Miles Morales will be a lead character in new animated movie and this is good news.
After the recent news from Sony confirming that Miles Morales will lead in new Marvel’s animation series, it’s important for people to understand why it’s so important for everybody.
Marvel Comics is not afraid to take risks, making changes to its fictional universe to better reflect the real world its readers inhabit. They made a bold one with the introduction of their new Spider-Man. Under his web-embellished mask is a teenager from Brooklyn, NY named Miles Morales, the creation of best-selling writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, informing Urban magazine.
— Deadline Hollywood (@Deadline) January 18, 2017
Like the original Spider-Man aka Peter Parker, Miles too was bitten by a radioactive spider, given extraordinary powers similar to his predecessor. Where they differ most is their ethnicity. Miles Morales is the son of a Black father and Puerto Rican mother. LAFA Music Group, LLC executive director Tye Ramos, a fan of Spider-Man since childhood, applauds Marvel for introducing Morales.
Ramos, born to a Mexican father and German/Dutch mother, tells Urban superheroes are meant to reflect our times. “There are millions of mixed children out there,” says the Southern Entertainment Award-winner and VH1 Save the Music Foundation Song of the Year recipient. “You make him one of the main superheroes? Yeah, that’s a bold and wise decision. “I would think he’s more relatable because today’s families are ethnically diverse,” Ramos adds.
“Most children love to pick their favorite character because they can relate to them in some way. Now the new Spiderman is mixed.” Glyph Award-winning writer Alverne Ball doesn’t mix words when giving Urban his opinion on the character.
The author of hit comics OneNation, Virgin Wolf, and crime novel Only the Holy Remain says, “Socially, Miles represents for any young man and woman a change in the status quo of this country. His arrival makes him unique because he’s not only wearing the costume and persona of his Caucasian counterpart, Peter Parker, but his life and the trials he endures are a mirror of Parker’s world.” Morales became his own version of Spider-Man, Ball says, which reflects “the life of a hero of ethnicity living in a country very much aware of race and its place in the overall history of it.”
Jet Boy creator Corey “RocBottom” Davis of RocBottom Studios feels we are in desperate need of diversity in comics. “Not just taking an existing character and making that character black or female,” the comic writer and artist says to Urban, “but something original. In this case, Marvel knocked it out of the park by introducing Miles! Not only is he of color, he’s biracial. He’s a new character with his own backstory. He’s come into his own as a hero and a fan favorite.”
The Spider-Man character has been a fan favorite for more than 50 years. Created by comic legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, his first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962. Morales debuted in 2011’s Ultimate Fallout #4. Originally existing in Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics, which popularly depicted their characters in an alternate universe, Morales stepped in following the death of Peter Parker. His introduction was covered by major media including USA Today, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. The widespread reporting of his bi-racial ethnicity was met with some incredibly negative racial backlash. “Those that took issue with [Morales] taking on the role of an iconic white character needed to have a seat,” says Davis.
“Peter Parker was not the victim of ‘black washing’, so the only problem these people could possibly have is the fact that the person in the Spidey suit is a person of color. I think it’s ridiculous and downright ignorant for anyone to show any type of disgust against a character that gives the industry that shot in the arm it desperately needed for original diverse superheroes.” Ramos says, “When it comes to religion, politics, race, and now superheroes, when things change the fanatics are going to be the loudest haters. You’re going to have the ones who don’t like change or don’t want you to ruin history. But I think it was a courageous move.”
Publisher, writer and consultant Russell Nohelty tells Urban characters like Spider-Man and Captain America were icons of the time they were created. “Times change. Icons change. And new icons need to represent new times. I think most people like those ideas, but they don’t speak loudly enough. And unfortunately they also don’t speak with their wallets. Before moving into the regular Marvel universe in 2016 where the character has since thrived in their Spider-Man title (#1 published Feb. 3, 2016), Morales starred in a series titled Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. The series did not sell well. With a run of only 28 issues, it lasted from September 2011 to November 2013.
— Arune Singh🇺🇸🇨🇦 (@arune) January 7, 2017
“People forget that Marvel and DC are media companies out to make a profit,” Nohelty says. “Even if they want social change, and again I think they do, it doesn’t matter if nobody buys it. And right now the people saying bravo online aren’t the ones buying the books. The ones buying the books are the ones that don’t want the change.”
Given Marvel’s track record they’re not afraid to change or endure the repercussions of it. Despite being unwelcomed in certain reading circles, falling short in sales initially, the character of Miles Morales as SpiderMan found its audience and success in a shared role with Peter Parker; Miles classically defends New York while Parker slings web against global threats. And in their acceptance the character’s greater importance was discovered.
“Creatively, I don’t know if Mile’s creation and existence has done much for creators of color, as writers of color are usually regulated to only working on characters of color,” says Ball. “So when a writer like Bendis, who has proven chops, is writing Miles then there’s really no reason to try and bring in another writer of color to do what one writer is already doing. So the playing field gets smaller and indie writers, especially those of color, continue to create and innovate outside of the larger corporate-owned entities.”
In the end, big screen for Miles Morales is great step for us all. Would be great to have full live action movie, starring great black actors that we have. Having just one Black Panther and Luke Cage is not enough.