Downtown lecture examines role of disabled in comic books

February 11, 2013

How many "disabled" superheroes can you name? If you have to stop after Professor X, you are not alone. Surprisingly, the tradition of superheroes with disabilities goes back several decades.

Cheree Carlson’s “Everybody Needs a Hero: Imagining Super Dis/Ability” will continue the spring 2013 Humanities Lecture series, which is hosted by ASU’s Down School of Letters and Sciences on the Downtown Phoenix campus. The one-hour presentation starts at noon, Feb. 13 at the University Center, 411 N. Central Ave., room 317. The lecture series is free and open to the public. Download Full Image

“The subject is important precisely because comic books are a kind of text that we tend to take for granted,” said Carlson, a professor in the School of Letters and Sciences. “Although dismissed as something read by either the very young or the very nerdy, they are in fact the essence of popular culture. Their contents not only reflects societal attitudes but the also play a role in shaping them.”

The lecture is part of Project Humanities spring kickoff series, “Heroes, Superheroes, and Superhumans,” Feb. 10-16 to examine what constitutes heroes and heroism in pop culture and everyday life. Covering everything from comics to power struggles, the week will feature conferences, keynote addresses, and film screenings and panel discussions with faculty, students and community members across disciplines.

“Certain individuals and their acts and behaviors capture our attention and seem almost transcendent and beyond the everyday. Whether through behaviors or actions – imagined or real – our fascination with comics, animation, digitalization and technology, our awareness of heroes and heroism lends itself to diverse and impactful critical conversations,” said Neal A. Lester, associate vice president for humanities and arts in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and director of Project Humanities.

“Our everyday lives are full of acts of courage and bravery. Heroism is about doing something for other people. The superhero is the extension of that.”

For more information on Project Humanities and the “Heroes, Superheroes and Superhuman” series, visit

For more information on the spring 2013 Humanities Lecture Series, call Mirna Lattouf at 602-496-0638 or email her at

Reporter , ASU Now


Design team competition yields vibrant new design for Mesa youth museum

February 11, 2013

Interactome, a team of architecture, landscape architecture, visual communication and industrial design students from The Design School in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts won the 2013 Cluster Project competition with a redesign of the exterior of the Arizona Museum for Children that gives the otherwise nondescript former Basha’s grocery store the wow factor museum board members and staff wanted.

“'Wow,' 'spectacular' and 'amazing' are just a few of the words to describe the incredible range of ideas and inspiring creativity displayed by these students,” said Arizona Museum for Youth Executive Director Sunnee O’Rork, executive director of the Arizona Museum for Youth how called i.d.e.a. in keeping with its new image and more focused mission. “As we viewed the videos they submitted, we were overwhelmed, inspired and completely engaged in their thinking. There are so many ideas that we’d love to incorporate into the new museum but the winning team’s work really stood out for us.” Team Interactome won the 2013 Cluster Project competition that challenged student design teams to come up with suggestions to revitalize the Arizona Museum for Youth in downtown Mesa. Photo by Kevin Klassman Download Full Image

Spencer Bates, a junior architectural studies student from Gilbert, Ariz. and a member of the winning team said that the group focused on giving the building’s exterior excitement, interactivity and identity. The design incorporates a large xylophone along the west wall that gives visitors a hands-on activity that immediately sets the tone for what they will discover inside.

The team also included a water wall with moveable letters to “see, touch and listen” and a special children’s entrance tunnel of motion triggered lights. A series of brightly colored curving metal strips designed to suggest brush strokes serve as an exterior signature design element that wraps the outside walls and practically provides shade and directs visitors to the entrance. The team’s plan also includes an LED sign to publicize events and an interactive projection on the lobby wall with touch-sensitive illuminating wall tiles.

Other members of the team include Kevin Klassman, landscape architecture, Libertyville, Ill.; Krizia Alba, visual communication design, Phoenix, Ariz.; Felipe Mancero, architectural studies, Quito, Ecuador and Anna Kawski, industrial design, Phoenix, Ariz.

Bates said a benefit of the competition, developed to foster collaboration among the five design disciplines, was his deepened understanding of the other design areas and how together they enriched the project. “I have friends in other fields now who I can turn to help me in my future projects and it’s also a glimpse of what I might like to create in the future in terms of my own firm with other designers.”

Craig Barton, director of The Design School and one of the five judges hearing the finalists’ presentations, said that each of the 35 projects received a vote in the initial round of voting that narrowed the finalists to seven.

“This is the type of project which helps design students and prospective clients really understand the importance of working across disciplinary boundaries,” Barton said. “Collectively the projects displayed The Design School's ability to engage students in the kinds of cross-disciplinary design inquiry and practice which will define their respective careers."

Read more about the 2013 Junior Cluster Project here. For more information about The Design School, visit and for more information about the Arizona Museum for Youth visit To see the videos each team prepared visit thisVimeo site.


Public Contact: 
Susan Felt
Coordinator of Communication and Marketing

Media Contact:
Susan Felt
Coordinator of Communications and Marketing