People to Know 2018: Devin Grayson
Devin Grayson didn’t grow up reading comics. “I stumbled on them quite accidentally in my 20s,” says the writer, who now helps bring superhero universes to life. While most of her peers devoured comic books at a young age, Devin was always more interested in acting and literary fiction. These diverse influences gave her a unique perspective that served her well after she became the first woman to spearhead a DC Comics “Batman” series—unheard of in the male-dominated comic book space—in 2000.
But Devin also draws inspiration from another source. When she discovered she had type 1 diabetes at age 14, she didn’t immediately grasp the weight of the diagnosis. “At that age, you think you’re immortal,” she says. “You really have no sense of your own physical limitations.” While her parents made her learn about diabetes, these themes of indestructibility and overcoming obstacles eventually found a natural home in superhero stories.
“We’re doing good-versus-evil battles, but within that, we’re looking at what motivates people, what supports them, what challenges them,” Devin says. “Having an intimate, persistent relationship with my own limitations and resiliency through lifelong diabetes management gives me insight into how powerfully these forces influence our lives.”
We came across Devin’s writing through our own work creating animated videos that aim to teach patients about chronic health conditions, including diabetes. Like us, she also believes in the power of graphic storytelling to engage and inform.
She’s currently at work on a new series called “Marvel Rising,” a crossover event geared toward younger readers and teens that features the popular Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel. Devin admits that she’s also considered creating a superhero with diabetes, but she recognizes that with great power comes great responsibility.
“The most normal superhero thing to do is to make [diabetes] a kryptonite,” she says. “The superhero is completely great and can do all these things—until their blood sugar drops. That’s not the model I’d want to put forward.”
For Devin, diabetes has never been a weakness. It’s been a source of her great resilience.
Jose Taveras, MD, left, is a cardiologist affiliated with Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Christopher Palmeiro, DO, right, is the chairman of endocrinology at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley in New York. Together, they founded Doctablet, a web platform that includes articles, illustrations, and animated videos to help educate and empower people with various health conditions.