This week, Marvel Comics unveiled a new character who’ll be taking on the role of Spider-Man in their Ultimate Universe. Which is a separate continuity from their main line of comics, with a lot of the same characters except… different. There are different versions of Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, etc. You know how Samuel L. Jackson is playing Nick Fury in the movies now? That started in the Ultimate comics. (Does that make sense? The “different universes” part, I mean. Ehhh, It’s a comics thing, you wouldn’t understand.)
Anyway, the Ultimate Universe’s version of Peter Parker has just been killed off, and the new guy in the spider-tights is named Miles Morales. Miles is half-black, half-Latino, and possibly gay.
Therefore, the following jokes are off-limits:
- “I think it’s great that the new Spider-Man is black. I just hope he doesn’t spend his whole term complaining about all the problems he’s inherited from Peter Parker.”
- “People are comparing the new Spider-Man to Obama, but I’m pretty sure you could get into Spider-Man’s birthday party without having to sell your car.”
- “Spider-Man’s motto is, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ So it’s not really fair to compare him to Obama.”
- “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can… Which is fine, don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are Arachnid-Americans.”
- “Too bad they didn’t make Spider-Man a black guy before they did that Broadway musical. Then nobody would’ve been allowed to make fun of it.”
- “I don’t want to say the new Spider-Man is gay, but he just helped the Hulk pick out some new outfits that really bring out his eyes.”
Some people are ticked off at me for making jokes about this on Twitter — OMG U GUYZ, look how “outraged” I am! — but I have no problem with it whatsoever. As long as the new kid wears a Spider-Man costume and has Spider-Man powers and uses them to beat up bad guys, what’s the problem? I don’t remember any rule that says a superhero’s skin needs to be any particular color. If the stories are good and the character is interesting and he brings in new readers, why not?
Now: once Spidey starts doing the job and you have a problem with the way he does things, daring to say so doesn’t make you a racist. You should be able to make jokes, even! Without “Spider-Man joke” somehow becoming “racist joke” because the new Spider-Man is black. It actually is possible for people of different races to have different opinions, and even mock each other for their differing opinions, without turning it into a race thing. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But how about we just give it a try, huh? Whaddaya say, True Believer?
Okay then. Good talk, good talk. By the way, if you understood more than 10% of this post, you are a nerd. TTTAWWT!