Stories from the brainreels: Talking Crip Comics with Sabine Rear and Arianna Warner

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(Podcast audio is at the bottom of this post.)

Alert! If you happen to be in Olympia, Washington October 1st and 2nd, you have the distinct privilege of finding Sabine Rear at the Olympia Zine Fest. Buy some zines, chat with her about zines, and on Sunday, go to her workshop called Disability & Zines! Please go for me and tell me how it was. I know it’s short notice, but I’m thinking back to the early days of this blog when I regularly wrote about disability film festivals about three months after they had happened. Calendars are real! I will one day understand them!

In this episode, we’re talking about comics and disability. This is what’s at the center:  disabled comics creators, creators who make accessible comics, and disabled comics readers. Although we talk about non-disabled people’s strange obsession with diagnosing comics characters based on, I guess, nothing, non-disabled comics readers are not the center of our conversation. However, we acknowledge they exist, and they are valuable people too. Disability is too often left at the margins, but not always. Take Comics Empower, a comics-selling website designed for people using screen reader and adaptive technology. If you’re sighted and want to see a website that looks like most websites, you are the one who has to click a link to get to the adapted (visual) side of the website. Otherwise, it’s auditory. In an age where even websites that are mandated by federal law to be accessible usually aren’t, this is a breath of very fresh, criptastic air! Read an interview with Comics Empower’s founder on Vice.com.

The zine world is also a place where disability comes up a lot. At a time when non-disabled people often think of healthcare, services, support, and accessibility provided by non-disabled helpful people the moment the topic turns to disability, we still need more, more, more work created from disability community that explains that there are other things going on besides therapies and rehabs. Yes, there’s peer support, which can be therapeutic and is crucial for many people. There’s also cooking, crafts, not being able to get out of bed, clouds, cats, jobs, and well, everything actually. Check out the article on Dazed Digital highlighting a number of zines that do not center non-disabled people and their desires for disabled people, including a positivity guide called “Shit’s Fucked.” I can’t even. Because I’m nodding my head in agreement to the point of dizziness. And because I am laughing and crying at the same time at that zine’s title.

Check out my guests work on their websites:  Sabine at michaelsabine.com and Arianna at ariannawarner.com.

Black and white drawing of chunky, bejeweled sunglasses by M. Sabine Rear.

Arianna's legs covered in temporary tattoos of the universal wheelchair access logo. On the ground lie temporary tattoos of the figure without the wheelchair and words "invisible disabilities." The figure's body takes the place of the first "i" in "invisible."

Click this sentence for an accessible transcript of podcast episode 054. (Please note, it is coming out before episode 053. Apologies for the confusion that is sure to cause.)