The beauty of online comics is their ability to reach a wide audience, unknowns can go viral overnight while others can hit the scene like sharp sizzle. Jackie E. Davis is the latter, an artist who brought her cute potato people from her online series Underpants and Overbites to life in her first collection: Vulnerability is my Superpower. Filled with an assortment of new and old material, moments of realization of just being herself and helping others, it’s a ray of sunshine in today’s uncertain world.
Davis’ story is patched together with a loose narrative, from working as a barista for eight years and to providing comprehensive lists of her likes and dislikes. Every few pages she’ll share a happy memory about loved ones or launch into moments of reflection about her journey to self-confidence through the years. This sets a good pace throughout the book where you don’t feel guilty about stopping, but you want to pick it up again a minute later to read the next panel. Paired with her often cute and over-the-top sense of humor it had me laughing and showing certain sections to my friends so they could share in the joy.
One of the elements that sets it apart is compassion and confronting her own flaws. For instance, she stops her husband in a panic from stepping on a snail crossing their path and in the next panel turning to her new shelled friend to assure them with a “We gotcha, buddy.” In another series of panels she expresses her desire to always to be “truthful” when talking with people which often took the form of putting down their views or interests.
Davis eventually learns this isn’t the best way to express herself and concludes it’s probably the reason why she doesn’t have a lot of friends. Her attitude towards life swings from uneasy and nervous, to hopeful when she realizes being open can help her along in her personal journey.
In Vulnerability is My Superpower Davis expresses the ups and downs of gaining self-confidence and always striving to be better, learning that reaching out for help isn’t a weakness, but a necessity to continue growing as a person. The definition of vulnerable is “to be capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.” Being able to express what many would call a weakness is brave, especially in today’s world where lines are being drawn in the sand about what people can say or do lest they offend someone. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, even just for a little while, maybe the rest of the world will discover it’s a superpower too.