Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views, Issue no. 7 March-April 2001

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Who is Pelswick Eggert?

By Neil Marcus (storm@well.com)

He's the latest cartoon character to hit U.S. television screens in a major disability cool way. He's 13 years old, wears his cap on backwards and goes to school at Alcatraz High somewhere in the San Francisco area. cartoon of Pelswick spray painting a picture of himself on a wall while a police officer peers around a corner

He gets around in a cool electric wheelchair (cuz he's paralyzed from the armpits down). Pelswick has lots of wild adventures with his friends.

Pelswick is the brainchild of John Callahan, the nationally syndicated cartoonist who is himself a quadriplegic. His work can be seen in over 75 publications and his autobiography, "Don't worry, he won't get far on foot," made it to the New York Times Bestseller List.

Pelswick may be TV's first "disability-endowed" animated star. He's a regular kid, with what I thought were very well placed or balanced character traits. For example, disability seems to be the least of his problems or concerns. Should it be his main concern? No! After all, this is the new millennium and Pelswick is interested in . . . living.

I don't know if it's appropriate here to get into the deeper significance and social relevance of a Pelswick in our midst, in our millions of TV homes. I think the younger generation will see these episodes as major fun and won't be burdened by any heavy-handed "lessons."

My vote: two thumbs up. The creators of Pelswick have managed to break out of the mold in which disability is often cast.

Pelswick debuted in October on the Nickelodeon cable network and is being shown this season on Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm.

Editor's Note:Neil Marcus is an actor and performance artist and this is his debut in disabilityworld as an arts critic.

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