Chapter 3: Think About It

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Joy

I looked around at all eight of my art students as they worked on drawing themselves as a superhero. I was at the Downtown Durham YMCA teaching a class on how to draw comic book characters. I felt the best approach for the first day, was to have each student freestyle to see where they were artistically. They seemed to be enjoying the assignment more than I thought they would. I helped them with their designs and told them what wouldn't work, but I was mainly hands off this class.

I looked down at one of the drawings and was surprised to see that my student Toby who was a boy, had drawn himself as a female superhero. I didn't want to put him on the spot in front of everyone so I just placed my hand on his shoulder and squeezed. It was extremely bold of him to draw himself as a female superhero, I could only hope that the other students would be open and understanding of his unconventional interpretation. I studied his drawing and could clearly see his features on a female body. The details were breathtaking and I could see the raw talent that he had. He reminded me so much of myself.

"I have to say," I said out loud while walking by each artist, "I am so impressed with what I'm seeing."

If Marvel or DC Comics was looking for new and diverse characters to add to their universe, they needed to come check out this class. The amount of detail and care that each student put into their superhero was admirable.

"We have about five more minutes left before we have to wrap up class." I reminded them and noticed hands start moving a little more frantically.

When time was up, I assigned them the task to come up with a villain that would be the perfect arch-nemesis to their superhero. A superhero is only as popular as their villain, so the same amount of thought needed to be put into the villain.

I waited until after everyone was gone before pulling Toby aside. "I'm in love with your superhero," I said gently. "What are you going to call her?"

He nervously looked around as if he was already considering changing his drawing. "I don't know." He shrugged.

"Think about it," I encouraged him. "I believe this superhero is one that the comic universe needs right now. Make sure you choose a name that will represent her significance."

"Do you think it's good enough?" He asked nervously.

"Is it good enough? Nobody is doing anything like this in the comic book world." I assured him. "This is ground-breaking."

A slow smile formed on his lips. "Thank you, Ms. Richards."

"I'll see you on Thursday." I said returning his smile.

Once he left, I put away all of the classroom supplies and grabbed my travel art case. I didn't even get a step out of the room before Tanya was calling my phone.

"Hello, friend." I said.

"You better not change your mind." Tanya threatened.

"My clothes are in my trunk and I'm on my way."

"Good, I'm already here so I'll wait for you up front."

"Okay." I assured her before ending the call.

"See you in a few days, Joy," The downtown YMCA front desk clerk, Deanna, sang while waving at me as I passed her.

"Later Deanna. Don't work too hard." I returned with a wave.

When I reached my pearl white Nissan Maxima, I popped open the trunk and stuffed my case inside. I had exactly three hours before I had to pick my girls up from day care.

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