New Batman story has a character with autism

It’s 1977 and I’m 8 years old (yes, I’m old). My 13-year-old cousin is running into the house with a prized possession under his arm. I follow him upstairs to his room where he carefully removes a very thin comic and places it in a plastic sleeve. He then puts that precious plastic sleeve into the perfect spot — at least to him. All I saw was a sea of hundreds of comics In milk crates along the entire wall of his bedroom, all BATMAN!

I made the mistake of asking my cousin if I could read one of his books. Very quickly he informed me that I was to never touch his collection. “And they are called comics,” he added. “NOT books.”

So began my introduction to Batman comics. My cousin still has his collection, and I’m still not allowed to touch any of them. I did end up with a few of my own (especially around the time the movies were released) and ya know what? They are enjoyable.

So now, 34 years after making the unthinkable mistake of referring to a comic as a book, I finally see why kids (and a lot of adults) collect these things. I understand that protecting them and putting them in order serves a certain satisfaction. I get why Sheldon on Big Bang Theory has to find the right comic to make his collection complete, and I can still see the thrilled expression on my cousin’s face when he found the exact comic he was desperately hunting for. Then he went for a snack of potato chips and ketchup- but that’s another story!

Now that we’re in 2011, when things of our childhood can be so easily lost, it is so very cool to see that Batman is back with new stories and new characters. And get this — Disability Scoop reports that a new Batman story has a character with autism.

It focuses on Lucas, a boy with autism, whose parents are arguing about whether he should be reading comics. As he crawls into bed, Lucas notices something outside his window. When he checks out the fire escape, Lucas finds himself in the middle of a battle between Batman and supervillain Solomon Grundy.

The Batman story is titled “One Lock, Many Keys” and Disability Scoop says it touches on how Lucas progresses developmentally through his adventure with Batman. I might have to get my hands on this book, I mean, comic. And hey, I’ll call my cousin and tell him about it, too. Maybe then he’ll let me read a comic from his collection!


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