June 24, 2015
Multi-racial character will officially take over as Spider-Man this fall
by Nick Davies
Major comic book publishers DC and Marvel have been slowly introducing more diversity into their titles in recent years. While there’s still a long way to go, the current iteration of Ms. Marvel is a young Muslim American woman, the Green Lantern has come out as gay, and Thor has been relaunched as a woman (or, more accurately, a goddess). Now, Ethan Sacks reports in an exclusive for New York’s Daily News, Marvel has announced the official launch of a biracial Spider-Man.
If you feel like you’ve heard this story before, you’re not (necessarily) crazy. The character Miles Morales—whose parents are African-American and Puerto Rican—has taken on the secret identity of Spider-Man since 2011 in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe series, in an alternate reality where the superhero’s better known alter-ego, Peter Parker, has died. Not to mention the campaign to get African-American actor Donald Glover cast in the lead role in more than one Spider-Man movie. Glover did voice the part of Morales in an animated TV series, but it was announced just yesterday that the latest in a series of approximately nineteen Peter Parkers will be played by British actor Tom Holland.
With this Spider-Man relaunch, though, Marvel is moving Morales out of the alternate timeline and into its “real” universe, alongside a grown up Parker serving as his mentor. Writer and co-creator Brian Bendis tells the Daily News, “Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.”
Bendis emphasizes the importance that Spider-Man has had to young comic book readers of color over the years, stating, “Many kids of color who when they were playing superheroes with their friends, their friends wouldn’t let them be Batman or Superman because they don’t look like those heroes but they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be under that mask. But now it’s true. It’s meant a great deal to a great many people.”
The relaunched Spider-Man, written by Bendis and drawn by Sarah Pichelli, will hit the shelves this fall.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.