Yes, Spider-man is Black… and Puerto Rican

Superman dies and people cry.  Rightfully so.  Writers develop a resurrection of sorts months later and the world is back to normal.

Aquaman dies and no one cares.  Nor should they.  Writes relaunch and still no one reads.

Captain America is gunned down.  The news actually covers the event.  Marvel brings him back because comic films are making a fortune.

Johnny Storm dies and there is a rumbling for weeks because they know a death is coming and just not who.  The F4 are still in Limbo but I am sure it will relaunch soon.

Batman dies and barely anyone notices. Mostly because everyone assumes he will be back like everyone before him.  He is.

Spider-man dies and it is relatively quiet, see above.  Like the others he is “re-born,”  Only this time he comes out Black and Latino.  Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs among others are having a stroke over their outrage.  Oh no a hero now has a darker pigment in their penciling! Sorry guys, but Spider-man may be darker on the inside of his suit, but he is all the same on the outside, RED.

I would probably consider Peter Parker my favorite alter ego because of his nerdy exterior and commonplace for being picked on at school it creates a great contrast to the hero that saves the city one night, but gets picked on the next morning at school.  Every geeks escape, we can all relate.

That said, I am all about this decision and think Marvel made the right move.  At first I was sort of wishing they would have just rebooted Peter Parker with an African-American heritage, but then I thought about it and actually reconsidered because Spidey is Spidey regardless of who wears the Web.  Miles Morales will grow on me, after all it is an alliterative name.

Lots of critics are bringing this up and “blaming” the “Obamaizing” of America.  Sorry, Obama has screwed up a lot in this Country but Spider-man is not one of them.  But guess what?  This is not the first time Marvel put a minority in the suit and it won’t be the last.

One of the few comics that has ever really touched me on a personal level was Spiderman: Peter Parker #35 (“Heroes Don’t Cry”) a story of a young boy growing up in a very tough neighborhood with little hope for a happy life with drugs, violence and hatred at every corner of his life.  It is never clear but I believe the young boy imagines visits from Spidey instructing him on how to do the right thing when everyone around you is doing the wrong.  The story climaxes when the young man walks in on his mother being assaulted and later killed by her drug dealer.  When the young boy returns with his aunt to get his possessions he sees Spidey one last time and tells him he can no longer be his sidekick because he needs to grow up to care for his aunt.  Spidey takes off his mask to shake his hand and reveals a black man under the hood.  Is this symbolism that he, the boy, was Spidey under it all or that heroes are what we see them as… who knows, they never say.  But it really made you think about symbolism.

When people can connect with something if gives a stronger bond and something to be proud of.  When Superman, Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-man are all represented by white men it makes you wonder what message we are sending to kids.  (I chose those characters because they represent the current crop of film adaptations.)  I have never been one for PC, I think society is society and we don’t need to shove equality down people’s throat, it doesn’t work… people need to accept it on their own.  But lets consider that this was the creator’s choice, not something Big Brother forced upon with Affirmative Action in Comics.

A character that a young African-American boy or girl can identify with is not a bad thing, and if it offends you so much that Spidey is now black consider that Batwoman is now gay and Jewish and you might just want to give up comics and move to a new town.

Now back to the first point, Beck and Dobbs were offended and angered by this change, do they even read comics?  This would be like me caring that PGA players are being required to hear stripped pants over plaid, it does not affect you, you should not care.  And if you are a comic reader and you can’t take it then go out in the real world, minorities are all around you.  Besides running America they work at your bank, they cook at your favorite restaurant, they hit homeruns for your favorite baseball team… it’s time they save the world!

It’s very fitting reference, Maria Cristina Mena wrote a book called the Spiders Web and in it she writes, “The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”

I very much assure you, a Black and Puerto Rican Spider-man can save New York just as efficiently as his white predecessor,

About Not Clark Kent

Geek, lover of Baseball, avid comic reader, Bruce Lee fan, follower of Jesus and last but Never least Dad and Husband. View all posts by Not Clark Kent

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