Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Comics | In a post subtitled “Why the new biracial Spider-Man matters,” David Betancourt shares his reaction to the news that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-black, half-Latino: “The new Ultimate Spider-Man, who will have the almost impossible task of replacing the late Peter Parker (easily one of Marvel Comics most popular characters), took off his mask and revealed himself to be a young, half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales. When I read the news, I was beside myself, as if my brain couldn’t fully process the revelation. My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me? This is a moment I never thought I’d see. But the moment has arrived, and I — the son of Puerto Rican man who passed his love of comics to me, and a black woman who once called me just to say she’d met Adam West — will never forget that day.”
Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese studio responsible for offbeat animated explanations of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and The Dark Knight Rises teaser, has moved quickly to address the announcement of a half-black, half-Latino Spider-Man. But NMA wants to know why Spider-Man couldn’t be Asian “or, better yet, Taiwanese.”
“There are few well-known Asian superheroes,” the narrator says. “The most recent was Kato in The Green Hornet, which bombed at the box office. Asians traditionally have been portrayed as villains, such as Fu Manchu characters or dastardly dragon ladies. Asia’s time in the superhero spotlight is long overdue. What are you waiting for, Marvel?”
As sometimes happens when comic-book story developments become mainstream-media sensations, the official announcement yesterday that Marvel’s new Ultimate Spider-Man is a biracial teen named Miles Morales has turned into a game of Telephone, with information added and dropped as the message goes along.
It didn’t take long for London’s Daily Mail to jump from Spider-Man has a half-black, half-Latino teen to a half-black, half-Latino teen … who “could be gay in the future”: “Fans will have to wait until the official Spider Man relaunch next month to find out how he came to be the superhero. But another surprise could be in the pipeline after his creators said that in the future they would not rule out making him gay.”
As best as I can tell, the sole basis for that is a quote from USA Today in which Ultimate Spider-Man artist Sara Pichelli says, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay — or both — hero will be considered something absolutely normal.” It’s not exactly the same thing, is it? Doesn’t matter, though, as it’s good enough for Matt Drudge to declare that the Spider-Man “reincarnation” “could be gay.”
For the record, a Marvel spokesman was unambiguous when he confirmed for CBR News that Miles Morales isn’t gay.
Still, a blogger for the gay magazine Instinct is pleased with the possibility, writing that “though my money was on Robin as the first mainstream superhero to come out, I’ll be nothing but in awe if Marvel makes the great webbed one bat, err, spider, for our team!”
Meanwhile, Glenn Beck has weighed in on the new Spider-Man, saying, “Do I care if he’s half-Hispanic, all Hispanic? No. Half-black, half — I really don’t care. Half-gay, all gay, I don’t really care. … I don’t care. It’s a stupid comic book.” However, what he does care about is that … Michelle Obama is somehow — somehow! — behind the “half-black, half-Hispanic gay Spider-Man.”
“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
A little more than a year ago, journalist and comics writer Marc Bernardin penned an editorial wondering why the Spider-Man in Sony’s movie-franchise reboot had to be played by a white actor, inspiring actor/comedian Donald Glover to spearhead an online campaign to secure an audition. The role eventually went to Andrew Garfield, of course, but Glover’s lobbying effort inadvertently ignited a disturbing Internet firestorm that Community creator Dan Harmon later characterized as a “curious eruption of a previously unknown demographic of racist comic-book readers.”
It wasn’t one of fandom’s shining moments. But fast forward 14 months, to the 49th anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance — that’s right, Amazing Fantasy #15 hit newsstands this week in 1962 — and the introduction of the new Spider-Man of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. Caution: Spoilers follow for those who haven’t seen the countless newspaper and website articles on the subject.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
I’ll be honest: The first thing I’d do with my $15 this week would be to buy Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (Marvel, $3.99), just to finally see Peter Parker die. This storyline has seemed so drawn out and by the numbers that it’s pretty much killed my interest in the series, and I’m hoping that the final issue either has a last-minute turnaround that makes everything worthwhile, or else provides some weird karmic payback by finally living up to its title. Much less bloodthirstily, I’d also grab the first issue of David Hahn’s All Nighter (Image, $2.99), which rescues what was, I believe, a one-time Minx book and looks like an awesome mash-up of Stuart Immonen, Jaime Hernandez and, unexpectedly, Steve Rolston. In other words, pretty damn great. Finally, I’d pick up Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search For Swamp Thing #1 (DC, $2.99), for curiosity value if nothing else. I mean, John Constantine in a DCU book? How odd can that actually get?
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d get Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish ($3.50) to see Hellboy fight some giant robots in space, Salt Water Taffy, Volume 4: Caldera’s Revenge ($5.99) to see Jack and Benny sign aboard a spooky ship in search of a Moby Dick-like whale, and Sweets #5 (2.99) to see Kody Chamberlain wrap up his delicious New Orleans murder mystery.
[Editor’s Note: Due to technical issues, Carla’s column from last Friday was delayed until today.]
It is more fun to announce things at comic conventions where there’s a live audience to ooh and ahh at all the new and exciting products you’re putting out than it is to post it on the internet. It’s the difference between selling your car in a showroom as opposed to an ad on Craigslist. I’m sure there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, so feel free to fill it in for yourself, but the point remains. So that’s why we didn’t get the Marvel Comics solicitations for June 2011 when we usually do; as all the other kids down the block showed off their upcoming new comics, Marvel waited until C2E2 was over because the big show came first.
Or so I thought.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Marvel Comics has unleashed the full power of their June line-up. They weren’t waiting for the live announcements to go first, they were keeping their readership safe from the imminent disasters that will befall us in the future! They were protecting us! They had only our safety in mind and now the true story can be told! I present the June 2011 solicitation list that will very nearly END EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT!!!
Anyone prone to heart conditions, seizures or who could be pregnant, read the following list of colossal entertainment at your own risk. These comics are rated M for “Oh MY God, these comics will crack the internet in half!”
Marvel announced this week that starting in February, the comics carrying the “Death of Spider-Man” arc will be available digitally via the Marvel app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch on the same day they are released in print. The specific issues are Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #153 and 154 and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1.
Marvel got the day-and-date train rolling in October, releasing Ultimate Comics Thor #1 in print and digital on the same day, and on January 5, Ultimate Comics Captain America #1 will follow suit. According to ICv2, Ultimate Comics Thor #1 sold almost 50,000 copies in the direct market, although that number dropped to just under 32,000 for issue 2.
If Marvel is trying to protect the direct market, it’s certainly going about it the right way. Continue Reading »
I’ll tell you what else… I’m actually seeing things in [work for hire] comics now that I was doing seven or eight years ago. Not just techniques, but actual ideas. I love me some Fraction, but seeing that Tony Stark wants to “change the world” by manufacturing a car that isn’t dependent on gasoline and runs on a possibly limitless energy source that only he can provide… where have I seen that before? Grant Morrison, of all people, had the confidence and the grace to name check me in a Wired magazine interview when it comes to whatever minor contribution I’ve made to the “corporate” angle in modern comics, but he seems to be the only one. And there are other little things I see here and there that I recognize as having done myself, ten years ago. Things that are so specific, I know where they came from, I know it’s not just coincidence. Now before certain people go crazy because I dared say that… no one should read this as me being at all bitter, because I actually think it’s fine. Let ‘em all pick at the bones of the carcasses I chased down and slaughtered in the field… I’m on to the next kill. I certainly did it with the creators that I dug when I was a newbie. It’s just weird to be on the other side of it. Any creators out there who don’t think we all share the same ideaspace are deluding themselves.
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.
In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.
Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.
• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.
IGN and joystiq are both reporting that Activision has confirmed the final “dimension” that players can take Spider-Man through in the upcoming Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions game — the Ultimate Universe, where he will, indeed, wear the black suit found on the box cover. Spidey will take on both Carnage and Deadpool in the Ultimate level; click on the links for more info.
The game arrives Sept. 7.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Justin Aclin, editor of ToyFare magazine and writer of Hero House and S.H.O.O.T. First, which you can read on MySpace Dark Horse Presents. To see what Justin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
Very busy writer Brian Michael Bendis became an even busier writer this weekend. With little fanfare — it “happened by accident” — Bendis spent over an hour on Saturday answering reader questions via his Twitter account.
The 125-message micro-interview cost him some followers, irritated Warren Ellis (not really), and was eventually cut off by Twitter, but by the time all was said and done some interesting info had hit the Internet courtesy of his tweets.
First up, Bendis spilled the beans on a trio of upcoming projects with familiar collaborators:
* Bendis and his Daredevil: Wake Up partner David Mack will reunite for a new Hornhead project, Daredevil: End of Days, next summer. The project was first announced in February 2007, with Bendis and Mack as co-writers and art from Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkewicz, and Klaus Janson. (Daredevil will also appear in New Avengers #60.)
* Look for a creator-owned crime project from Bendis and his Daredevil and Spider-Woman collaborator Alex Maleev next summer.