SPOILER ALERT: Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, is dead. In a recent decision, Marvel Comics has decided to kill off Peter Parker and replace him with a new Spiderman named Miles Morales. Some traditional Spiderman fans were outraged at this news; not only is Peter Parker no more, but his replacement is a biracial teenager who is half Black and half Latino. Traditional audiences are predictably upset by the news as it digresses from the image of our greatest superheroes we have had for the past century: white, heterosexual, males.
Morales doesn’t fit the superhero mold as most racialized characters are sidekicks or stereotypical villains. From gangsters and thugs, to karate masters and dragon ladies, people of colour have only been given restricted roles. However, Morales is a step in the right direction. Generations of non-white children have idolized characters in the media who don’t look like them and have silently learned their ‘place’ in society: behind the white man. The new Spiderman is a form of empowerment for a new generation of youth who now have a superhero who looks like them.
I would also call Miles Morales a 21st century superhero. In a globalized world, identities are far more complex than they were when Spiderman was first created. This especially holds true in North America, where the mixed raced population is growing at a rapid rate and it is no longer easy to answer the question ‘Where are you from?’ Morales is an accurate representation of what North America is today, and what it will be in the future.
Although Morales is not the first ethnic superhero, he is one of the first to replace an established white mainstream character. While there are barriers that still exist, the media is becoming more inclusive. It’s about time! I am excited to read the Morales storyline and to see the next superhero that Marvel Comics creates. Hopefully, it will challenge more stereotypes and break down the superhero mold, so we can all be superheroes.