Disability is not a dirty word. Sadly, many people still treat it like it is. Our society is in need of an education, a better understanding, and a complete attitude change when it comes to disabilities.
Thankfully, this has been recognized by an American character designer at Netflix (Joshua Leonard) who is the creator of a very different type of Superhero group: Team Supreme!
Team Supreme is comprised of a group of children whose disabilities double as their superpowers. Cartoons are a great way to educate the younger generation, especially when they are known to start watching them as early as 18 months old.
‘’I think people are afraid of what they don’t understand, and most people are ignorant to certain disabilities and it needs to be taught. What better way to do that than in a cartoon?’’
– Joshua Leonard
How It Began:
It wasn’t until Joshua heard about a co-worker’s son who had autism that he became infatuated with disabilities and superpowers. The young boy could recite the entire cast and crew of a Disney movie from memory after watching the credits.
‘’Growing up, I don’t remember seeing a cartoon with a child with special needs. I wanted to make the cartoon as realistic as possible as far as, these traits. This kid is just like you, you have superpowers as well.’’
– Joshua Leonard
Team Supreme was created out of Joshua’s frustration by the way diverse characters were being represented on television. This Superhero team is here to tell more inclusive stories. How about we meet the team?
Meeting Team Supreme:
The man behind the secret Team Supreme program. Think of him as today’s Dr. X from the X-men. Dr. Jackson suffers from depression and lives with epilepsy.
Jackson is the adoptive father of the team. Biological father to Zeek and Sweet Pea.
Superpower: Superhuman brain power
The main character and was born with Autism. You could think of him as the captain of the team.
He can sometimes have trouble engaging in social interactions but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to take part of have friends.
Loves: Puzzles, codes, and ciphers.
Superpower: Extreme memory & intellect. His mind sees everything in detail which can sometimes lead to a sensory overload and Zeek needs to take a break.
Li is an Asian American who was born blind. She is quite witty and very funny.
Superpower: Extremely quick, with super smell & other enhanced senses.
The youngest of the team and Zeek’s biological little sister. Sweet Pea has Sickle Cell disease. Joshua purposefully didn’t give her a physical disability in order to show the dynamic between 2 relatives (brother & sister) to show how this can affect the household.
Superpower: Melting other’s hearts. She can manipulate minds to make any person more loving, understanding & humble.
Mech was born with Spina Bifida. This is where the spine and spinal cord didn’t form properly. Mech is a wheelchair user.
Superpower: Curiosity, Mech loves to build gadgets and invent things to help Team Supreme.
Thumper was born early (premature) and this has affected his ability to hear.
Loves: Hip Hop music – he may not be able to hear it but he loves the feeling of the beet and vibrations.
Superpower: Synesthesia (power to see sound). He can feel vibrations & visualize conversations as well as impending danger.
The team is here to fight the ”bad guys” and to also help children deal with the struggles of daily life. There are people with the same disabilities/superpowers as the team who are advising and helping in the writing of the show. This is a process that Joshua has pushed for and believes is needed in order to tell their stories correctly.
Here at Uccello Designs, we hope to soon see Team Supreme on the television. The show is in development but has yet to be picked up by a network. Fingers crossed for you, Joshua. The world needs Team Supreme Right Now.