Marc Bernardin: Revolutionising Representation

Lessons from a journalist who shines light on the underrepresented

Marc+Bernardin+speaking+at+the+2016+San+Diego+Comic-Con+International%2C+for+Under+the+Radar%2C+at+the+San+Diego+Convention+Center+in+San+Diego%2C+California

Gage Skidmore

Marc Bernardin speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International, for “Under the Radar”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California

In a world of media dominated by specific groups and cultures, inspiring journalist, author, comic-creator, and producer Marc Bernardin seeks to alter the way people view diversity and representation through his works. Focusing on portraying the “hurdles” that different groups and individuals face, Bernardin places his readers in the eyes and mindset of others to create widespread awareness of the backgrounds and life experiences of a variety of communities.

“The desire to understand what was going on in her head, is what prompted a story about what’s happening inside the mind of an autistic kid, and why it’s a fantasy realm filled with knights and monsters, lava creatures, and underwater pirates,” said Bernardin, describing his recent 2022 graphic novel.

This novel, “Adora and the Distance,” details the quest of a young woman in a fantastical world through bright visuals and inspiring dialogue as she fights a force known as “the Distance,” which threatens to destroy everything she knows and loves. The inspiration behind this book is Bernardin’s own daughter, 18 year-old Sophie, who was diagnosed with autism at age two.

While autism itself is a relatively well-known condition, it is not as well understood by the majority of people. Bernardin seeks to change this through portraying the thought process and imagination of his daughter, in the form of bright colours and visuals to develop an understanding and relatability in an accessible medium.

“I believe that people all fundamentally have all the same wants and needs and desires; we all want to be safe, we all want to be sheltered, we all want to be loved, we all want to be fed, those are the things everybody wants no matter where you come from, or what your genetic makeup is, or what your gender is.  ”

— Marc Bernardin

Like “Adora and the Distance,” many of Bernardin’s works in journalism and media are made to help shed light on people who are underrepresented.

“You want someone who isn’t of that slice of humanity to understand what that is. I believe that people all fundamentally have all the same wants and needs and desires; we all want to be safe, we all want to be sheltered, we all want to be loved, we all want to be fed, those are the things everybody wants no matter where you come from, or what your genetic makeup is, or what your gender is. We want those things as humans. Now the difference is the ‘hurdles’ between you, and I, and her, and them in getting that,” Bernardin said in our recent interview with him.

As mainstream media often underrepresents people with these different ‘hurdles’, others often find it difficult to empathise with those who are not similar to them. Bernardin focuses on in-depth research of different cultures, so that he can personify others as relatable human beings. 

“For me, in telling stories about people of colour, telling stories about women, telling stories about underserved communities, it’s about understanding and trying my best to understand what those ‘hurdles’ are and how we are different,” said Bernardin.

With his articles reviewing notable films that represent diversity, television productions showcasing a holistic form of the world, and literary works that help make diversity a normal element of storytelling, Bernardin helps different communities and people connect to his writings and in turn, the communities these writings represent.

“It’s not necessarily diversity for diversity’s sake, it’s about trying to represent the world as it actually is. Not all these people should be one thing. Let’s challenge ourselves to imagine a world that is more inclusive,” Bernardin said.

“It’s not necessarily diversity for diversity’s sake, it’s about trying to represent the world as it actually is. Not all these people should be one thing. Let’s challenge ourselves to imagine a world that is more inclusive.”

— Marc Bernardin