now a comic book giving kudos to all the heroic single moms out there is amazing! Dennis Liu, putting his director superpowers to work, created an awesome trailer for the series which you can view below. In it we see a number of ordinary scenarios between the mother (played by Upenda Morton) and son (played by Nyri Haywood), such as getting ready for school, walking in the park, conversing at the dinner table and hanging out with friends.

Another awesome factor about this series is both protagonists are people of color, something we need more of in not just the comic book world but in entertainment in general. Just the fact that Dennis has chosen to flip the script on gender and race norms in comic books shows there is no reason other bigger companies can’t do the same and still make the story interesting and captivating.

In an interview with Fusion, Raising Dion artist Jason Piperberg says Nicole is portrayed as the real superhero through the way she protects her son from not allowing his superpowers to overwhelm him.

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“Traditionally in comics and really most stories, the protagonist is the one with the powers. You see the world through the eyes of the character with all the abilities usually because they are immediately the most exciting and/or interesting person in the story,” he said.

Creator of the series Dennis told Fusion he spoke with actual single mothers as research and also drew upon the examples of both Batman and Superman’s human parents for inspiration on how a mother would raise a son with powers she does not possess.

“If these key parental figures did not raise these superheroes correctly, then who knows what Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne would have become? Parents instill a value system,” he said on the reason single mom Nicole is the real hero.

Stacia Brown at the Washington Post seems in awe of the positioning of a single mom being the hero, for a very personal reason.

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“If I claim to be a superhero, then my true identity — the one defined by my candor and vulnerability — would be something I’ve agreed to hide. When asked how I manage unmarried motherhood, I have a few responses: by the skin of my teeth, a wing and a prayer, the favor of God, dumb luck. ‘Superpowers’ never occur to me,” she begins.

“When Dennis Liu’s new comic book series, “Raising Dion,” made waves with the debut of an incredible trailer featuring a black single mother, Nicole, and her superpowered 7-year-old, Dion, I was thrilled,” she added.

The first issue, available for download for free, gives an interesting and candid back story to Nicole and Dion’s situation. It starts with a flash back to 2009, when Nicole first meets Mark, Dion’s dad. She’s hung-over, having gone clubbing before heading into work as a receptionist at Biona, where Mark is a researcher. The story tracks the first year of her relationship with Mark, and subsequently her unplanned pregnancy. What would normally be seen as taboo or “shameful” according to Jeb Bush, now becomes the basis of a different sort of power that often gets overlooked in society because of dominant norms.

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For Nicole, it’s not her past that defines her, it is how she raises Dion.

“Being a single parent is already one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But when your son has superpowers that’s a whole new set of problems,” she says in the first issue.

Single motherhood is not the only complexity discussed in this series. Race is also touched upon in a subtle way shown as a “super power”. Nicole often scolds Dion for using his powers in public and regularly keeps him in check. Charles Pulliam-Moore at Fusion writes that this is a unique way to bring up the race issue.

“Raising Dion engages with the ideas surrounding superhumans, parenting, and race in a novel way by drawing heavily from the idea of ‘The Talk’ that many parents of color feel necessary to have with their kids about race. Nicole’s insistence that Dion not use his powers in public speaks both explicitly to his being an actual superhuman, and implicitly to the way that the world sees him because of his race,” he writes.

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Artist Jason Piperberg also emphasized that “the talk” is a real thing that parents still have to have, and some people may not realize this, including himself.

“I think it’s really important to step out of my bubble of privilege to see what’s really going on. To discover and look at injustices that have been swept under the rug, or worse, accepted as the norm by society,” he said.

Which is why this comic book is going to really hit a home run in many respects, in our opinion. But you don’t need to just take our word for it, be sure to download the first digital issue, support Dennis and the cause for more diverse comics by buying the print copy for $4.00, and check out the trailer below.

“The most important thing about raising a superhero, is learning how to become one first,” says mom Nicole at the end of the video. Certainly fitting for a heroic new story that positions what society normally considers the underdog or invisible as heroic.


 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Pingback: 'The Adventures Of Moxie Girl' - A Comic Book About A Young Black Girl With A Magical Afro - GirlTalkHQ

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