Robot 6

Quote of the day | The appropriateness of Marvel’s new Spider-Man

Miles Morales in Ultimate Fallout #4

“New York City’s black and Latino residents comprise the majority of the population, and it is, after all, the blurring of those two regional cultures that produced the most important artistic movement in popular culture of the past 30 years. Yet despite the proliferation of New York superheroes, that culture has been largely absent from comics. There’s something fitting about the new Spider-Man being the kind of kid who has to worry about hiding his web-shooters from the odd stop-and-frisk search.”

Adam Serwer of The American Prospect,
on Marvel’s introduction of Miles Morales as the new (Ultimate) Spider-Man

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8 Comments

Simon DelMonte

August 3, 2011 at 8:36 am

I don;t think this is quite accurate. Minorities might be underrepresented, but I wouldn’t say “largely absent,” at least at Marvel. Clearly, the average citizen is not aware of Luke Cage, the Falcon, the White Tigers, Arana, etc. (Black Panther and Storm should be outside this list since they might live in NYC from time to time, but don’t represent its culture.)

Though this comment makes me wonder about Marvel and NYC’s other ethnic groups. This is a city of “minorities,” and yet outside Matt Murdock, there don’t seem to be any Irish American heroes of note (and I don’t think anyone has ever played with part of his character). I can’t name any Italian American heroes. And while Lee and Kirby were Jews like myself, the closest we came to seeing a Jewish hero was Ben Grimm, closeted as such for a very long time.

I don’t speculate about this as a criticism, just as an observation. For all Marvel’s efforts over the years to create a diverse universe – and in this area Marvel was far ahead of DC, with little things like Robby Robertson being city editor years before it was possible at a major newspaper as well as with Black Panther, etc. – the baseline of a 60s comic book company had to be a lot less diverse than the city it was set in.

The issue with most minorities is that by looks you cant tell. There are more Jewish character, Kitty Pryde, Batwoman, Iceman; and Kyle Rayner is Irish American. We dont know many of the heritages of heroes because it doesnt affect their characters. Being a different race matters big time as every that looks at the character knows it.

Kyle Rayner is Hispanic as well, Zach.

Honestly, as an African-American, I’m not really thrilled with minorities taking over the roles of traditionally white characters. It smacks of second-hand laziness (in that it’s easy) — plus it breeds dissension in fandom. I’d MUCH rather see brand-new minority characters. Plus, killing Ultimate Peter Parker was a dumb idea.

Kang the Conqueror

August 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

Am I the only one who remembers the first bi-racial/part Hispanic Spider-Man, Miguel O’Hara? That was back in 1992. Why is this even a big deal?

Really hoping this new Spider-Man is bi-sexual as well as bi-racial, so the right wing media REALLY get their knickers in a twist.

“And while Lee and Kirby were Jews like myself, the closest we came to seeing a Jewish hero was Ben Grimm”

Well, Andrew Garfield, who plays Spider-Man, is Jewish. And a lot of the other potential Spider-Mans were Jweish – Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anton Yelchin, and Alden Ehrenreich.

I care more about the actor than I do the character when it comes to movies, anyway. It’s not like an orange giant (Ben Grimm) is “Jewish” in any real way.

“It’s not like an orange giant (Ben Grimm) is “Jewish” in any real way.”

I’m not saying Ben’s appearance was in any way inspired by depictions of the golem – but you gotta admit, that’s some coincidence!

And he ain’t no giant. 5’8″, tops, but built like a brick wall.

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