Why is Ultimate Spider Man black?

Published: August 3, 2011

PHOTO: MARVEL.COM

There is a new Spider Man in town, folks! His name is Miles Morales and he is part Latino, and part black. And apparently, Marvel Comics haven’t ruled out giving Spidey a gay future!

Miles Morales, of course, replaces the iconic character Peter Parker as the new web slinger. Parker – in a move that shocked many fans – was killed off in June by his arch nemesis, Green Goblin, in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics.

Morales reveals himself to be the new boy behind the Spidey mask in the series, and is set to headline the Ultimate Spider Man series in the future.

So how does one feel about this? Does Marvel have good intentions here, or is this merely a publicity stunt? Or is this just some attempt at being politically correct?

On Marvel’s official website, Axel Alonso, the Marvel Editor in Chief says,

“When the opportunity arose to create a new Spider Man, we knew it had to be a character that represents the diversity—in background and experience—of the twenty-first century”

As a comic book geek, I should tell you that superheroes being killed off isn’t a new phenomenon. Superman, Batman, Captain America, the Human Torch, have all been killed off during the years, with the most iconic characters coming back to life. It is just business, really. Comic books are a product, and when a product starts to get a little stale, it either needs to be repackaged, or taken off the shelf for good.

What is different about this situation is that Peter Parker is still alive in the regular Spider Man line of comic books. And with the Ultimate series being an alternate reality, Morales could actually be a permanent replacement.

Personally, I am pleased that Morales is part Latino, and part African American. I also think it would be cool if Spider Man would be gay in the future, as it would be tremendous for youngsters feeling alienated because of their genetic code, to be able to identify with a comic book character as iconic as Spider Man.

But a superhero of color, who also happens to be gay? That just seems exploitive. Why not make him part Chinese, Muslim, and give him a disability as well, and call him Super Minority Man?

How have fans responded?

The reactions from the internet community are mostly negative. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

  • “Don’t you know?  Being white and straight is so 20th century.” Cobra951, USA
  • “Won’t last long when they see the sales figures. It’s a step too far for the average comic book geek, I suspect.” Graham (Hong Kong)
  • “Just wait until next issue. He will turn out to be a trans-sexual single mom, now dad on welfare. A military vet with PTSD who also has a drug/alcohol problem…That’s now a medical disability in the USA now.”   Salem (USA)
  • “Is it me …or does this PC “super hero” look suspiciously like Obama to anyone else?” Bill (USA)
  • “What a great, positive, forward-thinking move! Bravo Marvel!” Samantha (South Africa)
  • “ How long until novels, films, art and music will be changed?”Spackle (USA)
  • “Nick Fury in Ironman was white, not black like Samuel Jackson. Many Enid Blyton books have been re-written to remove non PC phrases. In schools we cannot have blackboards and whiteboards, we have chalkboards and wipe boards. I cannot believe that most non-white people care about this PC madness anymore than I care about being called white. I know I’m no more really white, than a black person is really black!”  AndyF (UK)
Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

A freelance writer and regular contributor to The Express Tribune magazine and newspaper, Noman tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mustafa

    Black and gay! that is racism, while I am not a Marvel Comics fan, it is still uncool.Recommend

  • Gina

    Should be interesting. Let’s not be so sensitive. So what if he’s blackk and gay? There are black gay men in the world.Recommend

  • Faraz

    when the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man was being cast, a black actor by the name of Donald Glover started a campaign on twitter to be cast as spider-man. he quickly gained a large number of supporters and the campaign created quite a stir. but to believe hollywood would actually cast a black actor in the reboot of one of its biggest franchises, not to mention as a globally iconic character, was wishful thinking at best on glover’s part and his followers’. however it gave an idea to writer brian bendis and thus miles morales was born. yes, like the ultimate nick fury is based on sam jackson, miles is based on donald glover. and come to think of it, why not? i mean, spider-man is covered head to toe in a costume anyway. why does his skin color matter? now if they made peter parker black, fans calling sacrilege would be very understandable. but ‘spider-man’, why can’t be be black?Recommend

  • Disco Molvi

    What if Blade were to have an race makeover and became Caucasian? I’d be hell p***ed off, cause that Blade you’re messin’ with! Same goes for Luke Cage, John Stewart (Green Lantern), Steel (a.k.a John Henry Irons), War Machine, Cyborg (of Teen Titans), etc.
    Likewise I’d prefer white characters to remain white and not be turned Black.
    However I’d make an exception to Ultimate Nick Fury, he’s one mean mutha!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    @Disco Molvi:

    But this isn’t Peter Parker. This is another kid in the Spider-Man outfit. It is like there being more than one human Green Lantern. Recommend

  • Asif

    The reaction over the muslim Batman was much more interesting.Recommend

  • Jamel

    Why not make him part Chinese, Muslim,
    and give him a disability as well, and
    call him Super Minority Man?

    A Muslim spider man is out of the question; how’s he gonna kiss the girl, specially in Ramadhan?Recommend

  • Hassaan

    Haha “Super Minority Man” got me!

    But seriously, to force the race/sexual-identity issue in adolescent themed entertainment is a tad exploitative, and more than a little “hitting people over the head with topical issues”. Its a lot like saying “No. You have to change the way you think about your super heroes because its not Politically Correct to be Caucasian any more.”Recommend

  • J.

    Very interesting. :) Recommend

  • BladewasWhiteDuh

    dude blade is white its only the movie they made him black go check ur comics before u talk@Disco Molvi: Recommend

  • BladewasWhiteDuh

    peter parker is white, morales isnt white cos he isnt peter parker
    john steward is black green latern, but the 1st was al jordan who his a white green latern so this a new spidermanRecommend

  • http://Karachi Disco Molvi

    @BladewasWhiteDuh:
    Blade has ALWAYS been BLACK! I believe it’s you who needs to get his/her comic facts straight. Or otherwise kindly sent me a link where I may know about your ‘white Blade’ O great comic trivia geek.
    I got the point of the author that this isn’t Peter Parker but an entirely new character.
    And the first Green Lantern wasn’t Hal Jordan but Alan Scott.Recommend

  • John

    @Disco Molvi:

    Troll’d.Recommend

  • BladewasWhiteDuh

    @Disco Molvi:
    go watch ur old spiderman or google d old comics n u ll see nightwalker was whiteRecommend