Central to all heroic tales is an origin story describing the hero's background and source of his or her unusual power. Almost invariably, these tales recount an extraordinarily dangerous event, and one that threatens to destroy the character by either physically or mentally incapacitating them. Planets crumble. Fatal diseases creep through enfeebled bodies. Radioactive spiders bite. Experiments go awry. Parents are murdered and families torn apart. It is in the midst of this mortal danger that the hero is birthed...

Layered on top of these pages chosen for this series are phrases excerpted from the comics themselves. These texts highlight a certain violence, both physical and psychological, in the transition from black boyhood to manhood. These are knee-scrape lessons, hard-won realizations covered in dry scabs, warnings shouted after you on the way to meet friends, bits of adult conversation overheard during long Sunday dinners and settling deep in your psyche.

[To be continued...]