Is Marvel’s new ethnic Spider-Man a cop-out?

Marvel's "Ultimate" series introduces an ethnic Spidey, but keeps its traditional web-slinger white

Topics: Comic Books, Books,

Is Marvel's new ethnic Spider-Man a cop-out?Introducing Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spider-Man.(Credit: Anonymous)

Spider-Man has a new face, and it’s not Andrew Garfield’s. Even though Marvel is still in the early stages of promoting “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the franchise’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” series will introduce a new character this week to take over Peter Parker’s great powers and responsibilities.

Miles Morales is a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager. Ultimate Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis claims he’s based on Donald Glover, the “Community” actor whose viral campaign failed to net him the web-slinging role in the new movie.

Though the two actors have hugged it out, some fans have grumbled that Garfield was chosen to avoid the controversy that “Thor” attracted when it cast black actor Idris Elba in the role of Norse god Heimdall. The Council of Conservative Citizens issued a boycott of Kenneth Branagh’s superhero movie, and although most people chalked it up to a ridiculous racist stunt on the Council’s part, the boycott may have received enough media attention to make Marvel wary.

Then again, this wouldn’t be the first time a major comic-book character had his or her ethnicity changed for a film adaptation: Halle Berry took over Catwoman in 2004, and Samuel L. Jackson successfully changed the race of S.H.I.E.L.D. general Nick Fury in “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and the upcoming “Avenger” films, as well as the Ultimate Marvel comic universe. Once a cigar-chomping white guy, Fury now looks exactly like Jackson in the comics.



Before we get too excited about Morales and Fury, however, let’s remember that these two characters have only been updated in this Ultimate continuum, which reimagines preexisting superheroes in an alternate universe scenario. So Peter Parker will still be behind the mask in the mainstream “Spider-Man” series, but in the “Ultimate” universe he’s died and his powers transferred to Morales.

It seems like a cop-out: Why can’t Morales exist in the traditional Marvel comics? What do you think? Is the new Spidey a progressive change for Marvel, or just a way to appease some fans while still keeping with tradition?

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Bulldog

    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Beagle

    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Poodle

    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Boxer

    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Rottweiler

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>