Monday, December 19, 2016

Iron Man: Sound Effects ft. Sapheara

This comic called Iron Man: Sound Effects features a girl Samantha (Sapheara) who has cochlear implants. All throughout this comic, the drawings are a bit heavy on the cartoonish side. There are no facial marks or movements that suggest it could be anything realistic compared to Batman Year One or Superman Red Son. It was drawn to target younger children in my opinion because the language in the comic is very short, blunt, and expressing itself. There is not really any humor, satire, or inside jokes targeting adults. The tone of the comic shows color and loudness in the pictures. Bright colors and light tend to attract children more. There is a lot of color in the pictures and a few fight scenes where light is being zapped to the bad guys. I feel like it suits the plot of the story because characters like Sapheara and Blue Ear, appearing before her, were created because a 4-year old boy named Anthony didn’t want to wear his hearing aids because superheroes don’t wear them.
This story was written as a graphic novel because, as stated above, Anthony didn’t feel that hearing aids were important because the superheroes that he admired so well didn’t wear them. How was he supposed to feel welcome or accepted? I feel that this was written as a comic book because superheroes appeared mostly in comic books so that was obvious place to start. In class, we talked about how kids were attracted to comic books and most parents thought comic books were for kids. This was probably why Sapheara was made into a comic book because it was targeted for kids. I think it would lose the lasting impression on the comic world if it was translated into something besides a comic book. Take a movie for example. If it was a movie, everything would go by at a fast pace and you’d have little control in revisiting the story without starting it over or skipping scenes. As a comic book, people can keep it on one page for a while, they can re-read frames and texts over again. They could get the whole picture of the comic and have it ready whenever they needed or wanted it.
Sapheara does well to portray the ethics of being a superhero. She steps up to help in a time of need and doesn’t get weighted down by her being hearing-impaired. To be a villain means that you would put other down. You degrade their life because they don’t fit the image that you have in your mind. You cause destruction. She doesn’t flaunt her abilities at all. She doesn’t think she has a disability. She embraces who she is and uses her confidence to help save the day. Sapheara is a pretty important character in the world of comics because it shows that not every superhero is hearing. Not every superhero looks the same or has a good life. I think it’s great that it targets more of the younger kids because they might not necessarily catch that superheroes struggle in Batman Year One or something like the mutants in X-Men being outcasts. Sapheara is a girl AND she is a young daughter, probably in her teens. I think that she doesn’t play by the same role of the rest of the known superheroes like Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. The closest would be Kamala from Ms. Marvel but even Kamala is the same because she can hear. Sapheara is a role model for Deaf, hard of hearing or any hearing-impaired person.
I want to look at two frames in this story. The first one is where Samantha, Sapheara, goes to a fancy dinner to watch Tony Stark promote headphones that encrypt signals the are free moving in the sound waves in the air to transform the signals into a holographic music video. She is placed with a group of teenage actors her age and before she gets there she over hears them say, “Is this thing on?” “Shhh! That’s so mean!” “So? She can’t hear me.”, making fun of the device Tony speaks into to help Samantha hear. She says to herself, “If they’re so good at acting… How come they can never act nice?” I was to point out that she didn’t say “Be nice.” She says they can’t act nice. That tells me that this has happened to her before and she doesn’t even care that they are being rude. The thing she focuses on is the fact that they can’t even hide their jokes while she is still around. That shows her maturity because she knows that people don’t understand or they are rude, or sometimes both. She shows that Deaf people do have feelings.

Another passage I want to look at is later in the story where she realizes that she has activated her powers. Her power is, when she touched an alien pink crystal in a lab, she harnessed the power to manipulate light energy. Once she shows her powers she is ready to fight the bad guys who have crashed Tony’s revealing. Iron Man tries to stop her but she says in a long passage, “Are you kidding? All my life people have underestimated me, as if I wasn’t capable just because I wasn’t exactly like them. This is my chance to show I can do so much more than anyone ever imagined.” As cliché as this is, this is powerful enough because she sends a message to anyone who feels that they are different or have been treated differently. She doesn’t need to conform to the images of other people, she’s finally free and confident enough to do what she wants to do, without fear of rejection- show that she really is capable of doing something important. So, she goes out and kicks butt, appropriate for children, and is treating right in the end.

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