All of you folks who have been crying about diversity in comics had better be all over this! Marvel has revealed that the new Ultimate Spider-Man will be Hispanic/African-American teenager Miles Morales. A USA Today story broke the news and reveals that yes, Donald Glover’s campaign to play Spider-Man was an influence on writer Brian Michael Bendis, although only as an indication that previous discussions about relaunching Spider-Man as a non-white character were on the right track.
More than a year ago, a Marvel Comics brain trust decided that, at least in the Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker needed to die, in a battle with the Green Goblin. When they began to think about whom they’d put under the new mask, a multicultural vibe emerged.
“It’s certainly long overdue,” Bendis says. “Even though there’s some amazing African-American and minority characters bouncing around in all the superhero universes, it’s still crazy lopsided.”
Despite some reports that books featuring non-white leads don’t sell in comics shops, we see this as a savvy move on Marvel’s part. Their characters have long been perceived as “urban,” with strong ties to the hip hop community so it is playing to another part of their base. In the AP story on the move, Marvel E-i-C- Axel Alonso references the ’70s vibe of such characters as Luke Cage and Shang-Chi.
Plus, it’s just acknowledging the world we live in. The United States is already one-third minority, and that percentage is just going to grow.
The story is also personal for both Bendis and Marvel E-i-C Axel Alonso — Alonso is half-Latino himself, and Bendis has two adopted daughters, a 3½-year-old from Ethiopia and a 4½-month-old African-American.
ADDED: Here’s a comment from J. Pines on this:
He is a half-black, half-hispanic teenager named Miles Morales. His origin story will be revealed when the new series premieres in September. The main reason I’m even writing about this is because when I saw half-black, half-hispanic, I really felt great pride because I, myself, am both. For the first time, if my parents ever tell me I can be anything I wanna be, it will, literally, be true. I can be a half-black, half hispanic Spider-Man. Marvel has paved the way and opened up the doors for us, mixed folk, who’ve always wanted a black and hispanic superhero we can aspire to be like.
The move is revealed in ULTIMATE FALLOUT #4, on sale tomorrow. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 debuts in September.
Marvel PR below.
Pop culture history will be made tomorrow as Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 hits shelves and introduces readers to the all-new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man! That’s right, for the first time ever, someone other than Peter Parker will be Spider-Man! But, after the death of Peter Parker, who will rise up to defend the Ultimate Universe? Meet Miles Morales, a seemingly normal teenager from New York who will soon discover that with great power comes great responsibility…and even greater danger! But just what are the secrets behind Miles’ shocking abilities? What’s his connection to the original Spider-Man? And just why does he wear that costume? Courtesy of superstars Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 begins the story that’ll have everyone talking for years to come!
“When the opportunity arose to create a new Spider-Man, we knew it had to be a character that represents the diversity—in background and experience—of the twenty-first century,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor in Chief. “Miles is a character who not only follows in the tradition of relatable characters like Peter Parker, but also shows why he’s a new, unique kind of Spider-Man—and worthy of that name.”
With its inception in 2000, the Ultimate Comics Universe reimagined the world’s most popular super heroes for a new generation and has been critically lauded for its bold, resonant stories. In particular, Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is widely considered one of the most important comics of the century, setting records for trade paperback sales and introducing one of the most popular versions of Spider-Man ever. With the death of Peter Parker in June 2011, all eyes were once again on the Ultimate Comics Universe, as mainstream media and fans alike speculated just who Marvel would put under the mask of this beloved hero. Now, the chart-topping team of Bendis and Pichelli begin the next major chapter of the Ultimate Comics Universe with September’s historic Ultimate Comics spider-Man #1, giving readers a chance to learn the origin of the most important new character of the century.
“The chance for the world to join a new Spider-Man as he discovers what that means in this modern world is one of the most challenging and crazy fun opportunities I’ve had as a writer,” explained Bendis. “The Ultimate Comics Universe according to Miles is completely unique. I can’t wait to write every issue and I can’t wait for people to start reading them.”
Pichelli added, “I promise, you will fall in love with Miles– I already did. ‘Nuff Said.”
The world’s greatest super hero icon is about to undergo the most groundbreaking reinvention in comic book history—where will you be when the mask is lifted? Pick up Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 tomorrow at your local comic shop or digitally on the Marvel Comics App for iOS devices.
ULTIMATE FALLOUT #4 (JUN110612)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, JONATHAN HICKMAN & NICK SPENCER
Art by SARA PICHELLI, SALVADOR LARROCA & CLAYTON CRAIN
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
ON SALE TOMORROW!
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1 (JUL110605)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Penciled by SARA PICHELLI
Cover by KAARE ANDREWS (Cover will be POLYBAGGED)
Variant Cover by SARA PICHELLI
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #2 (JUL110607)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Penciled by SARA PICHELLI
Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.