One Autumn day in 1974, when he was 9, Sergio Canavero visited his regular newsstand on a bustling street in Turin, Italy, to buy a comic book. As a bullied schoolboy, the man who now claims he can complete the first human head transplant was dismally aware of his pitiable social status – “cookie-cutter nerd” – and sought fictional escape. His attachment to Spider-Man’s Peter Parker, another dweeb, lured him deep into the comic book world of Marvel, with its dose of futuristic medicine.

That fateful day, he bought Issue 51 of Marvel Team-Up, in which Dr. Strange boasts to Spider-Man and Iron Man, “I myself have surgically rejoined severed neurolinkages…. The nerve endings have been fused, the healing process begun.” This marked Canavero’s first encounter with the idea of spinal cord fusion. And he wanted more. FULL REPORT