In Marvel Comic’s “Ultimate” alter-world, Peter Parker bit the dust earlier in the summer, leaving Spiderman fans wondering: Who will fill his webbed stockings?? Well, the wait is over: A new biracial character, Miles Morales, is set to step in—and as it turns out, inspiration for the change came from a very vocal #1 fan.
Last year, 28-year old black actor Donald Glover’s love of comics sparked a social media campaign to get him in the audition room for the lead role in “The Amazing Spiderman.” The part ultimately went to Andrew Garfield (who’s rocking the spandex quite well), but Donald’s interest encouraged Marvel writers to move forward with the half-black, half-latino Miles Morales character. First, octogenarian Betty White redefined the modern sexy lady thanks to Facebook fan-dom, now Spidey gets a modern makeover on account of Twitter–the sky’s the limit for boundary-breaking trending topics!
Two top “Spiderman” writers, USA Today notes, have a personal stake in shaping the way race is represented in popular culture: “Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor in chief, is of mixed cultures (his father is Mexican, his mother is British), and [writer Brian Michael] Bendis has two adopted daughters, a 3½-year-old from Ethiopia and a 4½-month-old African American.” Art is imitating life, it seems, driven by movements like Loving Day that celebrate mixed-race and multicultural young people in America. We can all take a page from Danny’s playbook by using social media to spread the Loving Day ideal.
Incidentally, Miles Morales isn’t the first minority superhero–no, no, no, don’t even try to argue that. Comic book enthusiasts will drop mutant genealogy so fast it’ll make your head go “Ka-Pow!” (Don’t believe me? Please read the comments on this post from PopWatch.) Of note, a black Green Lantern has been around for decades, and X-Men heroine Storm was born in ’76 to a Kenyan mother and American father.
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Listen to young mixed-race Americans share their experience via Story Corps.