Comics and Racism, Where's The Line?

Comics and Racism, Where's The Line?

Yes, with the feedback of the recent Ultimate Spider-Man change, I'll be asking if it is really a big deal.

"Dude, no you can't change Spider-Man's race"

"Looks like we can blame Obama for this change as well"

"Really? Let's make Black Panther white and see how people like that"

"First Heimdall and now Spidey?"

"Why not make him gay and diabetic as well?"

Yes, its comments like these that have been popping up on any article that mention the new Spider-Man. Are these kind of comments really necessary? These comments can be from hate, from trolls, or even just the honest view of the person commenting, but even so, why the hate?

"Dude, no you can't change Spider-Man's race" Actually yes, yes you can, and it was done the smarter way. Instead of changing PETER PARKER to a Hispanic African America, the writers have created a WHOLE NEW character in Miles Morales to don the blue and red suit. I can understand how changing Peter Parker would just ruin history, but isn't that what we should be thankful for? Did people complain this much when they made an African American Green Lantern? He was a completely different and bad-ass character, and yet he was ALSO a Green Lantern. That's the same thing that's happening to Spider-Man here. Another example would be when Rhodey took over the Iron Man suit, as Tony was battling alcoholism. Sure that may have upset people back then (pre internet era) but now Rhodey has his own suit, and carved his own way to be a hero, one we all love. Again, why do we hate on a completely new hero? I will say it again: He's not Peter Parker, so why is it a big deal that someone took over the Spider-Man role?

"Looks like we can blame Obama for this change as well” Sure, Obama has written history as being the first African American president. Yes that may or may not have influenced the writers, but so what? Here are two separate questions to help: First, why are politics even being mentioned in articles? Do the real modern day politics somehow affect our judgment? Just because Glenn Beck may hate the new Spider-Man, does that mean we have to hate it as well? Glenn Beck is an idiot. Technically all politics are idiots, but that's my personal opinion getting in the way. Question two: Why can't we keep up with the times? Again, Obama is the first Black president, but somehow we cannot accept a new black superhero replacing (if only for now) a hero we love? The world's evolving, white and black (should be) viewed as one in the same, and that goes for any race out there. We're all people regardless of race.

"Why not make him gay and diabetic as well?" Any comments like this should just be reported and removed. Whether is just homophobia or being a douche bag troll, these comments make me cringe. I'm not even gay myself, but that doesn't mean I don't have a heart. Why are we mocking serious matters, with low-brow humor? If Spider-Man was gay, then so what? As long as Peter Parker wasn't changed, why would it bug us if a completely new character was gay or suffering from an illness? Again, times are changing, where people can be openly gay, and accepted. Understand that. Understand that this isn't the 60's or 40's anymore. I don't mean to start a religious or homophobic debate, but the truth is, we should all be equals right? So in the future having a gay superhero shouldn't be a bother at all.

In the end, I really think we're all making a big deal out of nothing. Are you crossing the line between racism and die hard fan? As long as the morals and stories are great, why do we let who's under the mask bother us? I agree with die hard fans when they say Peter Parker's character and history shouldn't be touched, so why does it bother so many people when a completely new character is Hispanic and African American? He's not Peter Parker, just as Rhodey isn't Tony Stark, and John Stewart isn't Hal Jordan. Instead, they are all different characters, carrying the same titles. Being a hero, a super hero, doesn't matter on skin, it matter's on the strength and responsibility that character has. Miles Morales is here to stay as the Ultimate Spider-Man, let's welcome him to a much larger universe.
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mickeyboosh87 - 8/4/2011, 12:15 AM
Good stuff dude. I'm looking forward to seeing how this new spidey works out!!
nikgrid - 8/4/2011, 1:19 AM
It's not even real Spider-man...there's no difference between this and spider-man 2099 who was latino I think.
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:20 AM
2099 was Hispanic/Irish. And 2099 didn't focus on his racial background. Not like Bendis is.
LEEE777 - 8/4/2011, 2:35 AM

Spidey Isn't African American????

I don't want to see BLADE white either or THOR a woman!

Many African American superheroes!

I'm all for a different raced Spider-Man, just not Peter Parker! : D
LEEE777 - 8/4/2011, 2:36 AM
SpideyDude - 8/4/2011, 2:50 AM
its because its been done for shock value and essentially for a gimmicky effect - marvel are essentially exploiting race for a spike in attention and sales
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:58 AM
The character should earn respect and popularity on his own. Not riding on someone else's hard earned cred using his identity. Plus it kinda feels weird he's impersonating a the recently deceased.
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 3:26 AM
@SuspenseSmith You watched the Karate Kid movie with the kid that learns Kung Fu? That's what he learns right? I haven't watched it. (I havent watched the new 'Clash WIth No Titans' yet either)

CorndogBurglar - 8/4/2011, 5:00 AM
How come there wasn't all this tension when they made Nick Fury black in the Ultimate universe? Technically, tahts even worse because its Nick Fury.

At least Morales is a totally different character.

anyway, lets kill off Luke Cage, and the new Power Man can be Duke Paige, white boy extrordinaire. LOL, j/k
CorndogBurglar - 8/4/2011, 5:03 AM
@ scionstorm

lol, i remember seeing the previews when he says he teaching him Kung Fu, lol. It should have been called the Kung Fu Kid.
TheMyth - 8/4/2011, 5:04 AM
If you thought this was bad you should read the article about Cowboy Curtis being cast as Perry White, that was some crazy shit!

It is just retarded that people are getting bent up over Ultimate Peter Parker being replaced by a black kid. It's not like they decided to make Pete himself black, it's a new character completely! Can a black kid not get bitten by a radio active spider too? I don't read Ultimates so I really couldn't care that they killed off Parker or that they made his replacement another culture, and none of you should either. If you stop reading Ultimate Spidey because he is a black kid, then I'm sorry to say, whether you want to admit it or not, your are in some fashion racist. Now I'm not saying your next step is to join a Neo-Nazi group or something, but tell me what the [frick] you'd call it when you drop a title because the new character is Black. It is discriminatory no matter how you slice it. If you were gonna drop the title you should've done it when they killed Pete. Same applies for the rumors that he might be gay. If you are dropping the title because of that rumor, you obviously have a problem with gay people.

Now those of you like SuspenseSmith above me can claim that whole narrative shit if you want, but what about this has told you that this is a conspiracy to appease activist groups? How about Bendis just felt like making him Black! Can it not be that simple? Does there have to be some deeper meaning to it? No, there doesn't. And even if there was, does it really [frick]in matter so long as they keep delivering good story? When you were a child, what drew you to comics? I certainly hope it wasn't the characters race, and it would really be sad if you chose your favored characters based on race.

Are they doing it as a gimmick to boost sales? I dunno, but who cares if they are. Guess what, comics aren't made just because of the nostalgia of continuing our favorite heroes, they do it to *gasp* MAKE MONEY. Without that money, we don't get ANY comics since there would be no incentive to even make them. Marvel isn't a non-profit organization.

"Are you crossing the line between racism and die hard fan?" That is a damn good question you should all be asking yourselves. Kudos to the author of this article, you sir have gained much respect from me for whatever that's worth.
Caedus137 - 8/4/2011, 5:30 AM
I wonder if he'll grow up to be Lawrence Fishburn...?
Nah, in all seriousness, it shouldn't matter. It was a bold move, yes, but I dont think it was politically motivated or meant to be incendiary in any way... It was surely just a "Lets make this guy completely different to Peter" decision. I'll be reading it.
Maximillion - 8/4/2011, 5:51 AM
Just believe it!...Read it!!..and Suck it up!!
CorndogBurglar - 8/4/2011, 5:51 AM
@ tea

haha, now thats something i would read! the world needs more midget superheroes!

oh wait, "midget" is a derogatory term.

the world needs more little people superheroes!

how is Little People less offensive than Midget, anyway?

Little People sounds like they don't even qualify to be actual people or something. oh well...
CorndogBurglar - 8/4/2011, 5:52 AM
@ essexfactor

I didn't know he was rumored to be gay, too. Is he gonna be called Thpider-Man?

lol, i kid, i kid.
BIGBMH - 8/4/2011, 6:10 AM
@ScionStorm, Oh, so you've read several issues of the series and seen how much of a focus the character's race is?
SKOne - 8/4/2011, 6:30 AM
I could really care less what Marvel does with Spider Man or any other characters for that matter. They could announce tomorrow that they are making a villain called the Ice-Cream man that will eat all of the heroes popsicle style and it wouldn't bother me. I won't read any comics by either big publisher that are newer than 1994 so it doesn't matter. I honestly see the Ultimate Marvel universe going the way of the whole 2099 and MC2 universes in few years and only having a story about it pop up maybe once a year. I think that if they want to keep making comics they will be tie-in stories to the movie universe and the original 616 universe.
JetPresto - 8/4/2011, 9:31 AM
Plenty of black superheroes? Other than Luke Cage, War Machine, Blade, and Black Panther, who else is there for Marvel? I'll even kick in Bishop and Captain Marvel when it was a black woman, but in a universe with thousands of characters, that's really not a lot.

Now, how many of even the already established Marvel characters have their own books? Black Panther, War Machine I think still has his own book (that might be inaccurate though, it's been a while since I've checked out anything off my pull list). The fact is, there are not really that many black characters in the universe to begin with, and there are even fewer with their own books. The publishers are starting to represent other ethnic groups now, and what's even harder than being a non-white character? Being a completely original character. How is a brand new character who has no background and is just coming into existence supposed to compete with Captain America, Spider-man, Thor, Iron Man, and all of these other characters who have 60+ years of history and nerd fandom support? Even if the character is white, that book is going to struggle.

And that's the big reason why they do stories like these, where someone comes in to replace a white character. That's really the best chance that character has to succeed.
Stumblin - 8/4/2011, 9:42 AM
Not a lot of black characters JetPresto? You're missing a lot of them. Here's a quick list of just Marvel characters, minus the ones you already mentioned.

Night Thrasher
Power Man
3-D Man
Gabe Jones

And these are all major characters, some more so than others, same can be said about any super hero.
Stumblin - 8/4/2011, 9:43 AM
I didn't even have to look those up, that was from the top of my head, but if you do look it up you'll find there are plenty more.
BrotherStarkofMABMindz - 8/4/2011, 10:32 AM
Well does anybody remember the Indian Spider-Man comics those were great and that was just all the Spider-Man characters with a twist, this guy is a whole new person, so I mean yeah it is a risky move, but we do need more diversity in these characters so that more people can relate to the characters no matter what race, religion, background or sexual orientation. But a African-American, Hispanic, Homosexual 13-year--old Spidey is a way new approach Marvel really is trying to reach out to people more.

sexymuppet - 8/4/2011, 11:40 AM
sexymuppet - 8/4/2011, 12:09 PM
it was people like selina kyle who made all those bullshit "black power" comments that stirred the pot. she likes starting an argument and pissing people off
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:09 PM
@BIGBMH- The character was announced. What do you know about him right off the bat? What do you know about him at all? What have they talked about him in interviews? You know his age and his ethnicity. That's it. That's all the information they've given. What does that say about where they are placing the emphasis on this character?
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:10 PM
@BIGBMH- The character was announced. What do you know about him right off the bat? What do you know about him at all? What have they talked about him in interviews? You know his age and his ethnicity. That's it. That's all the information they've given. What does that say about where they are placing the emphasis on this character?
marvelguy - 8/4/2011, 2:14 PM
Here's the real issue: not enough heroes of color or well-written stories regarding said heroes.

Most of the iconic heroes are white as they were created by white men sixty or more years ago. That is just a fact and does not insult nor repress our present-day world.
Now changing an essential element of a character is wrong. Making Steve Rogers Native American or Bruce Wayne Chinese-American would be ludicrous. It is important that these heroes prove time and again they are everyone's heroes regardless of race, creed, or gender.

People knee-jerk react because they don't want to think. They want to aim for the lowest common denominator instead of analyzing what is really going on in these stories and with these characters.

At the end of the day, there will always be morons. We just need to encourage and support the development of new and emerging characters that better represent the present-day populace.

Just so it's said: I'm over forty and white. Color means nothing to me. It's about the make up of a person whether fictional or actual.

Nice article.
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:22 PM
Forgot Axel also mentioned Miles parents are still alive. There's your other focus. Besides being another nerdy Peter Parker type.
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:28 PM
I still go by what I said earlier. If diverse ethnicity is so important why does this new character half to ride on the popularity of a per-established identity?

That says a kid of such ethnicity can't be important unless he uses someone else's identity.
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 2:28 PM
BigK1337 - 8/4/2011, 3:41 PM
Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me that the surprise about this new Spider-Man is that he is black?

Wow, I think I can see why people this Spider-Man identity being revealed; that twist sucks ass. Seriously, it would of been more surprise if this Spider-Man was just one of the many spider clones who survived and just so happen to look biracial with a different name (like Ben Riley, except he is just blonde with a different costume); instead it is just some guy with no explained origins or connections with the original Peter Parker who just so happen to be black and lantino. Or it could have been better if he was an already existing character in the Ultimate Spider-Man series who was given the powers through SHIELD to continue the legacy (at least, put that origin for this guy, so that I wouldn't have any hate for this guy as Spider-Man).

Either way, I think the whole "shocking twist" of him being black is quite pathetic and deserve to gain criticism (really, this guy is a new character; where is the surprise in there).
OdinsBeard - 8/4/2011, 6:05 PM
i don't give a shit if you're black, white, red, yellow, gay, conservative, christian, jewish, muslim, or canadian. im just sick and tired of every hero have a "mantle," im sick of writers having other characters put on masks that originally had nothing to do with them. and it's all for the sake of diversity for the hell of it. "hawkeye" was a girl, "lady bullseye" "carnage" "doctor voodoo" (what is this hard-on BMB has for black people? it's like dude we get it, you're cool with black people) - racism or not, it's just lazy story telling.

if you want black, mexican or female characters why not come up with important things for them to do without following in another's footsteps? make them their own characters with their own powers and aliases that are cool all in their own right.

superwolverine - 8/4/2011, 9:22 PM
Its not a big deal for 2 reasons
1.its the ultimate line
2.its not like they made peter parker black get over yourselves
ScionStorm - 8/4/2011, 9:43 PM
I agree with OdinsBeard.

[I agree with Odin's beard? That's a line I never thought I'd see.] ;P

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