Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

Miles Morales: The First Multiracial Spider-man

While there are heroes specifically created for the black community, other heroes were created to bring diversity to a beloved story line. In “Who is afraid of a black Spider(-Man)?”, Ora C. McWilliams explains that “after 60 years of ongoing publication, Marvel Comics thought its superhero line was aging and wasn't attractive to new readers” (McWilliams 1). In an attempt to attract new readers and create a fresh story line that was easier to keep up with, Marvel made a move to diversify its comics. One superhero who has seen a dramatic take off in the world of comics is Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-man. After over two dozen graphic novels Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man was killed off with a fatal gunshot wound to the head in the book
The Death of Peter Parker by Brian Michael Bendis. Miles Morales is a half Latino Half African American kid who obtains spider powers and decides to take the challenge and become the new Spider-man. Miles’ success in sales have brought him from his own comic universe to being the Ultimate Spider-Man in 2011 to becoming the official new Spider-man of main stream Marvel comics, while the older adult version of Peter Parker co-exist with his own running series titled The Amazing Spider-man. Miles gives kids of different races someone to look up to. It was only in 2010 that the actor/performer Donald Glover was suggested to play Peter Parker in the upcoming reboot of The Amazing Spider-man before Andrew Garfield was casted, fans had mixed reviews but white anxieties took it's toll. Enough so that Donald Glover mentioned it in the taping of his Comedy Special Weirdo. Only then to be casted as Miles Morales in the 3rd season of Disney XD's television show Ultimate Spider-man in 2015. When looking to a hero, people typically think of someone with exemplary character. Someone who is brave, resilient, and willing to fight for justice. The qualities of a hero should not have to do with the color of their skin, but after Miles Morales was introduced there was backlash from some fans. Unfortunately, “the very mention of such a change upset other fans, who thought that Spider-Man was already representative of a particular population” (McWilliams1). To some comic book readers, heroism was only skin deep. The negative response that black Spider-Man received was due to white anxiety. In "Race Matters" Cornel West talks about the anxieties that occur during conversations about race. He states "in America we can't get anything in the mainstream if we don't come to terms with white fears and white insecurities, and white anxieties, ... it's hard to tell the truth" (West 264). Spider-Man has noting to do with whiteness, so why does a change in race make some fans uncomfortable? By changing Spider-Man’s race, a conversation about race then has to occur.

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