by Brian W. Carter
For New Pittsburgh Courier

(NNPA)—In a bold move by Marvel comics, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, another landmark event has occurred. Spider-Man is going to be Black!

Before you jump too far in either direction, let me explain. First of all, the character is actually of Black/Hispanic descent and named Miles Morales. Second, the character is set to take over the mantle of Spider-Man in September following the death of Peter Parker. And last, all of this is taking place in an alternate Marvel universe known as the Ultimate Universe.


Originally under the title of Ultimate Spider-Man, under the Ultimate Marvel imprint, the character was re-imagined by veteran artist Mark Bagley and Bendis in 2000. In mid-2009, the Ultimate Marvel imprint changed into Ultimate Comics. Marvel will also be starting a new cartoon series, “Ultimate Spider-Man,” which is set to air on Disney XD sometime in 2012.

Spider-Man has remained one of the most beloved comics’ characters of all–time spanning numerous cartoons, live-action television shows and movies. Ultimate Marvel’s Spider-Man has also garnered a large following with a more modern and younger take on the character, which has drawn old and new fans.

The shocking death of Peter Parker/Spider-Man took place recently in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man in the story, “Death of Spider-Man.” In April, Marvel released pictures of a new Spider-Man costume and let the cat-out-the-bag that it wouldn’t be Peter Parker behind the mask. This week, Marvel teased and alluded to the revelation of the new Spider-Man in an issue of the current mini-series, Ultimate Fallout #4, released Aug. 3.

The announcement would come Tuesday, Aug 2, as Marvel revealed the identity of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe. The reveal has had a huge mixed bag of reactions, most unfortunately aren’t too happy about Spidey’s new tan. Many fans and online posters have been blazing comic book message boards calling “foul” on the reveal. Many of the complaints are no more than racist remarks under the veil of fans calling the new character a politically correct ploy.

A similar reaction arose last year with news a new Spider-Man movie franchise would be taking place. Sony’s new franchise would see a reboot from the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man to one closer to the Ultimate Marvel’s version.

Online posters would suggest a young African-American actor, Donald Glover, of the NBC TV series Community, as a possible contender for the rebooted Spider-Man movie. Glover began to rally for support once he found out. The notion made many angry and discontent with the idea of Spider-Man being Black to say the least. Andrew Garfield was ultimately cast in the Sony reboot as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” due in theaters in July 3, 2012.

It was this bid that sparked the idea in Bendis’ mind when considering where to go next with Spider-Man in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. “He looked fantastic,” Bendis said to USA Today when Glover appeared briefly in Spider-Man pajamas in an episode of “Community.” Bendis stated, “I would like to read that book.” Glover’s reaction has been one of a surprised nature. He’s tweeted that the announcement is, “So fly,” and thanked Bendis for doing something “cool and interesting!”

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso stated to USA Today, “What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity. We think that readers will fall in love with Miles Morales the same way they fell in love with Peter Parker.”

It seems that regardless of how people feel, Spider-Man is getting a little flavor this fall. It seems there are many fans, despite the pissed-off ones, who are willing to see if Miles Morales can accept that, “with great power there must also come—great responsibility!”

(From the Los Angeles Sentinel.)

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