By Jericho Wilson
It was an honest mistake. Reading Grant Morrison’s Multiversity #1 from DC Comics, I saw a square-shaped bottle with an orange & brown label that looked exactly like Sustiva, one of the medications I take for HIV. In the midst of a discussion on Facebook with fellow gay geeks, I got all excited and posted about it. But alas, I was mistaken. Another fan pointed out that a few pages earlier the word “Zoloft” (medication for depression) was visible on the bottle in very small print.
Damn. I got all hyped that Morrison’s lead African-American protagonist might also be HIV+ making a book with an already very diverse cast even more diverse. Aside from my embarrassment at missing the label in a previous panel, I shrugged my shoulders figuring that was the end of it. Then a friend sent me a message on Facebook: “Would you like to write a piece about your thoughts on an HIV+ hero as representation?”
Well, there was an angle that was the farthest thing from my mind. That is because I think the subject is unrealistic for many reasons. HIV+ heroes? Very, very rarely does any major multimedia company allow such a thing to ever happen, let alone would most writers even propose the idea. Granted, there are exceptions with controversial stories by brash creators. And you can count them all on one hand.