By Sajida Ayyup
“It’s everything a Marvel hero is — from being able to invent things to inspire, and to not being stopped by any set of obstacles that get in your way.”
Marvel’s New Media VP of Development Sarah Amos, shared what a ‘textbook Marvel hero’ is during the premiere of Hero Project at NYCC 2019. The show, which is set to air on Disney+ on Nov. 12 this year, is about kids across the country who are changing the way our communities function. The team found 20 kids who are advocating their rights in various fields like identity, disability, environment, homelessness and more. Amos said that some of those who are featured in the episodes may have gotten press before, but the others were found through social media and word-of-mouth.
For comic book readers who have been following Marvel for a long time, seeing a real person inked on the pages is surely surreal. Though some of the copies have characters inspired from the MCU, creating a series of comics based on ‘real world heroes’ is an ode to expanding the Marvel Universe beyond the dimensions of words and visuals.
Marvel Entertainment VP of Creative and Content Development Stephen Wacker, reassures that everything in Marvel is connected. As a superfan himself who’s been reading comics for years, working on this project gave him an opportunity to accentuate the powers that the kids already have.
“The moment when they’re given a gift, they can do something selfish or something selfless,” Wacker said. “What they decided to do was something selfless.” He reminisced the famous quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility” and said that’s what all the kids on the show personify.
The team not only filmed a series about the young change-makers but also created a collector’s edition comic book featuring them as heroes with laboratories, building stations and other facilities that you might encounter in a comic book. Attendees of the NYCC panel on Saturday got lucky — they not only watched the entire first episode, but also got to interact with the hero under spotlight: Jordan Reeves, a 13-year-old disability rights activist and product designer who “shoots glitter from her arm” as some describe her.
Reeves was quietly sitting among the audience and walked up to the stage after the screening, proudly sporting the “Hero Project” jacket that resembled Carol Danvers’ in the movie, Captain Marvel. As everyone rose up for a standing ovation, she smiled at her mother who was sitting in the front row of the audience. She called her family heroes for constantly supporting her every day, including when she was “mean,” and for pushing her out of her comfort zone. Her book, Born Just Right recently released, she helped create Barbie with prosthetic legs and is currently working on a consulting project to help people create things that are accessible. Amos said Jordan celebrates the idea of unique differences, making that a superpower. “That’s what we’re all about. And that’s such an important message to share,” she added.
“We stand for what Marvel stands for,” Amos said.