The long ring of the school bell marked the end of the week for Simon; his spirits began to rise as he strolled along the main street towards what he believed to be the greatest store ever created, the comic book store. The sun reflected off the stores glass exterior revealing to its small audience what it contained behind its warm golden glow.
Simon pressed his small body against the handle of a door, swoosh, cool air whipped around him as he stepped over the threshold. The small room housed a strong smell of crisp paper and smooth plastic, Simon stood a moment, closed his eyes and just breathed, taking it in. Ding, the store bell announced the arrival of another customer as Simon slowly made his way around the narrow aisles, tracing his fingers over the glossy covers while the superheroes raced across the shelves. He felt a soft, tap tap, on his left shoulder, it was Jeff the store owner, holding a brand new issue of ‘The Mighty Thor’ as promised. Simon reached into his pocket, producing one small dime and one large quarter, the sweet metallic aroma was traded between their hands as Simon delicately accepted the comic. He leaned against the wall, slid down to the ground and peeled back the transparent protective cloak. He began where they left off last time, defeating Malekith the accursed; however, there was never an issue without a new battle to be won. They met with Odin, the King of Asgard and addressed the nation on their upcoming trip to save their world. They traveled across the rainbow bridge to Heimdall, who was none too distracted from his observations as he sent them to another realm. Zap, lightning darted out from Mjölnir and danced across the pages, Thor’s impressive powers reflected in Simon’s eyes - full of wonder. Loki, the master of trickery, continued with his rivalry against Thor and Simon, but nothing could stop them together they were a force to be reckoned with. Asgard, Vanaheim, Nidavellir, where would he travel to next time, his mind raced in anticipation. Simon carefully placed the plastic cover back over his priceless adventure book, guarding it with his life as he walked home. The sound of Simon racing up the hardwood staircase echoed through the house, drowning out the greeting from his mother. Thud, he slammed his door to ensure privacy as he gently placed his new comic book in a box along with all his other cherished stories. The next month of chores would be a breeze for he just could not wait until his next journey with ‘The Mighty Thor’. In the morning Simon filled his backpack with some old comics swung it over his shoulder and rushed outside before jumping onto his bicycle. Screech, he squeezed the brakes on his chopper as he rounded the corner where Mike and Chris were already waiting, from there they cycled on together towards Todd’s house. Once inside they all collapsed on the carpeted floor causing a deep burn in their elbows, but that wouldn’t prevent them from trading comics as a lively aura washed over the room. Some time later Todd’s mom came in with refreshments, they stuffed their faces eager to get back to reading; Chris was sorting out his Captain America issues while Mike handed us some more of his favorite, The Amazing Spider-man. Todd started flipping through an early Batman comic – he was the DC fan. Slap, Simon put down his last comic; it was time to live the comic books in real time, outside, before it got dark. They took turns being the heroes and the villains running up and down the front yard chasing each other around shooting their imaginary weapons and dodging attacks using their superpowers. Ouch, they would shout and take a soft tumble to the ground marking the defeat of that character. It wasn’t long before they were beckoned inside by Todd’s mom telling them to be on their way, so as to not worry their own mothers. Sigh, they began to pack up their newly selected collections sluggish in their movements, reluctant to leave bringing an end to the day’s adventures. Back on their bicycles they rode splitting off as they each neared their own homes. Creak, creak, Simon’s mother was rocking her chair on the porch and rose as she saw him. They stepped inside and sat down at the dinner table as Simon shared stories about his eventful day. The sweet smell of macaroni and cheese filled the air and their stomachs as the laughter ensued with Simon banging at the table or clapping his hands to emphasize an explosion here or someone taking a fall there. He could go on for hours sharing his interest in superheroes and how inspirational they are and through them he could live an incredible life. Yawn, Simon was tuckered out and couldn’t wait for the next day when he could enter his world of reading and become any superhero he could think of. Simon truly felt super.
Zoom, years later Simon receives a large package from his parents, ‘the adventures of you’ his mother had written on the card attached. A cloud of dust filled his lungs as he pulled back the flaps of the cardboard box, inside lay a stack of pristine comics. Priceless memories came flooding back and as he was flipping through the pages of a Thor comic and a small piece of paper fell into his lap, revealing an impressive drawing of himself as Thor’s ally. Excitement overwhelmed him as though he was a little boy again back in the comic book store, playing heroes and villains with his friends or even just reading at home. He raced upstairs to share his childhood ventures with his own son. Simon was glad to have such an extraordinary experience, they spent hour’s together reading and creating new memories that they would one day reminisce about.
Every child should have the opportunity to exist in the world of comic books and live their own childhood superhero adventure.