Second-year MFA candidate Nick Azzaro spent several weeks between Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, researching the lopsided racial dynamics that persist in the areas for his summer travel project. The end product was a larger-than-life comic that reintroduces Peter Privledge, a character based on unmalicious but ignorant white Americans, and introduces two new characters. It was installed on the south wall of the I‑91 underpass on Grand Avenue, between Fair Haven and New Haven.
Privledge is a reimagined Peter Parker, better known as Spider-Man, who was originally introduced as a flawed, young white man. Azzaro’s version first appeared in his Astounding Fancy #15 from 2020. The two new characters are the Brave Flyer and Suprema-Fist.
The Brave Flyer is a superhero that represents the community of Ypsilanti, Michigan, where Azzaro lives and works with the local public school district. The potential Azzaro sees in the youth despite the challenges of a public education system that allows segregation and lopsided resource distribution, among many other hurdles, is the foundation of this character. While only a few of the Brave Flyer’s superpowers are displayed in this story, he utilizes one of his greatest: the ability to educate and change perspectives.
Suprema-Fist is a supervillain that personifies close-minded white perceptions whose actions and inactions affect the lives of many. While he is outwardly evil in this story, he can also blend in and be unseen, like the structural racism that exists in many of this country’s systems. A brief exchange between the two leads to an epic battle with Peter Privledge in the middle.
View the full installation at nickazzaro.xyz.