There were no superheroes with Down syndrome. So this dad invented one.

Chip Reece was always a huge fan of comic books. But when his son, Ollie, was born with Down syndrome, Reece wondered if that was something they'd ever be able to share.

Reece says Ollie, who was born in 2010, is a happy kid and that the two have a great relationship. "In the morning we have a routine where I get my breakfast and he sits right next to me until I'm finished," he writes in an email. "Given how busy he can be, that's a pretty sweet thing. I'd say we're buds."

Chip and Ollie. All images by Chip Reece (artwork by Kelly Williams) used with permission.


Like any dad, he worries about his son and his son's future. He wants Ollie to see that anything is possible for him, that he can dream just as big as any other kid.

When Reece was young, he looked up to the larger-than-life superheroes in his favorite comics. But there aren't a lot of stories out there that feature a hero with Down syndrome for Ollie to look up to. And that bothered him.

So Reece decided to write a comic book of his own.

"I wanted Ollie to see that people with Down syndrome could be superheroes too," he says.

Though not an artist or storyteller by trade, Reece dug deep into his love of comics, and his love for his son, and went about designing a story he pulled very much from Ollie's real life.

The comic, called "Metaphase," follows a young boy named Ollie whose dad has Superman-like powers.

Of course, comic book character Ollie wants to follow in his father's footsteps and get in on the whole saving the world thing. But Super Dad, for all his cosmic strength, is too afraid of what might happen to his son while fighting villains.

"As Ollie gets older he becomes tired of his dad's overprotection and unwillingness to include him in his superhero adventures," Reece wrote on a Kickstarter page for the project. "Ollie has lived his life listening to the world tell him he will be limited in what he can do, with the added frustration of comparing to a dad with unlimited ability."

Ollie begs a scientist to bestow super powers upon him.

Eventually, Ollie seeks out a mysterious corporation that promises to give anyone super powers via a little genetic tampering.

Unfazed by his disability, and the limits placed on him by his dad and the world around him, Ollie refuses to let anything stop him from becoming the world's next great hero.

Woohoo! Ollie celebrates on his journey to become a superhero.

With over 400,000 people in the United States living with Down syndrome, and very, very little representation in pop culture, "Metaphase" is a much needed addition to the superhero universe.

As for Ollie? He just recently realized that the book is actually about him, and he loves it. All the attention doesn't get Ollie too excited though, Reece says, and he's plenty happy to just sit and listen to music or toss a ball around.

"There is more to him than having Down syndrome," Reece told People. "He is his own person and has his own personality, and with everything he has been through, he really is a superhero."

More

If you wonder why the LGBTQ community holds Pride parades, look no further than Grayson Fritts.

If you don't know who Grayson Fritts is, here's a brief intro:

He's a pastor. He's a police officer. And he is on video screaming from the pulpit that the government should kill gay people.

That's not an exaggeration.

In a video of a fist-pounding sermon at All Scripture Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, Fritts said that police should round up people at Pride parades, put them through a quick trial, and then put them to death.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture


Jon Stewart Won't Let Mitch McConnell Off That Easy www.youtube.com


Jon Stewart's work on behalf of the 9/11 Victims Fund has truly elevated him to hero status. His tireless efforts to raise awareness and restore funds to survivors and the families of victims have earned him much-deserved praise and literally helped push funding through a House committee last week.

But it shouldn't have to be like this.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

Prince Harry isn't just a member of England's royal family - he's also a new dad. He and Duchess Meghan of Sussex welcomed Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor into the world last month. He joins William and Kate's three offspring (George, Charlotte, and Lewis) as royal grandchildren. I assume he's being accordingly spoiled with elaborate titles, jewels, and small islands.


Keep Reading Show less
Family

A celebrated teacher's 5-point explanation of why she's quitting has gone viral.

"The school system is broken. It may be broken beyond repair."

Talented, dedicated teachers are leaving public schools because the system makes it too hard to truly educate kids.

When I studied to become a teacher in college, I learned what education can and should be. I learned about educational psychology and delved into research about how to reach different learners, and couldn't wait to put that knowledge into practice in the classroom.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared