Marvel Reveals Bi-Racial Spider-Man Character

Raju Mudhar, Toronto, August 2, 2011

Marvel has announced a new Spider-Man whose secret identity will be a mixed-race character.

A part of its Ultimates line, a series of comics that focus on contemporary reinterpretations of its famous heroes, Mile Morales, a half-black, half Hispanic teenager will become the new Spider-Man, and will make his first appearance in Ultimate Fallout. It will be released on Wednesday.

“The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility,” writer Brian Michael Bendis told USA Today, where the news was revealed. “He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means.”

In his first appearance, he breaks up a fight, but his origin and more of his personal story will be revealed in Ultimate Spider-Man #1, which is launching in September.

This is the world of comics, where different continuities and realities can coexist, so Peter Parker remains the hero we know in the regular ongoing Spider-Man series. But this kind of race switching of famous characters is not new for the Ultimates line, which famously changed Nick Fury into an African-American in its Avengers update series called The Ultimates, which launched in 2000. The way he was drawn seems to be inspired by actor Samuel L. Jackson; this is believed to have opened the door for the actor to play the role in the current set of Marvel Studios films.

The news of the new Spider-Man comes at a time when comic book companies are coming under increasing scrutiny of the representation of its characters. Last week, DC had to deal with online outrage over its lack of female creators and strong women characters starring in their own books.

DC is currently undergoing a revamp of its entire lineup, restarting several ongoing series with number 1, and cancelling many series and installing new creative teams. Laura Hudson, the editor of ComicsAlliance.com wrote a post last week noting that DC’s new shuffle had cut female creators from 12 per cent down to 1 per cent.

After DC’s editor-in-chief Dan Didio initially angrily responded to a fan’s question at Comic-Con about the representation, DC later responded on their blog about taking the concerns seriously.

On DC’s Source Blog, a post from last Friday read: “Over the past week we’ve heard from fans about a need for more women writers, artists and characters. We want you to know, first and foremost, that we hear you and take your concerns very seriously … We want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership. Can we improve on that? We always can–and aim to.”

As many comic characters are often in a state of flux–or from alternate realities–there have been several characters that have been rebooted with new ethnic origins. Two in recent memory include The Atom, whose fourth incarnation was Raymond Cho, an Asian scientist, and most recently Blue Beetle, who is Jamie Reyes, a Hispanic teen.

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  • sbuffalonative

    The news of the new Spider-Man comes at a time when comic book companies are coming under increasing scrutiny of the representation of its characters.

    After the white man works to create something unique and successful, non-whites have to muscle in.

    What blacks never seem to understand is that by complaining and not doing for themselves, all they get is a token nod. The character may be non-white, but the money will go to the creators, not the whiners.

    If successful, the white man still wins and gets the money. All blacks get is a character on newsprint.

  • Jack Cass

    This is just incredibly stupid, even by PC standards.

  • Anonymous

    “The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility,……”

    Responsiblity? Being half-black, half-hispanic, he’ll probably turn out more like this “Superhero”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Bottle

  • CDE

    Start up you own companies and create your own characters. Why is it that white males are expected to give up what we create?

  • Stiv

    I think Joe Quesada is responsible for most ridiculous changes like this at Marvel(big surprise)Even Stan Lee was not this left leaning. He was actually pretty conservative compared to the present day writers and editor in chief. I don’t think he has much to do with the hands on operations of the company anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so I don’t see any more spiderman movies or read the comics. I don’t know who they are aiming for as a target audience. Black ‘youff’ don’t read anything – even with big pictures, and latinos – well, they don’t speak English, nor do most of them read anything at all. That leaves whites and asians, and I don’t think asians read comic books with american or western themes.

  • Don

    Good for you spidey! Peter Parker has always been one of the blandest super alter-egos.

  • madison grant

    Note that instead of creating their own characters or starting their own comic companies, women and minorities demand that the white guys at Marvel, DC, etc. create “diverse” characters for them!

    What, do they secretly believe that white men are more creative than everyone else?

  • This Means War

    This is just an attempt to garner more business from minority groups and at the same time push multiracialism and diversity onto young readers and to try to gradually do away with the “White hero” ideal. It’s nothing new; they’ve been doing this to comic books, TV and movies for a long time. There have even been homosexual comic book characters. The cultural Marxists never rest in their war on traditional White values. Who knows what they will think of next?

  • flyingtiger

    Spidy as half black anmd half hispanic? They are trying to appeal to the two groups that hate to read. They forgotton the Captain American prequel where the first experiments of the super soldier formula was done on blacks. That series sold like a lead balloon.

    DC has a boatload of strong female characters. Wonder Woman! Supergirl! Power Girl! Black Canary! Saturn Girl! Barda! I could go on and on.

  • SunnyvaleSal

    My experience has been that most comic fans are White males, with Asian males being the next largest group. I occasionally look at my husband’s comics just to check out how PC and “anti-racist” they are, but I am not about to become a regular reader. And this is not influenced a bit by whether or not they are written by women.

    The few women who read comics have about the same interests as men — well, maybe they have less interest in large breasted females engaged in combat wearing outfits that are not at all practical for combat purposes — but they are NOT going to read a comic that is essentially a graphic novel version of a gender studies textbook.

    My guess is that Hispanics and Blacks are not going to become big comic book readers either. I know Hispanics that read about the fortunes of their home country soccer team, but I do not know any Blacks that read period. The new bi-racial Spiderman is not going to change any of this.

  • rockman

    If you want to have minority heros fine but create new characters for them like say a hispanic able to leap the border fence in a single bound or a black hero who passes his school test honestly.

  • Wake Me When You Go

    “A part of its Ultimates line, a series of comics that focus on contemporary reinterpretations of its famous heroes, Mile Morales, a half-black, half Hispanic teenager will become the new Spider-Man, and will make his first appearance in Ultimate Fallout. It will be released on Wednesday.”

    Oh Boy, I can’t wait to go to the movies and see this one…(sarcasm)

    I think I’m gonna be sick.

  • cpascal

    It’s incredible that anti-white sentiment has gotten so widespread that some people are even campaigning to have whites removed from comic books. And the reason why most comic book characters, writers, and artists are male is because it’s mostly males who are into comics.

  • John PM

    “This is the world of comics, where different continuities and realities can coexist, so Peter Parker remains the hero we know in the regular ongoing Spider-Man series.”

    In his third incarnation, due in 2012, he/she/it will be a morbidly obese Korean lesbian named Poto Pjong Il, with a effervescent penchant for endlessly cooking and consuming pirogies and strudels. Not much time for spinning webs and fighting crime….but this is the world of comics, where different continuities and realities can coexist… so without the hyper-masculine emphasis on suppressing the “class struggle,” Spider Bull will be mischievously rolled about in a barrel by its playmates Dr. Octomom and the Ganges Goblin while singing the Ladybug Waltz, in its downtime…

    Oh, I just feel my spidey sense tingling in anticipation of that….

    *KRONOS*

  • HH

    This is so lame. In a way it is art imitating life though. Rather than accomplish anything on their own, non-white “success” is often just an aping, and indeed theft of white achievement. So too with Spiderman it seems – all that was white re-invented as non-white…how utterly pathetic.

  • Delano V.

    While on the surface this appears to be bad, the comic book industry has forgotten that ultimately, whatever they put out, it needs to sell. They’re shooting themselves in the foot with this nonsense- PC doesn’t sell well with the masses. If they are trying to hasten the demise of comic books, they could scarcely do better.

  • Ghetto Mountain

    I wonder what a black super hero would use his powers for? I would say forcible rape and financial gain for his African brothers. And probably something to do with white women.

  • dhb

    For years now it has been beaten into our heads that blacks are superior to whites in almost every way. They are better athletes, inventors, cooks, dancers, singers,and without them we wouldnt have math.

    and for the past 15 years we have been told similar things about hispanics, better dancers, boxers,terrific family values,workers, and an uncanny ability to spray paint urban art on buildings, bridges , subways, and even water towers.

    If blacks and hispanics are superior to whites why cant they create their own superheros and leave the white ones alone.

    It seems marvel loves hispanics alot of their artists are hispanic and i think the EIC is hispanic. So good luck to axel selling a $3.00 comic book to “his” people because my white family and i will no longer buy any marvel product!!

    oh one more thought im willing to bet my coveted comic collection that Miles morales, aka afrospanic spiderman, gets a white girlfriend.

    So until miles can pronounce ambulance correctly DON’T MAKE MINE MARVEL!!!! EVER AGAIN!!!!!!

  • Roman

    I wonder if this New Super Hero will operate out of a Traveling Taco Wagon with the main Headquarters be a Faux KFC?

  • Anonymous

    I say do it. Time for those among us to act their age. We don’t need any more facets of childhood keeping white men in a state of arrested development/ perpetual adolescence anyway. Same could be said of our entertainment and national sports pastimes as well.

  • Seek

    Does this mean that Tobey McGuire is out of work if another “Spider Man” flick comes out?

  • ZEIGLER

    Stan Lee sold Marvel to Disney. Disney has slowly been selling out to minorities as they become the majority. There last movie included a black princess and now a black spiderman. What’s next Snow Black and the seven Rapists?

  • Daniel

    I never liked the spider man character anyway as I don’t care for spiders.

    If they are going to change the character they should go all the way. The new Spider Man would be bi-racial, bi-sexual, have AIDS and be addicted to drugs and live off welfare in the ghetto. This would be the ultimate in secret identity.

  • Sardonicus

    At first, I assumed this was some joke cooked up by “right wing extremists”. However, it seems to be on the level. So long Peter Parker, and hello: Mile Morales, a half-black, half Hispanic teenager. No, whites aren’t being replaced in popular culture; it’s just our paranoid immagination.

  • Anonymous

    I think this means that the real fans will begin to create their own comics for themselves. I predict that sales will fall off and some of these comic book computer whizes will create comics and send them around to one another, creating a comic network that will allow fans to create their own characters. Marvel will move to that or likely go out of business.

  • Mike B.

    I haven’t read comic books since the 50s (and I still have them), so other than this story and stories like this, I haven’t personally witnessed the demise of comic books in relation to personally seeing the demise of every other aspect of Western Civilization.

    However, I DO know that every single time they remake a classic movie and insert a non-white ‘hero’ (where the original role had a white person), the movie BOMBS – big time. Time after time. In Hollyweird, their main color is green, so I guess they consider all this PC garbage they put out as the price of doing business. (Akin to food vendors consider getting a ticket for not having a license as the built-in price of doing business.)

  • Mike H.

    This will fail for the same reason books with blacks on the cover do not sell – no one wants to read them.

  • Dave

    Just as an FYU, this new bi-racial Spiderman comic will be an offshoot of the regular comic; Peter Parker (White Spiderman) is not being replaced by a mulatto in the regular comics. Marvel actually generates more revenue from its licensing than from the comics themselves; and will be very reluctant to change anything about one of its two most popular franchises (X-Men being the other). This is more of a publicity stunt, and should not be taken seriously. Characters like the Atom or the Blue Beetle are not very popular or well known outside of the hard-core audience, so they are the most likely to receive a racial tune-up.

    On the other hand, don’t be surprised to see heavy outside pressure to “diversify” the line-up of the most popular comic heroes, despite little consumer demand to do so, as nearly all of the important characters (i.e., popular enough to star in their own films) are White.

  • Joseph Bronstein

    I find this threat quite funny, considering that most of the major Marvel Characters were created by Stan Lieberman (shortened to Lee) and Jack Kirby – both very proud Jewish men who played this aspect down to sell to their mostly White Christian audience.

    Thee is a reason why there are several major Jewish comic book characters (Magneto, The Thing, Shadowcat, Shazam’s newest incarnation) and NO major Christian (Traditional Catholic) Comic Book Characters that isn’t a mutant werewolf.

    To bolster this most non-hero major characters have Jewish first and Last names, but you’d have to know them when you see them.

    The Hollywood contingent of Marvel likewise is run by the Israeli Avi Arad.

    While of course they’re are probably more White people in comics today, it’s after comics have fallen far and long, and no longer are the big cultural phenomenon they once were.

    The industry itself was almost destroyed after being bought out by a White junk bond king in the ’90s, who felt the only use for comics was to sell plastic toys.

    One final note to the lady who said she never sees any of her Black friends reading…. Um exactly what kind of person invites someone over to watch them read? That’s kind of rude don’t you think?

  • Anonymous

    @27 mike b: I keep trying to tell everyone the same thing. Diversity initiatives are nothing more than built in CODB to protect cos from litigation. No one truly desires these wasteful HR depts and programs.

  • Sardonicus

    As expected, many of the posters on the BBC site welcomed this new transformation of Spiderman. Here is one example from the BBC website:

    “Noel Raymond Graffie

    10 Hours ago

    I think this a brave move on the part of Marval Comics. The decision to make the new spider man an Afro-latino represents the diverse nature of the USA. Considering that Hispanics will in a few years be the biggest ethnic minority surpassing African-Americans in the United it makes even more sense. Who would of thought 10 years ago that America would have a mixed-raced president. Well done Marvel.”

  • Anonymous

    Someone needs to inform the PC police at Marvel Comics that Blacks and Latinos generally hate each other. They segregate themselves apart from each other in schools and prisons. Gang banging between the two groups is legend.

    Marvel should also be told that Black “super-heros” generally are drug dealers and gang bangers. This new super hero won’t fly.

  • Anonymous

    “im willing to bet my coveted comic collection that Miles morales, aka afrospanic spiderman, gets a white girlfriend.”

    Actually, I read in the SF Comical (which has special insight into such things) that he is likely to be a homosexual who “comes out of the closet.” No I am not making this up.

    Note to commenter Joseph Bronstein: I have noted that Blacks don’t read at the breakroom at work. Sure, I know that some must, but it really is very rare among regular working class and middle class Blacks (let alone what it must be among the inner city types).

  • Question Diversity

    http://goo.gl/WCUO2

    Next Media, a Taiwanese outfit that sets news stories to animation, has picked up on this. You’ll never guess their angle, what they’re grinding over.

  • Anonymous

    23 — ZEIGLER wrote …

    What’s next Snow Black and the seven Rapists?

    —-

    Are you thinking of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXFSsKFrCgY

  • François

    @ Don (7):

    Indeed, Don! Now, Spider man will sell drugs, steal car radios and help illegal immigrants cross the border.