All too often, the world of comic books and superheroes can fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously. Whether it be fans arguing over if Iron Man 1 or 3 was the superior movie, studios milking a franchise to the bone or comic geeks getting into a heated debate about whether Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy is Peter Parker’s one true love, it’s easy to lose perspective when it comes to the characters and stories we all hold dear to our hearts.
It’s easy to forget that comic book characters were designed to bring joy and entertain – primarily children, if we’re being totally honest with ourselves – and in today’s world where super-heroes equal super-profits, that sentiment is often pushed into the background. One man who hasn’t forgotten this, however, is William Brewer.
Brewer is a police officer in Madison, Georgia by trade but in his spare time, dresses up in full Iron Man gear and visits sick children desperately in need of something to smile about. The inspirational cop claims that the idea for his alter ego came after watching a documentary about a child suffering from a terminal illness:
“One day, I came across a documentary of a child with a terminal illness and it got me thinking. What is something I can do to put a smile on a child’s face? What is something that will get their mind off the disease they are fighting? One thought came to mind… a superhero. Every child has a favorite superhero they look up to or admire.”
During his visits, William hands out superhero toys to the kids and his Iron Man get-up, which you can see pictured below, is far from amateur – certainly better than that fabric onesie-style monstrosity available online – making the cop’s dedication to the cause all the more impressive.
To many, especially Comic-Con veterans, dressing up as a superhero may seem like a simple act; but push the cynicism of adulthood to one side for a moment and you may just remember the childhood joy created from seeing a ‘real life’ superhero, even if deep down you knew it was just ‘some guy in a suit’. The fact that officer Brewer is willing to spend his free time bringing those feelings to children who need them most is something that even the most jaded comic book fan must commend.
In addition to the invaluable efforts Brewer is making towards seriously ill children, he is also proving that, at a time where tensions between communities and police forces are highly strained in some parts of the U.S., that there are police officers with kindness and charity at the forefront of their minds. The phrase ‘real life superhero’ might be a bit overused these days but in this case, it seems appropriate. Iron Man would be proud.