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Death of a Superhero

by Ian FitzGibbon

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After several cycles of chemotherapy, fourteen-year-old Donald feels he has little left to hope for. Worst of all, he might die a virgin. When Donald’s parents urge him to confront his feelings, he retreats further into his own head, channelling his thoughts into sinister and eerily beautiful comic book drawings. In the universe of his sketches, Donald is no longer a skinny teen with leukemia. Instead, he becomes a brawny superhero dedicated to fighting his archenemy: a mad scientist called the The Glove, who wields syringes for fingers. Donald’s parents send him to Dr. Adrian King, a therapist with a matter-of-fact approach to death who challenges Donald’s defensive attitude. Despite his initial resistance, Donald finds himself opening up to the doctor, who treats him as an adult rather than a child to be pitied. Better yet, he strikes up a promising friendship with a fellow misfit named Shelly.

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