The Superhero’s Guide to Grief

In the comic universes (and multiverses) of DC and Marvel, superheroes such as Batman and Spider-Man are forged in childhood trauma and bereavement. Their suffering, which threatens their sense of safety and identity, is also the catalyst for their heroism and determination to make the world a better place.

This panel focuses on superhero grief, exploring how these narratives offer insights into different grieving styles, the transformative power of loss, and our continued bonds with those we love. It shows how superheroes can be a source of comfort and inspiration when we are grieving and how they can be used by professionals in Grief Therapy.

From Superman to WandaVision, superhero stories help us to redefine our ideas of strength, providing examples of how we can live bravely in a world of pain and impermanence.

We’re joined by Jess K Bacon, Ryan Arey and Dr Jill A Harrington.

Jess is a blogger and all-round creative soul, keen to tell her own and other people’s stories through words, photos and film. She is passionate about topics including grief and mental health, and how these themes are portrayed in the media.

Ryan is a pop-culture obsessive and a comedian, short story writer and producer and host of the YouTube channel, ScreenCrush. He’s also the award-winning director of the art documentary, Blue Like Me.

Dr. Jill A. Harrington is a lecturer who maintains an active clinical counselling practice. A practicing social worker for over twenty years, she specialises on the intersection of trauma, loss, and bereavement. She’s also been a consultant at the Columbia University Centre for Complicated Grief.


Ryan Arey

Dr Jill A Harrington

Dr Lesel Dawson

Jess K Bacon