If you were on the internet at all this week, or watched any topical television shows, you may have heard that Marvel Comics has killed off one of their flagship characters, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. But, never fear, for there will be a new Spider-Man, and his name is Miles Morales, and he’s half-black, half-Hispanic.
And with that simple decision to change the race of a superhero, all of America’s clandestine racists exploded out of their closets of hate to leave horrible, disgusting comments on articles reporting on the change.
Of course, this is a non-issue. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, really.
For starters, the comic this happened in is titled “Ultimate Fall-Out.” Marvel’s “Ultimate” line of comics (meaning, all Marvel comics that start with the word Ultimate, like Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men) take place in an alternate universe that’s entirely separate from the Spider-Man tale that has been going on since Stan Lee created the character in 1962. The Ultimate Universe, as it’s called, was created in 2000, and it was created as a means to re-launch all of Marvel’s most popular heroes – the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Spider-Man — starting their franchises over from the beginning, updating their stories and setting them in the modern day. Doing this ensured that any person – child or adult — that saw a movie based off the characters could jump right in to the comics and pick up somewhere near where the movie left off and not have to deal with 4 decades worth of continuity. The Ultimate line is a clean slate. Or, it was at one point.
Eventually, the Ultimate line became a place where comic book writers felt free to experiment with the characters, seeing as they had no connection to the main line of comics. Case in point: in the Ultimatum mini-series, writer Jeph Loeb killed off tons of classic Marvel characters, including Daredevil, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Professor X, and about another two-dozen popular characters. Why? Because in the Ultimate Universe you can do that kind of thing and there will be no nerd backlash. These aren’t the same characters that have been around for decades. These aren’t the same people we’ve gotten used to seeing and hearing about our entire lives.
So, Peter Parker dies, yet Spider-Man – Ultimate Spider-Man, that is – lives on, just now he’s as a half-black, half-Hispanic kid. Why? Because why the hell not? This is the Ultimate Universe. You can do whatever you want with these characters. Let’s see what kind of stories we’ll get when a kid of a completely different socio-economic background than Peter Parker has to face the fact that great power comes with great responsibility, and that sometimes you’re a spider.
Of course, there is a certain degree of pop-cultural hypocrisy going on here. Where were these same idiotic internet commenters when, say, this happened…
This is a side-by-side comparison of the cast from the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and their film counterparts. No one is the right race. The brown people have been converted in to white people, as has the Asian kid, and the one brown person in the cast was originally Asian in the cartoon. It’s a racial clusterf*ck.
How about this?
That’s Goku from the Dragon Ball-Z movie. He went from Asian to sub-urban white kid. How much of a controversy did this spark? None controversy. Zero controversy. There may have even been a negative number of controversy.
The point here is, shut the f*ck up. Seriously. If you have a problem with Peter Parker getting killed off and replaced with a mixed race kid, just shut the f*ck up. There’s no amount of prefacing your statements with “…I’m not a racist, but…” that will save you from sounding like a racist when you complain about this. For so long black and Hispanic kids haven’t had a Spider-Man to identify with on a racial level, and now they do. If you have a problem with that, again, I reiterate, shut the f*ck up.
Oh, and one more thing: this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the Ultimate Universe. Nope! Not at all! Do you know who this is?
That’s Nick Fury – all lily white and angry. Or, at least, that was Nick Fury in the original Marvel continuity. Here’s what he looks like in the Ultimate Universe…
He’s Sam F*cking Jackson – pissed off and bad as f*ck. And now he’s played by Sam F*cking Jackson in every movie Marvel Studios produces, which means he will be the world’s Nick Fury for a long, long time. When members of the non-comic book-reading general public think of Nick Fury, they will think of a black man that’s all about this…
…instead of a white guy that’s all about this…
Again, I reiterate, shut the f*ck up, and I think the real Sam Jackson would probably agree with me.