Co-creator of the YouTube series, Cinema Sins, Jeremy Scott decided to go down a different storytelling path, when he wrote The Ables. A story about a group of friends who are disabled empowered kids, but won’t let their disabilities stop them from being the heroes they truly are. Phillip is blind and telekinetic. James is blind and can teleport. Wheelchair-bound Henry is telepathic. Bentley has cerebral palsy and is a math and science genius. Donnie has Down Syndrome and is super fast and powerful. But sadly, the rest of their powered peers only see their disabilities. So the friends form their own team, The Ables, to prove to everyone that they can overcome their disabilities to join the others in protecting the world. It’s not until they identify a nefarious threat unfolding that they might be able to change everyone’s minds about them.
If you’re looking for a new type of superhero story, this is it. The Ables doesn’t make you pity the characters but rather has you cheer for them for wanting to change the life that others have laid out for them. While the story might be fun and filled with action, it’s also a great reminder that everyone has something to contribute to the world, even if they don’t exactly fit the norm.
We caught up with the author to talk about his novel.
The Ables is about disabled superheroes, which is a rarity in comics and movies. What made you decide to tell this story?
It started, really, as a creative writing exercise… to write characters between the world of normal humans and superpowers. The physical and mental disabilities began–originally–as a way to put our main characters in a unique spot. As I continued to write them, though, each character and their personal limitations and strengths became real to me, and important to stay true to.
What was the experience like writing this book?
I’d written one other novel previously–it’s terrible. So I was, at least, used to the experience. I wrote 5 or 6 nights a week for 7 months or so on the first draft, and then spent about 9 years tweaking and rewriting. It’s exhilarating to write a novel, I think, discovering both the story AND the characters as you go. There’s nothing quite like it, creatively.
Phillip is the main character, but was he your favorite to write?
Probably not. He’s the most “me,” I guess, in terms of character traits and behavior, but I think Henry was the most fun to write, because he’s a guy that has very little filter, if any. He says what he’s thinking, and he has a fantastic sarcasm and self-effacing sense of humor.
You are the co-creator of Cinema Sins but was the experience of having your book out in the public’s hands different than someone watching your videos on YouTube?
Well, in the videos we’re portraying a character of sorts… a persona of the obsessively critical Internet movie nerd. The book is MUCH more a representation of my own personality and creative expression. It’s a lot easier to publish a sarcastic video and ignore the comments than it is to publish–permanently–an optimistic original superhero story and not take the reactions to heart. I’m more than pleased with the overall reaction thus far, but this is a much more personal endeavor than any of the videos on the YouTube channel.
If the Ables were to team up with another superhero or superheroes, who do you think they would work well with?
Not too many. Daredevil, I suppose, would have an understanding of their unique position and perspective. Part of what makes the Ables click as a group is their collective ability to tune out the wider world of heroes–most of whom dismiss the disabled heroes as insignificant. They don’t really care what other heroes think of them, positive or negative… they truly just want to contribute in some way to the effort of saving the world. So, in that regard, I think I’d say The Incredibles, a Pixar family of heroes that–led by father, Bob–simply want to find a way to fit into society while simultaneously being a part of the hero effort and using their powers in a way that helps improve life for others.
The Ables is available for purchase now from Clovercroft Publishing.