In the comic book Raising Dion, Nicole, a widowed, black single mother, dedicates her energy to raising and chronicling the life of her son, Dion, a seven-year-old boy with a bevy of inexplicable superpowers. With Dion, getting dressed in the morning turns into a frantic chase as he teleports around the apartment, playtime involves bouts of uncontrolled telekinesis, and timeouts are thwarted by the boy’s ability to render himself invisible.
Though she loves her son to death, Nicole realizes that unless she guides him properly, his abilities could easily overwhelm her and expose their secret to the world. Rather than freak out, Nicole does what she can to teach Dion about what she means when she says that he could be a superhero one day.
“How do you protect him from the world?” Nicole asks in the cinematic trailer for the comic book. “First, never take your eyes off of him; his powers can be unpredictable.”
In the opening panels of the book, Nicole explains that she homeschools Dion in relative seclusion in a small cabin in the woods. As Dion ages, he loses certain abilities while gaining unexpected ones. As odd as it all might seem to a regular parent, Nicole’s adjusted well enough. Ironically enough, she finds that most of the mommy blogosphere’s mainstream advice still applies to Dion. It’s that perspective, Dion artist Jason Piperberg toldFusion, that makes Nicole such a compelling character.
Dennis Liu, who writes Raising Dion, says that he drew upon his experience as an uncle to five nieces and spoke with actual single mothers about raising children alone to develop Nicole’s voice. Nicole, he explained, is equal parts Martha Kent and Alfred Pennyworth, the adults responsible for raising Superman and Batman.
“If these key parental figures did not raise these superheroes correctly, then who knows what Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne would have become?” Liu said in an interview with Fusion. “Parents instill a value system.”