Omar Masood, owner of Omar’s World of Comics, got to meet two of his heroes in real life last week — President Biden and Vice President Harris, or Professor X and Ms. Marvel, as he’s dubbed them. Masood, who also goes by Spiderman, comes up with superhero names for everyone he meets. Ms. Marvel as an alter ego for Harris is particularly apt — Ms. Marvel is the first South Asian superhero, Harris is the first South Asian vice president and the two share a first name, Kamala.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, amazing, right?,” Masood exclaimed.
Masood was invited to the White House’s Eid al-Fitr celebration, marking the end of Ramadan. The annual event began under the Clinton administration, was scrapped by Donald Trump, held virtually during Covid, and was finally restored by Biden in 2022. Masood’s family is Muslim; other guests included prominent Muslim Americans like Congress members André Carson and Rashida Tlaib, Gold Star father Khizr Khan, and Zaid Quraishi, the first Muslim American federal judge — but Masood was the first to get a shout-out from the President.
“I want to mention one special guest tonight, a huge superhero fan from Lexington, Massachusetts: Omar Masood,” Biden said. “Omar has Down syndrome. And his store is a place where everyone is welcome, everyone is valued, and everyone can make a contribution.”
For anyone unfamiliar, Masood’s store is a beloved Lexington institution. On the first floor, you can find graphic novels, comic books, obscure and complex board games, twelve-sided dice in any color of the rainbow, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff to help navigate. Upstairs, Omar’s sister Laila Masood and her husband Henry Jones run the gaming center Pixel Paradise, a neighborhood hotspot for tweens and teens. The family also runs Omar’s Bistro, an on-site restaurant serving American and Middle Eastern foods (kids can order the Omar’s Favorite, a plain burger with cheese and ketchup).
But perhaps the thing that makes the place most special is the dedication to inclusivity. Omar’s family helped him start the store after his graduation from the LABBB program at Lexington High School, and the store partners with LABBB to provide vocational training for students with disabilities. Students price items, stock inventory, and learn cooking skills in the Bistro. When renovating the space, the Masoods added an elevator to make sure everyone can reach the second floor.
Masood says the store is a place where anyone “can play, have fun, have a laugh.”
“It’s a paradise,” he says.