Robot 6

Quote of the day | The ‘veiled weirdness’ of reactions to Miles Morales

“It would have been nice if we were past certain places in people’s hearts about race. That kind of surprised me. There was a lot of veiled weirdness. What I could completely appreciate is, ‘I love Peter Parker as Spider-Man, what the hell are you doing?’ Completely with you on that. When it goes into that area where they think it’s affirmative action, or like Glenn Beck said about Michelle Obama making us do this, that was weird. I did not expect that. What I was more mad about was this dismissive, ‘Oh, it’s only a comic book, who cares?’ thing that was coming out of Glenn Beck. I’m like, ‘Hey. Now you’re making me mad. This isn’t just a comic. This is pop art, man. This is our culture. How dare you, sir!'”

– writer Brian Michael Bendis, discussing reaction in the mainstream media
to the introduction of Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic 13-year-old,
as the new (Ultimate) Spider-Man



I got a little miffed about this too, but I just try to remember that it’s just a stupid Glenn Beck and it doesn’t matter. He’s much more upset about the villiany of Michelle Obama, who seems like the sweetest lady on earth, and earth includes my own mother.

Oh, that we could only say “it’s only Glenn Beck, who cares?”

Miles is only 13? That will add another dynamic I wasn’t aware of.

Only 13? Child Labor Laws!

Ok, more seriously, I’ve been loosely following this, and think it’s a gutsy move (even if it’s ‘just’ the Ultimates) to kill Peter Parker and have someone else decide to take up the mantle.

That said… The ogre in the room is did Marvel/Bendis decide to go with Miles ethnic background because of the new stories they could tell from his perspective as a minority? Or did they decide ‘we need more ‘heroes of colour’ so let’s make him mulato!’*

If the former, then I applaud it from the story telling aspect. If the later… then how isn’t it affirmative action?

I’ll be picking this up initially, regardless. I’ve never messed with 1616, but the idea of “Kid decides the world needs a Spiderman” interests me.

Disclaimer: I’ve not read any articles explaining what factors went into deciding the character’s ethnic background. If anyone has links, that’s great.

*Does anyone really want to read my complaints about the lack of Left Handed superheroes? I mean if we’re going to argue bean counting…

Sorry, Bendis, it is “just a comic book” and you’re just a comic book writer.

The movies are part of pop culture. Comics aren’t much more than pimple on pop culture’s ass.

I don’t hate comics or anything like that. I love them and always will. I’m just realistic.

Reboot humor I forgot:

Does anyone else find it funny that 13 year old boy becoles Spider-MAN while 20 something Barbara becomes BatGIRL?

There’s plenty of interviews with Bendis explaining why they chose a mixed race kid, so i won’t post any particular links. But in short he basically said that America is a mixed bag of cultures and races, and the population of a place like New York in particular is incredibly mixed. Miles kind of represents that change. While it does lend itself to a different perspective, it’s still about this kid who, like Peter Parker, has an immense feeling of responsibility. Just read a preview and that little bit made me like Miles a lot.

Oh, and Glenn Beck is a douche. This is nothing new.

Thank you durkadurka. While I’ll disagree with you on Beck, thanks for the info. Miles being a reflection of a different America makes sense. :-) I hope the shop still has a copy when I get paid on Friday.

Another thing to keep in mind is that part of the idea for Miles’ character came out of Bendis seeing the documenary ‘Waiting for Superman’, about poor minority students trying to get into charter schools and the struggles of minority students in American school systems. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I think it’s an interesting idea to give the character an external struggle that isn’t a physical threat like a villian or soapish love life problems. I’ll probably be following in trades, but I am intersted in seeing where it goes.


Maybe you shouldn’t use phrases like “bean counting” when referring to an article about a Latino character. It may be semantics to you, but it carries other connotations to those of us who have been called beaners…

I find it funny that 30 seconds of bemusing in Glenn Becks day got so much reaction.

I loved the show Lost but I have a hard time getting mad about someone saying it’s just a TV show and from the Glenn Beck clip I heard I doubt the guy was all that serious or it would have led to more time on that show.

Completely with you on that. When it goes into that area where they think it’s affirmative action, or like Glenn Beck said about Michelle Obama making us do this, that was weird.

Those reactions are actually fairly reasonable, given that the series isn’t titled ULTIMATE MILES MORALES or AMAZING MILES MORALES. Morales is just a guy inside the costume, with the same feelings of responsibility, the same dedication to heroism, presumably, and so on, that a superhero of any race would have. When the costume is off, Bendis might write about Morales specifically, but that’s not racial self-expression. It’s a white guy writing about a fictional multiracial character.

If the color of the guy inside the costume doesn’t matter because he’s a hero, then the color doesn’t really matter much.


As soon as people stop using terms like ‘The Sinister Six’ I’ll worry about if someone wants to take the effort to take a common phrase “bean counting” as a racist statement.

“If the color of the guy inside the costume doesn’t matter because he’s a hero, then the color doesn’t really matter much.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – MLK

Isn’t that the world we aim for though?

Bendis doesn’t understand that the audience is smarter than he is.

Comic books have a terrible history when it comes to minority superheroes, so casting a mixed-race kid as Spider-Man is marketing and publicity and nothing else. And the audience knows that and doesn’t rise to the bait.

So never mind that. The important question is this: Is the story any good?

Isn’t that the world we aim for though?

That’s the world people get in formula fiction, in which the characters are interchangeable parts. The formula eliminates the differences between them. However, professions can eliminate racial differences too. Who expects skin color to affect how a firefighter performs? They all save lives.


it is only a comic book

Comic books, and all pop culture, are a reflection of the values and traits of a society. If you don’t pay attention to the pop culture you digest, you may be unaware of the values and traits your society holds.

The fact that this easily dismissed comic book got so much attention shows how important it is and showed us where folks stood on a lot of issues. I don’t understand how anyone could dismiss it. The fact anyone is talking about it is the evidence itself.


Well in my dream world, my heritage doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me. :-)

I was taking your post as saying ‘if the stories are good, and character driven it doesn’t matter Spider-Man’s ethnic roots.’ Which I was agreeing with.

Or to try to put it a better way, Peter Parker is a SPIDER MAN who is a white man. He’s not a WHITE MAN who is spider man.

Any one else feel like tarring and feathering Glenn Beck, then paddling him while making him say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” a la Animal House as punishment for his controversial accusations?

Fair’s fair Acer,

Get Al Sharpton, Michael Moore James Clyburn and Shelia Jackson Leigh first, then get back to Beck.

Livewire, as soon as one of those idiots says something bad about comic books they’ve never read, then we’ll have similar reactions. But as always, Beck’s taking something he knows nothing about and spinning it to something he does know, which is conservative propaganda.

How can it be “Affirmative Action” when he was created, not hired? It’s silly, and ignorant, to say that Michelle Obama had anything to do with this, and that Bendis created Miles with some liberal agenda. Is that to say that there aren’t kids in New York with his background? If race truly doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter.

I just consider inciting riots, propganda films, false accusations of racial slurs and telling a (large) segment of the American People to ‘go to hell’ a bit more dramatic than spouting off about a comic book. *shrug*

If this was the first time Glenn Beck had ever twisted things to his agenda then I’d have to agree, but that’s his job. They’re all in the same group to me, I don’t care which side they support. They’re all liars, fear-mongers, and propagandists. Just because Beck’s not necessarily worst doesn’t make him correct in what he does and says.

I get the impression you’re a republican, Livewire, and I certainly don’t find anything wrong with that. What I can’t stand, though, is someone like Glenn Beck taking something non-political, a Spider-Man comic, and making it signify some political agenda. Was the new Blue Beetle affirmative action? How about the All-New Atom? Did Michelle Obama have something to do with the new(er) Firestorm? Did she somehow demand that Static and Mister Terrific get their own ongoings?

My point is it’s silly, and politics needs to stay out of art.


I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to Beck that much, since I’m working, so I don’t have the context of the comments.

That being said, don’t get me started on the DCnU (Or just read my comments on Waller’s Weight Loss Program).

Politics have always been in art though, from Goya’s accurate paintings clear up to people complaining that Watoo was a horrid Jewish Sterotype. (Or, more relevantly, Archie Comics recent direction) Plus, it’s Bendis who’s saying it’s more than ‘Just a comic book’

If USM can tell good stories about a heroic kid, I don’t care what his heritage is.

I think I’m just sore because my dad LOVES Beck so whenever I go visit home he’s telling me how Superman hates America now because he became a liberal, or how Archie’s turning children into sexual deviants, or this whole Spider-Man thing.

I guess it’s not fair to ask politics to stay out of art when I don’t want art to stay out of politics. Oh well, I’m just hoping USM is good, too!

Reboot humor I forgot:

Does anyone else find it funny that 13 year old boy becoles Spider-MAN while 20 something Barbara becomes BatGIRL?

Not really since it’s part of the tradition of Marvel and DC. Stan Lee hated kid sidekicks and “kiddie” heroes. It’s why he killed Bucky. It’s also why Spider-Man, even though he was a teen of about 15 years old given that he was introduced as a high school sophomore, didn’t operate as a sidekick to an adult or call himself Spider-MAN and not Spider-boy or Spider-lad or anything like that.

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