Since the 1960s Marvel explored new territories, whether it was in depths of Space, multiverses or the vast world of Asgard, emphasizing our heroes and villains; even with the gods, it came to a realization that they are no different than human beings. With Peter Parker’s lack of self-confidence, or Tony Stark’s abundance of same.
They also explore psychological problems too, take for example Daredevil who struggled with depression, but one Marvel Hero named Hank Pym has had a long-standing history of mental health issues. Pym, who started out as the original Ant-Man, who had a relationship with Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp.
With the recent death of Hank Pym, a new character has come into the light who was revealed to be Hank’s long-lost daughter who was from his first marriage, before Janet. Her name is Nadia; a brilliant scientist and a fighter were raised in the Red Room, a place that fans are familiar with another hero and heroine who were raised in the same facility, The Black Widow and The Winter Soldier. With the guidance of Janet, she took on the mantle of The Wasp.
In the latest issues of her own ongoing series, from Writer Jeremy Whitley and Artist Gurihiru in conjunction with editor Alanna Smith; The Unstoppable Wasp issues 4 and 5 tackle a more serious issue, and that is Mental Illness. It was hinted in earlier appearances with the Avengers that the heroine was revealed to be Bipolar. She experiences a manic episode where she begins to run herself ragged, “trying to fix everything” while clashing with the people who love her, who want to help her.
In a recent interview with therapist Tim Stevens that was for Marvel’s website, Whitely discussed:
Marvel.com: How aware of bipolar were you before deciding to incorporate it into the book? How did you set about getting a whole and thorough understanding of it?
Whitley: I was definitely aware of bipolar disorder beforehand. I have friends who have struggled with it in their own lives, either personally or through family members. It wasn’t something I knew intimately, but I was very conscious of it.
Before I wrote about it in the book, I wanted to make sure I had a good lock on it. I started by reading up from a strictly medical standpoint. I wanted to have an understanding of what it was clinically and how it functioned. It’s often a pitfall in fiction that writers are more interested in a symptom than a disease or disorder and the condition ends up being poorly defined.
Probably more important to me though, was talking to and reading stories from people who have dealt with the condition themselves. It’s good to know generally what it looks like, but it’s also important to understand what it feels like when you’re writing a character. So I consulted quite a bit on this, which you can see if you check out the “special thanks” in these issues.