Off My Mind: Does the New Ultimate Spider-Man's Race Matter?

Posted by G-Man (34125 posts) - - Show Bio

By now the word should have reached everyone that there's a new Ultimate Spider-Man coming. After Peter Parker's heroic portrayal and death in The Death of Spider-Man, the time has come for his replacement. We know that deaths in comic book don't mean a lot these days but they have more relevance in the Ultimate Universe compared to other comics. In a universe where Wolverine, Professor X, Cyclops and Magneto can die, why not Spider-Man?

When it was first announced that a new person would be taking on the identity of Spider-Man, speculation soon arose. With the recent Clone Saga in issues 97-105, many felt the easy solution would be for a clone to step in and take over. Despite the mishandling of the original Clone Saga, many (including myself) still have a fondness for Peter Parker's clone, Ben Reilly. But Ultimate Ben Reilly was a completely different character.

Other possibilities included Peter's female clone, Jessica Drew as well as Kitty Pryde (who developed her own new crimefighting identity and powers). Fans that have been reading Ultimate Spider-Man didn't want him to die. Because it did happen, it wouldn't be surprising if the general consensus was for someone close to Peter to take over the mantle of Spider-Man.

Only that isn't what is happening here.

== TEASER ==

We have been introduced to the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, in the pages of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4. As soon as it was announced, everyone was asking, "Miles who?" We have a completely new character. Someone not related to Spider-Man. Someone that has nothing to do with him...and that's okay.

Spider-Man is an iconic character and with all the different series he's had over the years, it feels as if there have been so many different stories told about the character. Now we have the opportunity to see completely new adventures with someone that isn't Peter Parker. That may be hard for Spider-Man fans but because Brian Michael Bendis has brilliantly spearheaded the direction of Ultimate Spider-Man for over 160 issues (including annuals), I have no problem accepting a new person as Spidey.

People are used to Peter Parker as Spider-Man. But we did have Miguel O'Hara as Spider-Man 2099. There's also been other characters that have successfully stepped into the superhero boots (or booties) of others such as Bucky Barnes as Captain America, Dick Grayson as Batman, Cassandra Cain as Batgirl, Tim Drake as Robin and so on. We've even seen, in the Ultimate Universe, future Wolverine as Cable. That's part of what the Ultimate Universe is about, things are similar but can get extremely different.

Of course the bigger issue with the new Spider-Man may lie in his ethnicity. We no longer have a white Spider-Man. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso stated they "knew it had to be a character that represents the diversity—in background and experience—of the twenty-first century..." Diversity in comics has recently become a hot topic. The reality is comic readers come from different ethnic backgrounds. Why shouldn't comic book superheroes follow the same suit?

Often the argument has been that those in the minority have a hard time relating to characters outside of their ethnicity. That wasn't the case for myself but I can understand how this could be the case for many. New York City has always been the ultimate melting pot of races and it is about time that today's comics reflect that. As long as it isn't a forced issue.

For this new kid to truly be worthy of the Spider-Man mantle, it has to come down to him believing "with great power comes great responsibility." As long as Bendis stays true to what what Spider-Man is about, the person under the mask should not be an issue. It will be great that others will be able to relate to him but the last thing we need is a character full of racial stereotypes, something that Bendis would not do. When I first started reading Iron Man in the 80s, Rhodey had replaced Tony Stark. It didn't make a bit of difference. We still had great Iron Man stories.

Bendis took the concept of Spider-Man and gave it a modern twist in Ultimate Spider-Man. This is just the next step. What is Miles' connection to Peter Parker? How did he get his powers and why does it seem he's unaware of his powers' full extent? That's part of the fun and mystery readers will get to discover in the new series. Death may be a semi-permanent thing in the Ultimate Universe but there have been a couple characters that have managed to cheat death. Marvel may be firm that Peter Parker truly is dead but we all know there's still the possibility he could return. For all we know Nick Fury has taken Peter's remains and a way to bring him back is being looked into. There are so many ways Peter could return someday.

As much as I enjoyed Bendis' take on Peter, I'm okay with this next chapter of Spider-Man. Let's find out what Miles is all about and capable of. If he's a success, that means we get the joy of reading another great new character. If he flops, maybe we'll see the return of Peter sooner than anyone planned. Spider-Man is no longer a white kid, so what. Let's see how this new Spidey handles the dangers and adventures coming his way. It shouldn't make an ounce of difference what race this new Spider-Man is. As long as he doesn't start shooting villains with a gun or develops the ability to breathe underwater, I believe that Bendis will write his as Spider-Man and Miles will step up and accept the mantle.

#1 Posted by RainEffect (3240 posts) - - Show Bio

Very well written article. I enjoyed that read. 
Honestly, I think Marvel is trying to be too politically correct lately. It's not necessary. I'm not saying I'm against ethnically diverse heroes, but Marvel shouldn't feel they need to bend to the political spectrum.

#2 Posted by Hairywolf25 (24 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not sure about non white spiderman
#3 Posted by Pokeysteve (8300 posts) - - Show Bio

Spider-Man being Latino is a lot better than the black Wonder Woman we almost got a while ago.......yes Beyonce, I'm talking about you. 

#4 Posted by Paragon (7293 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's awesome! Now Donald Glover (From Community) can be Spider-Man without people freaking out about how "Spider-Man isn't black!!!!!"
Donald also thinks this is awesome, according to his twitter.

#5 Posted by MrNekro (60 posts) - - Show Bio

Great read. 
The race factor is even getting major media attention.  I don't have a major problem with it.  I mean, I really liked Peter Parker.  But it will be interesting getting to know this new character.  Looking forward to it.

#6 Posted by jerfro23 (97 posts) - - Show Bio

I belive race dosent matter as long as there is a good writter any one can become a great comic book charcter
#7 Posted by Girth (1041 posts) - - Show Bio
@RainEffect said:
  Honestly, I think Marvel is trying to be too politically correct lately. It's not necessary. I'm not saying I'm against ethnically diverse heroes, but Marvel shouldn't feel they need to bend to the political spectrum.
#8 Posted by Nerx (15088 posts) - - Show Bio

As long as his race is not the primary aspect of the character, I dont want a (insert race here) with issues being a superhero. I want an great hero written well who happens to be a (insert race here). It doesn't matter if he is purple or even an alien but as long as he is a good character.

#9 Posted by Fullmetalcrow (6 posts) - - Show Bio

well i think he should of been american because he marvels most iconic hero and i think it may seem disrespictful 
#10 Posted by Skaddix (3114 posts) - - Show Bio

What are u talking about Crow? He is still American.

#11 Posted by J1ml33 (540 posts) - - Show Bio

To Quote the Rock : It doesn't Matter !

#12 Posted by The_Tree (7464 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm fine, it's not like they're turning Peter Parker black, I see it as them creating a person to replace Spider-Man, and he just so happens to be black/latino.

#13 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm still wishing this guy's actually Ben Reilly from waaaaaaaaaay back in the first issues of Ultimate Spidey. Only under a new name/nickname.

#14 Posted by Planewalker (326 posts) - - Show Bio

For me it doesn't work I can't relate to a non white Spidey but I'm sure lots of people will enjoy the idea 

#15 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't mind, I'm just disappointed that Bendis made a brand new character to take Peter's place. However, I am looking forward to the new series.

#16 Posted by CanucksXVX (53 posts) - - Show Bio

it shouldnt matter at all, its just just people getting mad over stupid things like the women getting mad over the lack of women at dc right now
#17 Posted by saiyan_earthling (5444 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sure things will work out soon.

#18 Posted by Deadcool (6810 posts) - - Show Bio

No, I never cared for the new Spider-man's race, what I actually cared is in his name and if he was a character that already existed, for me, being a random character with a random name was what make me feel a little sad, but then I imaginated the posibilities and I started to like the idea... 
I would love that at least he was named Miguel O'Hara ;_;... 
#19 Posted by imblackjames (275 posts) - - Show Bio

it shouldnt matter what so ever but people are stupid....they need something to freak out about so they chose this

#20 Posted by robokungfu (177 posts) - - Show Bio

It doesn't matter but I feel like Marvel killed off Peter and then added the new kid just to be "controversial." Marvel has made his race his main characteristic. He'll be known as "the latino spider-man" instead of standing out for being a good character for a while. I could be wrong in the long run, though. 

#21 Posted by fitchy101 (205 posts) - - Show Bio

I have no qualms with this, I like the direction this is going in. I think I would definitely be more annoyed if a hero who wasn't white, was replaced by someone who was....

#22 Posted by chee2424 (7 posts) - - Show Bio

I love this, sort of but I'll take what I can get. This is a Huge move to make one of the most quintessential characters in all of marvel Black and hispanic its great. My only issue is by having him mixed by two minorities sounds like a cheap way to make blacks and hispanics happy.  I didn't feel that marvel had enough minority heroes but to make spiderman black and hispanic is a HUGE move. The only move bigger to make superman mixed or a minority. 

#23 Posted by Nuec_Sol (188 posts) - - Show Bio
I haven't heard anything about Miles Morales not being an American.
#24 Posted by Spiderslike (652 posts) - - Show Bio

As a black man I have some misgivings about his race because I feel that it is disingenuous. I just can't get over that closeness between Donald Glovers campaign and this debut. I'm sure I'll get over it in the long run as I have with much of what happens in comics but more to the point I also bring up the very well know topic of how long will this last. Yes the ultimate universe is new and characters seem to stay dead longer than normal but that doesn't really have to be the case. Ultimate Beast, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Thor, Valkryie Angel Magneto and probably more have suffered the comic book death where one way or another they where dead and then weren't. Although some of these did die in ultimatum truthfully it has only been about 2 years since and marvel has a habit of bring back characters after only a few years if even a year of death. To sum it up does it matter a little will we get over more than likely will it last probably not. 

#25 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio
#26 Posted by leokearon (1803 posts) - - Show Bio

I have no problems with this, storytelling wise. 
Still I can't help feeling that is just part of a marketing gimmick just like DC's whole ethnically diverse heroes they did back with the Blue Bettle and Atom a couple of years ago
#27 Posted by ragdollpurps (15572 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
That's one of the most wonderful things I've seen today.
#28 Posted by Spiderslike (652 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
It's a wonderful ideal that I still feel hasn't come to pass but hope does
#29 Posted by SammyGabryl (84 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the decision to create a new spider-man. If they had chosen to make jessica jones, ben reilly or even miguel o'hara the new ultimate spider-man, they would still be remembered as spider-woman, clone spider-man or spider-man 2099, respectively. With Miles Morales we've got a blank slate. The ultimate universe has stopped being cannon with the normal MCU and has become a creature all it's own. 
and as far for the people who've got a problem with his race just quit reading.

#30 Posted by Joesoef95 (315 posts) - - Show Bio

Spider-Man is my hero since I was very little. Especially Ultimate Spidey. Ultimate Spider-man was one of the first english comics I've read, and the only series I follow really closely.
I remember Stan Lee said that the reason he gave Spidey a full mask (which was unique for the time) was so that any kid from any race, can imagine themselves as The Friendly Neighborhood Spider. As a Southeast Asian, I agree.
I miss Peter Parker, but I'm willing to give this new character a chance.

#31 Posted by DarkShadows (742 posts) - - Show Bio

Race doesn't matter as long as the writers does a great job.

#32 Posted by allstarchild (7 posts) - - Show Bio

Race doesn't matter 
but how jerk he going to be IS MATTER!!!!

#33 Posted by sesquipedalophobe (4732 posts) - - Show Bio

All I know is that my nephew is psyched about the new Ultimate Spider-Man, which makes me psyched given what he deals with as opposed to what I dealt with growing up. This is for the younger enthusiasts, not the older critics.

#34 Edited by Teerack (6323 posts) - - Show Bio

I kinda like the idea of spider man being a nerdy white kid from queens.

#35 Posted by Musedp (79 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoyed this article very much, you raise some excellent points, and i couldn't be happier that we get to welcome a new spider man, and hopefully some new readers, which we all know the comic industry needs. however i can see where alot of the hostility comes from, losing peter is, for some, like losing a chunk of their childhood, but the people that are having a problem with this might need to get over it and embrace the change.

#36 Edited by Shaanyboi (67 posts) - - Show Bio

Short answer:  No

Long answer:  Here's a better question; Is this the point we've reached?  Now SPIDER-MAN has to be subjected to the pathetic joke that is comic-book deaths, with a bunch of people taking their place?

"Man I love Spider-Man!  Peter Parker is so relateable, I can totally see why he's lasted so long!"
"Umm... you mean Miles Morales, right?"

*2 weeks later*

"Hey so I finally read up on this Morales guy!  He's not bad."
"Morales is old news.  Peter Parker is back as Spider-Man."

Comic books... *facepalm*

#37 Posted by SuperXAsh (510 posts) - - Show Bio

i think some of the vitrol comes from how this all came about. Peter Parker's adventures in the Ultimate Universe were one of the nice (and well-written) constants in what had become a very mixed bag of a product (quality-wise) post-Ultimatum. People were worried when it looked like he had died during Ultimatum. 
*shrugs* or maybe it just comes across to some as the most silliest/ham-fisted excuse to introduce a minority hero at the expense of another. I mean, what stopped them from just making Miles as a new character? The Ultimate universe could use some new/original creations. 
*shrugs* so some of it might not really be about his race but the circumstances surrounding his creation/introduction.

#38 Posted by Gunslinger6 (51 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't have any problem with him being black, I like that they try to make superheroes different from each other in every possible way. What I don't like is Marvel killing Peter Parker only to make room for a black character as a main superhero. It's a cheap business trick to get minorities read their books. Seems like the shareholders killed Spidey and took over the whole storytelling from writers. I would have loved it if they announced a cool new black superhero, Parker's death was completely unnecessary.

#39 Posted by Wingfoot (98 posts) - - Show Bio

Hi ! 
Ethnicity is not the real problem (it's not a problem at all, though). Problem is, even in the Ultimate universe, you cannot deal with the icons, at least permanently. Spider-Man is Peter parker and Peter Parker is Spider-Man : not a clone, an alter-ego, a girl or anything else. The same with DC.
Remember the Spidey's black suit, remember the Superman's new haircut... 
Hihane washte.
#40 Posted by Deadcool (6810 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:

#41 Posted by johnnie619 (199 posts) - - Show Bio

i dont care that he's black not a big deal. but when it comes to the movies of the 616 spider-man he needs to be white sorry but thats just me
#42 Posted by ltbrd (562 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm going to enjoy seeing what this brings to the Miles side of the character. We all know Peter Parker and what his priorities and interests are so it will be interesting to see what they do with Miles. 
As I said during the first article of Miles identity being confirmed this is not the first time Marvel has used a non-white character as a spider figure. Both Miquel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099) and Anya Corazon (first Arana and now Spider-Girl) have been great successes for Marvel. One of the reasons for this has been the ease of which Marvel blends in each character's ethnicity with the life of a superhero. Miquel's costume was inspired by what he wore to the Day of the Dead. A bit of Anya's family values and beliefs are a huge reflection of her ethnicity. Yet in neither case was ethnicity shoved into the readers face or brought up over and over again. 
In the end I trust Marvel with this decision because they've been doing non-white, non-American or American-esque characters much better and longer than DC and have the track record of not making ethnic character ridiculous (add Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Black Panther and others the list) and forced on the reader. 
Last point.......I'm glad they didn't go with Miquel O'Hara for the new Spider-Man because I'd rather see an Ultimate version of him in the 2099 timeline vice pulled to the present simply for the name. However it could be interesting if Miles' identity became known quickly and rather than go through the pain that Parker did S.H.I.E.L.D recommends an identity change to Miquel O'Hara.
#43 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio

When I see a person, I do see their skin color. I'm not afraid to admit it. Because I'm smart enough to know that acknowledging the differences alone doesn't make you a bigot. There are so many things that make up 'self', and ethnicity is one of them. We are beautifully complex creatures, and nothing is wrong with observing and appreciating the details that weave our uniqueness.  
Now, on to the business of diversity being "shoved down our throats", and "comics making a big deal about it," 'cuase I'm lost. I am seriously without a clue as to what most people mean by that. In real life, I'm sorry, but going back to all these different things that make a 'self', some of these things can be observed with the casual eye about an individual, and those things can and sometimes does effect how society treats them. If that were to happen, would that be "shoving it in your face?" It doesn't have to happen in every single panel. But, completely glossing over some of the awkward moments and un-niceties the world offers becomes a little stale and misses out on opportunities for character development. 
In the early days of comics, minorities did not have the buying power that they have now. The demographic that did often would buy what would allow them to indulge in a power fantasy of seeing their super-selves being great, mighty, and heroic. In abundance. They were specifically catered to because quite simply, they had the economic buying power. Today, that demographic is ever decreasing and almost everything else is growing, not only in number, but in buying power as well.  
    While so many are crying "political correctness", please keep in mind: the comic industry is dying. And if dying is too strong a word, let's just say that it's not making the money it did ten to twenty years ago. It's a mad dash to figure out how to save it. "Should we re-number our books to be more friendly to those who may be intimidated by decades of long and complex continuity? 'Why, by god, we may never know until we try!'" "Should we make our comics more easily available to the iPad/Kindle/iPhone generation of e-readers?? 'Comics on-the-go?? Why, that's a splendid idea!!'" "Have you noticed that there are more people who don't read comics than there are who do, and a lot of the ones who don't, do not look like our heroes...could they some how feel...left out?? 'Why, the Census Bureau Reports have been saying that before 2050, the US will be minority-majority nation. Let's make comics that reflect the world as it really is today, and tomorrow!! TO THE FUTURE!!!'" 
    For the comics industry, it's about survival. There is a reason why they renumber. Why they have event after event. Why they deliberately "spoil." Why they do controversial things like change the ethnicity of characters. It's because half the time, all they have to do is mention it once, and it starts a wild fire of controversy. They don't have to shove anything down your throat, you will do it for them. In chat rooms. On blog sites. On social networking sites. Moan and complain. We are nerds. We show our love for the things we enjoy by trying to posses encyclopedic knowledge of the things we celebrate and treat the beloved source material like scripture. Most nerds are afraid of change. It's who we are. But the world is changing. Evolving. So should we. Because if we keep treating comics like the "He-Man woman Haters Club", we are going to be inside that thing when it burns down, while everyone else is just looking at us like the Dodo.  
    Too many of us are treating comics like Lenny does rabbits in 'Of Mice And Men.' "George, I just want to pet it, and rub it, and treat it like my very own". And then you wind up killing the damn thing in your hand. Open up your palm. Relax.  Breathe. Let new readers who may not have previously been interested in comics in so the industry can stay alive. Otherwise, what can I say, but, "it's been real."

#44 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio

Did anyone comment on Donald Glover?  He wanted to be Spider-Man and how that is possible. 

#45 Posted by MilosR (3 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't care if he's black, blue, yellow or green.... Stories matter... Like Stan Lee said: anyone can be Spider-man, skin color doesn't matter.... Peter Parker IS white and that shouldn't change, but new character like Miles isn't a problem... I'm hoping this works...

#46 Posted by LordRequiem (1315 posts) - - Show Bio

I think some won't agree just because they're used to seeing a white spidey. It does seem a little forced. Personally I've never really followed the Ultimate universe, I understand that Spidey was alot younger in this one, but my qualm is that this new character looks very young also, surely a changea in the status quo could mean a more aged one in this universe, not like spiderman: reign obviously lol (great story by the way).

#47 Posted by Z3RO180 (6547 posts) - - Show Bio
@Pokeysteve: I like the fact that they are makeing spider black cause it is a good step.And Beyonce in a ww costume i think i woudent be a bad idea.
#48 Posted by kagato (247 posts) - - Show Bio

Im not bothered to be honest, its the Ultimate Universe rather than the regular one, so as Tony says, things are similar but a little bit different. Im happy to see a different take on Spidey, heck they even changed Nick Furys colour in that universe so what difference does it really make? If hes still fighting the Goblin and cracking jokes hes still Spiderman to me.

#49 Posted by NightFang (10062 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
We can make it happen!
#50 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33407 posts) - - Show Bio

As I am not really getting any Marvel any more I will have to hear how this turns out through others but Peter obviousnly will be missed, he was probably one of the best thing about the Ult universe saying that I think the beginning of his superhero career was the best part of his story so it would be good to see how this new guy gets on, oh and race is irrelevant. 
@Osiris1428: I was going to follow you just from the epicness that is your post, but then I realized I already was lol

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