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mygif

Crap. Ignore the “purposefully” in there. At first that sentence said something else and i didn’t edit it correctly.

Also, what Magnus said. This feels gimmicky. If you want to make a statement about race or whatever, there are better ways that doesn’t make it look like a gimmick. He *could* have introduced this guy or hinted towards him a while ago, Bendis knows how to write. Instead he made his all-white cast ever-present and now this guy seems to come from nowhere, even if this was indeed his 10-year plan all along.

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dangermouse said on August 4th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

This kind of moves reminds everyone that ethnicity does matter, even if it shouldn’t, and I’m sure Bendis is aware of that, so yeah.

No, every single hero being white reminds everyone that race matters. Every moderately successful POC character who might in any way be seen as infringing on some white guy’s legacy getting turned insane or viciously murdered reminds everyone that race matters. DC bringing in the Milestone universe only to basically drop them and shove Static off into Teen Titans and then treating him like shit there reminds everyone that race matters.

Letting a black character step up to fill Spidey’s shoes is someone saying that maybe race doesn’t need to matter. But all the angry, angry white boys flipping a shit over it, well, that’s another reminder that race does, indeed, matter.

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mygif

So let me get this straight… They replace a beloved character and nobody is allowed to dislike this move because the replacement is black, and that automatically makes it okay?

Okay. Just checking.

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mygif

@dangermouse:
I think the problem with most of those attempts at changing the ethnicity of legacy heirs is not so much that ethnic difference but that they were poorly implemented changes in the first place. Part of the reason this change bugs me, in particular, is that it doesn’t feel well implemented.

How many times did marvel try to making the new captain america happen before it finally worked with bucky? We just don’t remember those USAgent/that-other-guy-who-went-crazy moments because they have nothing to do with ethnicity since its from white guy to white guy. I really, really doubt anyone would have any problem with the new protagonist in spider-man being that female clone of peter because she was already an established character. If Bendis had worked into establishing this new kid as a character in his spidey mythos before making him spider-man I doubt a lot of the people complaining today would do so. Me included.
The crazy, bigoted people that like to post on the fox articles would still make a fuzz, I imagine, but then at least we’d be sure that it’s bigotry we’re fighting against.

As it stands, some of us are irked by this change even if we would like to be behind it. Because, yes, i would love to see a spider-man that is blatino, just so kids who grow up today with him, grow up knowing that Spider-man’s skin color does not matter in the slightest. The way Bendis is implementing it, however, only helps to remind everyone that it very much does, either because you’re a bigot and think its icky and not “superhero approved” or because you think you’re being “so progressive and so 21st century” that pushing it into a story is better than having that same story be a good one.

The Winter Patriot storyline worked not because Bucky is white, but because it was well-written. At the same time, the “Ben Reilly is the new Peter Parker” story failed miserably because it sucked. I’m not saying this will go either way because we have yet to see anything about it, but it’s not a good start when it seems like you pulled it out of your hat like it was with Az-bat, but at least the point of that storyline seemed to be making fun of those kinda decisions at the time. We have not seen the point of this one, but i think it’s reasonable for people to be concerned about such a thing.

Anyways, I sincerely doubt that the same community that seemed to have little problem over John Stewart being the JLU Green Lantern will have any problem with some blatino character being the new spider-man. The problem here is not that he’s blatino, it’s that he’s a nobody and the news about him have been focused on him being blatino, which should not be the point. If Bendis is the one making it a point, then I think it’s a stupid thing to do, and it makes me wary about what shape his comic will take. And that sucks, because i don’t like to read comics with a wary disposition.

The way you should address legacy changes into whatever race (?) (That’s even a stupid thing to type) is the same way every successful legacy change has ever been handled: by introducing the character as a sort of possible heir, and then giving the title to him/her. Not as a “Okay I kill batman. Next week: the new Batman you’ve never heard of” kinda deal. And Bendis, having a well-established cast, chose to add to that “…also, he’s a minority! *gasp*” How can that not be misguided? It’s perpetuating the idea that difference is a thing to look for, instead of making us readers accept it seamlessly, like it should be.

So yeah, I think my point has been made. I don’t wanna hog the space or make more page-long rants. I don’t know MGK’s policy on them but I know some bloggers are not fond of such things.

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mygif

@acabaca: you, and everyone else making the “we can’t complain about replacing a beloved character at all” point, are engaging in a Strawman Argument.

The condemnation is for those people who are flipping their shit and making racist arguments against the change. Not for people who say they just don’t want to read Ultimate!Spidey if it’s not Peter Parker.

@ Estinto: no, I wasn’t being disingenuous.

“Here’s the thing: If race does not, indeed, matter (and I do believe it doesn’t), then there is no reason to believe that having a white male as the protagonist of a story would mean said story has any less appeal to a non-white non-male audience.”

No, perhaps not — but you can’t deny that the vast, VAST majority of protagonists of superhero stories are white males. The non-white, non-male audience has very few options for seeing themselves reflected in the stories. If you’ve reached the point where it just doesn’t matter to you, that’s nice. But it really doesn’t mean that the audience members who would like to see more of themselves reflected in the story are “wrong” — as you are implying here by staking out the “race should not matter” high ground.

In the comics industry, “race should not matter” helps to uphold a vastly-majority-white status quo.

The part where you’re asserting that Bendis killed off Peter Parker specifically in order to replace him with a black/Latino character, is where you start getting into some shaky ground.

“And it doesn’t matter, does it? the stories are good. Except maybe it does matter, because now Bendis is killing spidey and making a point of making him blatino, so… if it does matter then why didn’t it matter earlier, when he could have made those changes he wanted to the cast of spider-man?”

Well, as you yourself said — the Ultimates line has been running for 10 years. People — even comics creators — evolve over time.

You don’t know that they killed off Peter Parker in order to replace him with “stunt racial casting” — that’s just what it “feels” like to you. There may have been other reasons for them deciding to kill off Ultimate!Peter (why do comics creators ever kill off their characters?), which led to the obvious question of who to replace him with, and it may have been only at that point that someone floated the idea of “Hey, you know… we don’t have to replace him with a white guy”. Bendis — or whoever primarily made the decision — may not have thought about the question of “why don’t we have more non-white characters in USM or Ultimates in general” a few years ago, but there may have been something more recent that brought the subject to their attention and made them determined to enact it (the attention given to Dwayne McDuffie’s legacy upon his death in May, for example). Or, perhaps they believe (with some justification) that a leading hero who is non-white does mean more than supporting characters who are non-white.

I’m not arguing, mind you, that Bendis’s decision to kill off Ultimate!Peter has a particularly good reason. I don’t tend to think that most deaths in superhero comics are done for particularly good reasons. (And they never stick.) But I find it easier to believe that the thought process was more along the lines of, “Hey, it’ll be REALLY SHOCKING if we kill off (Ultimate) Peter Parker!” than “Hey! We’d get a LOT of attention if we suddenly introduced a black/Latino legacy hero! Who can we kill off so we can shove a non-white guy into his suit?”

“And killing off Peter Parker and then leaking the news that the replacement is a *gasp* blatino kid, makes me think it does matter. And it shouldn’t.”

Maybe not, in a perfect world. But we’re in this world, where the major, important heroes are all white males. So, yes — any change to that status quo is, in fact, pretty newsworthy.

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mygif

Oh and, as well as that story was written and as white as its replacement was, they ended up killing Bucky-as-cap as well anyways. So many times it’s not about racism, but just about comics static nature. And since most superheroes were made way back when everyone on a public medium was white… we got stuck with white legacy heroes that don’t change legacy, and when they do, they soon get retconned back to where they were, killing, demoting or downright forgetting whoever replaced them, be him/her white, black, blue or green. In later years, and as people have tried more and more to add diversity to the superhero universe, those demoted characters have more and more times been representing minorities. It’s a side-effect of both progressive thinking and the static nature of the medium.

I’d say that, in the current state of comicdom, the most surefire way to make minorities relevant is by making a point to include them from the start of a story, not the middle, not the end and most definitely not the “new beginning” that comics attempt every couple of years/decades (depending on the scale).

So, Bendis should have made Peter or more people from his supporting cast ethnically diverse from the start instead of attempting to change things halfway, because when this new spider-man gets killed or demoted or cancelled or whatever a couple of years from now, as all legacy characters/alternate lines tend to eventually do, people will again be screaming racism, and everyone at marvel will look bad when their white as white Peter Parker goes back to being the only spider-man around.

And now I really am absolutely done with hogging the comments.

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mygif

@holly;
Just to be clear, I was at no point trying to impose my ideas on others or anything like that. This is all about how it relates to *me* and how it makes *me* feel.

MGK’s post was directed against those irked by the decision on the grounds that the new guy is dark skinned. I am irked by the decision on the grounds that the new guy is dark skinned but not because of a race thing.
I was just explaining my reasoning behind that, not presuming that it was the only possible reasoning or the “correct” one or anything like that, just a possible one for the guys who are actually bothered by the thing. If you’re not irked by it, that’s great.

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@holly:
And you are right that I don’t know what their reasoning actually was behind these whole deal. I’m just pointing out the way it makes *me* feel given the way it’s been presented to the audience.

And I agree with your assessment that this was more of a “lets kill peter, it’ll be really shocking” into “you know what? lets make this dude black this time” reasoning than anything else, but that’s also precisely the point I am making. If it was like that, then it was indeed an affirmative action kinda thing instead of something the story needed.

And yes, it is a valid reasoning the one behind “main character is better than supporting” but his Peter was already white. If he wanted to make this guy the next one, he could have still introduced him as supporting at some point to make the change fit better storywise and not make readers like me suspicious of his M.O.

Being bothered with this change is valid, is all I’m saying. I am not a bigot just because I don’t like to see “stunt racial casting”, as you put it, pushed down my throat. Granted, this one has not proven to be that yet (and i have not called it that), but there’s enough grounds to fear that it might be.

Shucks. I could do with an “edit last comment” option it seems.

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mygif

My mother-in-law, who is without a doubt racist, has been complaining to me for six years now that (this is a quote, not a personal feeling, so please don’t flame me) “Mexicans are coming to this country and stilling it from white people!”…

I’m never going to hear the end of this.

At any rate, it has been pointed out that if Bendis wanted a minority character in the role of Spider-Man, he should have done it from the start of the story. But wouldn’t we have the same claims that it was stunt casting, and publicity seeking and blah blah blah? Didn’t we go through that with Nick Fury being black? And do we even need to go down the path of the Black Captain America story? There is a character, introduced at the start of the story, who was cast as a minority because it was in fact crucial to the story line, and we still got the “this is just to grab attention! It’s the worst kind of writing, lazy and done simply for sales!”

We’ve been down the path of introducing a character at the start of a story as a minority before, both in the comics and the film adaptations. We’ve seen how it turns out. Exactly like this has.

So, the other option of introducing a character into the supporting cast, and then promoting them to super-hero status? That makes more sense, but I honestly have to say that I think we’d still be hearing the same cries of outrage, just tweaked a little. “But he was such a minor character!”, “He’s never seemed particularly heroic!”, “He’s only being given the spot over (insert other supporting character ranging from b-list to seen once 8 years ago) because he’s a minority and they want to grab attention!”

Finally, race shouldn’t matter. But let’s all face it, it does. I grew up surrounded by minorities. I work surrounded by minorities. I really don’t care about skin-color, or nationality. But if I were to say to my hispanic payroll clerk that my home life is exactly the same as her’s, that there are no cultural differences, because hey, we’re both part of the American culture…yeah, I’d be laughed at and never taken seriously again. In a lot of ways, race shouldn’t matter. But in many ways, it makes up huge parts of our cultural, how we act, how we talk, and yes, sometimes even how we view the world (as a result of our culture and life experiences in relation to a race, not because of race itself). Even one of our more recent supreme court justices knew the importance the race and culture have in one’s life, and the decisions that they make.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

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Nicodemus said on August 5th, 2011 at 2:32 am

I seem to remember a news story about how Spider-man was the Superhero most minority groups identified with.

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mygif

Oh noooo! An entire segment of the population that’s long been, at best, ignored and, at worst, insulted by comic books is being thrown a tiny tiny tiny bone! WhatEVER shall we do???

Like all comic book characters, who Spider-Man is is 90% in your head, there is a completely new writer every couple of what, years? Months? You pick and choose your favorite ideas of who he is based off of issues you liked, disregarding the stuff you don’t, and the broad, general idea of what the character is.

Changing a comic book character’s skin color will change…what exactly if the person putting the words in his mouth is the same?

When ALL you have to judge the character on is his skin color, and your knee-jerk response is to not like that character…well…guess how you look.

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acabaca said on August 4th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

So let me get this straight… They replace a beloved character and nobody is allowed to dislike this move because the replacement is black, and that automatically makes it okay?

Okay. Just checking.

Yes. I am saying right now that it is NOT ok to not like a decision based solely on race alone. I’m sorry this is controversial to you.

In fact, let’s review all the facts on hand to evaluate why you don’t like the change:
The new character is black
The new character’s stories are…
The new character’s dialog…
The other character’s interactions with the new character…
In the first issue with the new character…

You know exactly ONE thing about the character and don’t like him…geez you really don’t come off looking to well in this eh?

No one ever said “You’re a racist for not liking the story structure or plot or overall character arc.”

However “Lookit that black guy man I don’t like him!” will have people looking at you askance.

Again: sorry if that’s a controversial idea to you.

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Sisyphus said on August 5th, 2011 at 9:58 am

@Magnus
Actually, I think I’d be OK if they replaced Ultimate Peter Parker with Ultimate Jessica Drew as well. That thread was actually shaping up in interesting ways, and would have been quite cool, I think. I still would have been irritated that they killed off the only genuinely heroic character.

@Holly
Ultimate Thor literally refused to save people’s lives until the U.S. changed their foreign aid policies. He was happy to let innocent people die in order to effect what was, really, an inconsequential political change. Now, you can argue that he was trying to do the most possible good, and that the Ultimates line is really where Marvel’s playing more with the idea of how would superheroes work in the real world.

That’s the real problem I have, is that thematically, Ult. Parker’s real power was that he inspired the best in others. The complete and utter bastard that is Ultimate Nick Fury (who, btw, I like as a character far more than 616 Fury) is actually impressed by that very quality. I can’t believe that Bendis et al don’t see potential for that particular theme any more in that setting. That’s why I read USM, and that’s why I doubt I’ll be picking up another copy. Additionally, I’m a bit curious about how they’re going to shoe-horn in all the supporting characters that they’ve spent 10 years getting us to be interested in (MJ, Gwen, May, Bobby Drake and Johnny Storm now, etc.) into this new non-Parker Spiderman. He’s had no previous interactions with them. Again, another reason that Jessica Drew could have worked well, where this character just won’t.

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mygif

@ Eric: to be fair, you left off something else that we know about the new Spider-Man: he is not Peter Parker.

I don’t really think it’s unreasonable for people to say, “I hate the fact that they killed off Ultimate!Peter — for whatever reason — and I only really like reading Spider-Man stories about Peter.”

That’s not a racist reason to be against the change. And that sort of seems like what acabaca is implying.

(Of course, I don’t think anyone is accusing those people of being racist if they leave racist comments out of their complaints. If you’re managing to complain about the change without making snide, derogatory, or infuriated comments about the fact of the new Spidey’s race, then the criticisms aren’t aimed at you anyway.)

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mygif

@ Sisyphus: that’s a good point. Although yeah, I tend to think that was in service of making the point that the world is bigger than just America and America’s problems. Though I wouldn’t say this point was made particularly deftly. And… discussing it would be way off topic.

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@Holly
Regarding Thor, fair enough.

Regarding Spidey, I think what I hate most about this is that I don’t like that they’re removing Peter Parker, but I find myself on the same side (“This is a bad idea”) as racist morons, and that’s just depressing, even if it is for a different reason. I really wish that, had they decided they had to do this, they went with Jessica Drew, if for no other reason that thematic and plot continuity.

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[…] Dear jackasses whining about non-white Spider-Man I’ve seen the “why is it so urgent to make Spider-Man not white” argument about forty thousand times already all across the internets, so let’s get one thing clear:Spider-Man has been around for fifty-eight years. He will, as of a couple of months from now, have had a non-white incarnation for 1/12th of one year.That does not strike me as being particularly urgent. (tags: spiderman race marvel.comics) […]

mygif

@Holly “@ Eric: to be fair, you left off something else that we know about the new Spider-Man: he is not Peter Parker.
Very true, I appreciate that. But I was addressing the “Oh now we can’t complain because we’ll be called racist” strawman certain people construct

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mygif

We’ve seen superhero replacement stories lots of times. This isn’t the last time I’d bet either. Might as well be a black kid for this one. People get all upset by these comic company stunts like they’re permanant

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[…] the off chance that you’re still angry tune in to MGK [Mightygodking] and what he has to say about the topic. He’s right, you […]

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[…] the off chance that you’re still angry tune in to MGK [Mightygodking] and what he has to say about the topic. He’s right, you […]

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@Sisyphus: Oh, make no mistake, the fact that they killed off Peter, who was the moral center of the Ultimate universe, infuriated me to no end.

Although I will say that the Ultimate X-Men became much more heroic and less of a bunch of douchebags when they got out of the pustulent claws of Mark Millar. That man fucks up every character he touches.

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mygif

I actually think this doesn’t go far enough. It always seems like it’s the alternate, the legacy, the replacement hero who turns out to be the minority. Miles Morales gets to be the guy who warms the chair for the “real” Spider-Man, and while I agree that this is a significant step forward from the all-white-male version of the Marvel Universe, it’s still got the unpleasant sensation of something Marvel did to make themselves feel better about their overall lack of minority characters and creators.

Donald Glover playing Peter Parker in an ASM movie…that would have impressed me. Real color-blind casting of a major protagonist in a major Hollywood production of an iconic story…that would have impressed me. Hiring another benchwarmer to get crippled or killed to motivate the “real” Spider-Man to swing back into action five years down the line? Not good enough.

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mygif

There’s a weird kind of contradiction going on here when it comes to “protecting” niche characters. Are these people clamoring on how they think it’s good (or at least indifferent) to have a non-white Spider-Man (or Asgardians in the Thor movie) equally indifferent to a non-Asian cast for Avatar, or a non-Asian cast for Akira, or a non-British Doctor Who? Not from what I seen (poor casting choices aside, people were condemning just the idea of such thing. (As an aside: honestly, it was a post on this site I think that convinced me there could be a female Doctor Who as a reflection of current geekery in the UK, but then only if she were imported from America (and living in “the Pacific Northwest” of course))

Personally, I’d rather see more effort put into making engaging new characters for minorities than simply co-opting existing ones. Avatar and Akira were loved for being what they were, so it can work (granted, Akira was made by and for the Japanese initially, but that didn’t stop American audiences from enjoying it).

But ultimately, put me in the camp that figures it’s the alternate universe version of a fiction character as written by a fan who works for a committee to show diversity in their line at worst and increase sales among minorities at best. And eventually “Ultimate Peter Parker” will be back from the dead. It’s a comic book after all….

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Graehaus said on August 7th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Meh, this change will not bring into the fold. I do not care for the Ultimate universe, the Ultimatum was fine.
What I hate is this need for other pigments version of heroes, I know there are no real multi-ethnic heroes out there, make them, and not stereo-typical.. Black panther, Black Manta, for example.

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mygif

Everyone has said, more or less, what I feel. I’m not pissed that the new Spider-Man is a person of color. I’m pissed that the new Spider-Man is not Peter Parker. USM got me into superhero comics, and I’ve been reading it from the first issue. Taking my favorite iteration of my favorite character away just fucking sucks.

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mygif

I think, Dirge93, if that is your real name, we have to go back to the main thing: We don’t, at this time, have anything nearing a dearth of white superheroes/genre characters.

If anyone, at this time, ever found themselves going “where are the white characters in these books?”, they would be quite rightly laughed out of the room.

So, when characters who ain’t white get cast as white, it’s still within rights for a jolly “WTF?” to be tossed out for that.

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@jack: Re: sharing culture & race, I personally feel this is more immigrant v. native-born rather than white v. Hispanic (although of course immigrants to North America tend to be overwhelmingly non-white, so race is so closely tied).

I’m 1st/2nd generation Canadian-Chinese — I was born here; my parents were born in Hong Kong. While I have ties to China, I have ZERO connection with mainland immigrants who are not deeply naturalized. I have met Chinese of my parents’ age but who have been here for generations … they speak no Cantonese and are as “white” as they come.

I don’t think you should talk to your colleague and think of them as different because of skin colour. I think you should consider their difference of experience. I really can’t speak for it, but immigration is a profound experience. Some people naturalize more “perfectly” than others … for some, it’s like having lived two lives.

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mygif

@Justin Mohareb: You got me. My real name is Dirge47.

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