Though Miles Morales has been suiting up as Spider-Man in Marvel Comics’ alternate Ultimate universe, when the issues of the ‘Spider-Man’ relaunch debut this fall, he’ll be Marvel’s main Spider-Man in earnest. Brian Bendis, writer and co-creator of the bi-racial comicbook character, described the change as follows:
“Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.”
[Update: Bendis and co-creator/artist/’Spider-Man’ teammate Sara Pichelli talk extensively about Miles Morales’ Spider-Man in this interview with Marvel.]
As New York Daily News reports, Marvel has opted to keep Morales – the teenage son of an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother – as its Spider-Man, with Peter Parker along to play the young hero’s mentor. This opportunity came about when the comics publisher’s Ultimate storyline, in which Morales replaced Parker after his death, disappeared thanks to their ‘Secret Wars’ arc that aims to recondense the disparate worlds. It’s a move many fans have been asking for since the character’s introduction in 2011.
“Many kids of color who, when they were playing superheroes with their friends, their friends wouldn’t let them be Batman or Superman because they don’t look like those heroes but they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be under that mask,” says writer and co-creator Brian Bendis. “But now it’s true. It’s meant a great deal to a great many people.”
For those of you who’ve been keeping track, Marvel Comics now boasts a female Thor, an African-American Captain America, a Muslim teen girl as Ms. Marvel, and numerous other heroes that represent people of different genders, races, and sexualities.
And yet the Marvel Cinematic Universe lags behind. Marvel/Sony’s Spider-Man reboot is stuck on its casting decision, but whoever ultimately wins will play a white, teenage Peter Parker. That’s all well and good since Petey’s been around since 1962, but even Stan Lee supported the addition of a non-white heroic role model, ie Morales. Not only would the decision to cast Morales instead of Parker help to keep some continuity between Marvel’s movie and comic worlds, it would likely boost the film’s popularity across the board if only because a non-white Spider-Man is something audiences have yet to see on screen. In other words, Sony, Morales is money; time to bet on him in a big way.