Why is Ultimate Spider Man black?

Published: August 3, 2011
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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

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He 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.