Race & Ethnicity

Miles Morales: Spider-Man's PC New Replacement Is Half-Black, Half-Latino

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Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Miles Morales - MARVEL
  • Marvel
  • Miles Morales
Apparently, half-human, half-spider wasn't diverse/culturally cutting-edge enough for Marvel Comics' most revered superhero.

Sorry, Peter Parker: In its "Ultimate" line of Spider-Man adventures, Marvel is looking to do like Beyonce and "Upgrade U" (or, more accurately, kill u off) for a world-weary, street-smart blacktino kid named Miles Morales, perhaps to expand their consumer base outside white nerds who live with their grandparents.

And as for you, Hollywood:

Time to open the Spider-Man casting call from pasty crackers like Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst to the brave new world of black and brown. (Much in the brave new tradition of cartoon character Princess Tiana, a Disney doll from the Louisiana bayou.)

Afrohispanos are more common in New York than Los Angeles, as the East Coast Latino population more heavily hails from pre-mixed countries like Cuba and Puerto Rico. But here are the top -- OK, and only -- Hollywood actors who could play Morales:

Lloyd Banks. Tyson Beckford. Kid Cudi. (Yeah, we know -- pickings are slim.)

click to enlarge Morales' debut cover, due out tomorrow - MARVEL
  • Marvel
  • Morales' debut cover, due out tomorrow
"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," says Axel Alonso, Marvel editor in chief, in the press release on Morales.

And writer Brian Michael Bendis tells the Associated Press: "He's younger than Peter Parker, he's coming from a completely different background, a completely different world view."

Joke website "Haha, JK!" rushes to poke easy fun at Bendis' brainstorming process (and, uh, Spidey's impressive new undie bulge):

"We took a field trip to a different neighborhood, but we left because we didn't feel comfortable," they false-quote him as saying.

Heh. But in all seriousness: Does this reek of desperate, hasty diversification for the sake of superstar PR? We will say this: The fact that Marvel officials haven't identified Morales as anything beyond half-black, half-Latino, which could mean a million things in America, isn't a good starting point.


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