Villainous Awareness

Young Johnny Bender, aka “Smiley,” was seen in the opening pages of We Are Robin No. 1 beating up Duke Thomas, one of the main stars of the series. The beginning of We Are Robin No. 8 (out Wednesday and illustrated by Jorge Corona) mirrors that sequence, with Smiley getting clobbered in juvie just as he’s about to be released to his disapproving father.

Smiley hasn’t gotten along with his parents since the plastic surgery to fix his Moebius syndrome gave him his Joker-like perma-grin, and the new issue shows just how devoted he is to Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime and begins a story arc where he amasses a group of like-minded followers. – Brian Truitt, USA Today

This greeted me this morning on Facebook in a review of We Are Robin No. 8… and made me go huh. Also made me sigh, that this is the kind of representation Moebius syndrome receives. It’s the kind that organizations such as Changing Faces in the UK works to combat. 

But it also kind of made me go “that’s kind of cool – maybe someone will learn something!” – not necessarily that people with Moebius or any other visable difference are destined to have psychological issues and to be evil, of course, but that things like Moebius do happen and you might just encounter someone who has a facial difference in your everyday life.

Because that’s what’s important: normalizing and accepting differences. So maybe this comic will at least get Moebius syndrome out into the public conscience a bit. Would love to get in touch with the creators and learn how this came to be and if they have a personal connection to Moebius.

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