Many superheroes start out as underdogs who go through adversity and transform into confident, powerful individuals that save the world.
What we love most about these stories is that we can put ourselves in these superheroes shoes. They're just regular people like us who, with a stroke of fantastical luck, obtain supernatural abilities.
The father of a boy with Down Syndrome wanted his son to have someone similar to look up to when he grew older.
“When we found out about my son, I was looking for comics that had prominent characters with Down syndrome, and at the time there was zero, I couldn’t find anything at all,” comic book enthusiast Chip Reece told PEOPLE. “I wanted him to see a character with Down syndrome that didn’t let that restrict him, that he could still be whatever he wanted to be despite what other people might think were his limitations.”
Seven-year-old Ollie went through multiple surgeries after his birth, which greatly worried his family
“There were times we weren’t sure he was going to make it,” Reece remembered. “We were told not to have any real high hopes of him surviving.”
And so he made an epic tale that went farther than he thought it would.
"The odds were against Ollie from the start, especially with the medical stuff, and he beat those odds. To me, he was a superhero," Reece recalled of his son.
With the help of illustrator Kelly Williams, he published his first comic book, Metaphase, in the summer of 2015, after a Kickstarter campaign helped him raise thousands of dollars. The comic book was supposed to be for friends and family, but Alterna Comics contacted Reece to write more than 10 pages.
The comic book tells the story of Ollie, a boy who has Down syndrome and wants to have superhuman powers like his father. However, Ollie's father worries about his physical well-being and doesn't want him to gain these powers; and so when an organization promises to give him the superpowers he desires, he must make a difficult decision.
Reece said Ollie has difficulty in understanding the book now, but it will make more sense in the future.
“I brought the book out again a re-read this year, and it was the first time he’d point to the character and then point to himself. 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."
Reece plans to write the sequel to Metaphase sometime next year.