Comic books have certainly evolved over the years. Many of them don’t feature the same old-fashioned ‘superheroes’ of yester-year. Nowadays, comic book creators are covering all kinds of topics.
When comic book enthusiast Chip Reece and his wife had their son Ollie in 2010, Chip wanted to find a comic suitable for his child– a comic featuring a starring character with Down syndrome, like Ollie, so his son could have a hero to relate to.
Chip couldn’t find such a comic book. So he created one himself.
Ollie is now 7-years-old and, to his father, is a real-life superhero. “There were times we weren’t sure he was going to make it,” Chip told People. “We were told not to have any real high hopes of him surviving.”
But he has survived and is thriving.
Metaphase features a young boy, also named Ollie, who has Down syndrome and yearns to have superpowers.
“Everything that Ollie had been through, it harkened back to some of the Marvel superheroes that go through adversity and through that adversity they get powers,” said Chip.
The comic’s storylines are also meant to incorporate themes familiar to families with children who have developmental disabilities.
And although the comic was first released two years ago, Ollie is just starting to relate to the ‘Ollie’ in the comic.
“I brought the book out again [for] a re-read this year, and it was the first time he’d point to the character and then point to himself,” Reece says. “It really felt like he was finally getting it, that he was understanding the story was about him. That’s what I wanted the whole time, a book he could see himself in.”
Kids at Ollie’s school have also reportedly started calling Ollie “superhero kid” and Metaphase has been added to his school’s library.
Chip plans on writing a sequel to the graphic novel sometime next year.
“The book can also be used as a way into Ollie’s world, it’s a way for kids to identify with my son,” said Chip. “There is more to him than having Down syndrome, he is his own person and has his own personality, and with everything he has been through, he really is a superhero.”
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