Changing Face: Diversity & Change in Comic Books and Superhero Movies

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

Spiderman Peter Parker Miles Morales Changing Face: Diversity & Change in Comic Books and Superhero Movies

One would think that lovers of comic books and superheroes would be open to the idea of diversity. After all, if you’re open to the idea of mutants, super-powered aliens, genetically-altered humans, mythological figures, and intergalactic cops wielding power rings, one would think that race wouldn’t be all that big of a deal.

However, as times change, and the face of comic books and the superheroes chronicled therein change with these diverse times, it seems there is a still a serious debate raging between those who label themselves “traditionalists,” resistant to the idea of certain changes being made to superheroes, and those who stand ready to embrace the new opportunities of  superheroes re-imagined for modern times. Of course, as always, there are also those standing patiently in the middle ground, holding off on taking sides until they see how the creators actually handle these new spins on familiar icons.

If you’re not familiar with the issue, we’re talking primarily (but not exclusively) about race/ethnicity and how it relates to the creative liberties that are being taken with certain comic book characters, or characters featured in comic book movies. In the last year alone, there have been issues with the casting of Idris Elba as a Norse God in Thor; the social media fight that erupted when Community actor Donald Glover claimed he wanted to portray a black version of Spider-Man; the casting of Laurence Fishburne as the traditionally-white Perry White in the Superman reboot, Man of Steel; and maybe biggest of all, the decision by Marvel Comics change Spider-Man into a half-black/half-latino character in their upcoming reboot of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book.

I’ll let the Interwebs continue to argue over each of these individual topics – but having paid attention to most of the discourse that has taken place over the issue of character changes in comic books and superhero movies, I do have a perspective to share:

Like anything else, there are rules to this kind of thing. As is the reality of so much in life, these rules are subjective, and malleable, and change with the context of the situations to which they are being applied. They are not rigid, and do not allow for the ease of absolutism (that corrupt mindstate of The Sith). And, just like our infamous post on the rules for movie remakes and reboots, I will now lay down some guidelines for changing a comic book character or icon.

-

1. What is Essential To The Character?

The Kingpin Daredevil comic book Michael Clarke Duncan Changing Face: Diversity & Change in Comic Books and Superhero Movies

This is the first question that should always, always, be asked. Is Peter Parker’s race essential to his character? Let’s see: A bright but wimpy kid from Queens, NY who has a broken family structure (no parents), and is considered an outsider, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and at first uses the power as a cash hustle. His uncle dies violently as a result of the kid’s indifference about right and wrong, making the kid want to clean up the streets and be a force for good.

Are we really saying that this story, in modern times, can’t be about a minority character?

The usual counter-argument you get here is that other races would feel snubbed if their iconic characters were suddenly “race-switched.” One person commenting on the Fishburne/Perry White casting claimed that blacks would be upset if, say, Shaft or Apollo Creed were both re-cast as white characters in modern remakes of Shaft or Rocky - the same way Perry White or The Kingpin were recast as black men in Man of Steel and Daredevil, respectively. I don’t know if that was an intentional easy pitch – but hey, I’m happy to swing at it:

Shaft and Apollo Creed Changing Face: Diversity & Change in Comic Books and Superhero Movies

Do Apollo and Shaft have to be black?

Shaft is a character who is predominately defined by his race. The themes of the character have to do with the fact that he is a black man looking out for his people and community (hence the Shaft theme song). Apollo Creed is much the same – the whole point of that character was that little Italian Rocky was taking on a big black bruiser like Apollo – race had a lot to do with the undercurrent themes of that character. The Kingpin and Perry White, by contrast, are in no way, shape, or form, defined by their race – they are both defined by their attitudes and behaviors. They could conceivably be played by anyone, of any nationality, so long as the themes and natures of the characters didn’t change.

I’d be more worried if Perry White were portrayed as a sensitive mother-hen type in the next Superman movie. Even if the actor was white, an Emo Perry White would dishonor the essential “character” of the character. So long as Fishburne plays Perry White as a gruff father-figure type, his skin color shouldn’t matter. Same goes for Michael Clarke Duncan playing the Kingpin – if he portrays the character as big, smart, and ruthless, he’s pretty much The Kingpin.

Idris Elba Thor Heimdall Changing Face: Diversity & Change in Comic Books and Superhero Movies

Idris Elba as a Norse god?

To be fair, Idris Elba playing Heimdall in Thor is a much more sensible objection, given that the character is based on a figure of Norse mythology (which tends to be filled with pretty much fair-skinned individuals). Still, it was Marvel that re-constituted Thor and his Asgardian brethren as aliens from another realm who were mistaken as gods by primitive Earthlings; but even then, when you think about it, Norse people painting a black man in their myth books would’ve warranted some serious scientific study.

Ultimately though, many people walked away from Thor with nothing but praise for the nobility and stature Elba brought to Heimdall – even if the casting was pushing the line of diversity quotas a bit too far. The actor picked for the part had the chops to make the part memorable – so nothing was really lost, only gained. The filmmakers pushed the line, yes, but stayed on the right side of it in the end. If anything, they expanded the noble essence of Heimdall in ways the comics haven’t been able to achieve: how many more people like the character now that he’s connected with Elba?

Changing Times…

« 1 2 3 4»

TAGS: agents of shield, batman, captain america, rocky, spider-man, superman, superman man of steel, the avengers, thor

365 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. I say change a characters only for the next generation & never to see if it’ll make more money. I mean if they do another “reimaging to both DC & Marvel like they’ve done & are still doing then why not just completely re-write everything & everyone. When i say everything I definantly mean everything except they’re given symbol that’s helped everyone identify who they are.(Chest markings, specific weapons, certian abilities, etc.)

    I know someone who’s more firmilure with the original Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. stories & completely hates the Ultimate Universe. But then on the other hand I know others that love the Ultimate Universe because that’s basically all they know.

    So changing the race of a character can be apart of changing the story especially if the “original” story lines left room enough for such changes. As others have stated that characters like Green Lantern, Batman, Thor, & even Luke Cage can be changed for each new generation of readers.

    Each of those characters have important qualities that can or inevitably will be passed on to another character. The Ring(GL), The Master & The Student(Batman), The Mightiest Wielding The Hammer(Thor), Then finally A man who wants to clean up the streets he grew up on so that the future generations have a safe place to live (LC which can apply to just about every culture & race ever in existance).

    Out of all the Heroes & Villians of any universe or brand the alien, mutants, & Non-human/Dead characters like Superman, Deadpool, & Ghost Rider. I mean they all could appear as any race the writer so chooses them to be just so long as they stand for what the original incarnations did & try to teach the same sort of lessons the originals did just in a different way maybe.

    In the comic world there aren’t many characters that are off limits to change. In fact we see it all the time with vengance type characters. Look at Rhost Rider & then compair him to other anti-heros like SPAWN. Both at one point sold their souls to the devil one litterally & the other through his actions in life. Both became the right hand of satan before finally breaking free, keeping their powers, & fighting against their former masters. But what makes them different is the fact that Spawn is (semi)untouchable, while at the same time Johnny Blaze can be kicked aside. SPAWN is officially dead making him a timeless character that has the option & ability to continue on forever fighting whoever, whatever, whenever (even other Hell SPAWNS). Johnny Blaze on the other hand is still alive, has the ability to lose his powers/die, & can be replaced like the GR before him. Now if it sounded like I just contradicted myself let me say it differently. One’s Dead (making him Immortal), & the other’s still alive (making him a liability). Yeah yeah yeah I know the dead of SPAWN can die (again) of decapitation, but that to me just says you dead today & then you spring back up where you belong. If he belonged in hell & ended up back there that’d just mean he has to face Satan (again) to reagin his freedom & continue fighting him.

  2. I’m don’t think race is the big thing that upsets most fans, but how they transition to it. Example: With the new Spidey
    *SPOILER ALERT*
    They Kill Peter Parker and this kid with similar powers steals his costume and is masquerading as THE Spider-Man, not a different spider themed hero like previous comics did with the likes of Ben Riley and other Spider powered heroes and villains. It just seems like a cop out to kill a beloved character in the name of diversity, whenever race still has nothing to do with the character

    • The kids dons a different costume. He doesn’t wear the original one. The caption shows that he thought it’d be a bad idea to do so.

  3. I find it funny that no one said anything at all about the fact that Hogan of the warriors three,practically one of Thors sidekicks, was asian yet made such a big deal about heimdell, a third string Thor character, being black. It’s sad that race is that important to people when what really matters is the core characteristics of said character

  4. To all the Haters: sucks don’t it?

    How do you think Asians felt when Aang and his supporting team were casted as white instead of Asian and Aboriginal/Inuit? Dragonball Z anyone?

  5. I just hate the hypocrisy. Make a traditionally Asian character like Speed Racer or Goku white, and everyone declares whites racist for changing the character’s race. But make a traditionally white character like Spider-Man or Heimdall or Perry White black, and everyone declares whites racist for not wanting the character’s race changed.

    With regards to Spider-Man, I HIGHLY disagree with the notion that his race isn’t important to his character. He’s not just a young kid from Queens. He’s a nerdy white guy. That’s who he is. Now, since this new Spider-Man isn’t actually Parker, it’s a completely different story and I have no real problem with it, just the fact that they had to kill Parker to make room for the new guy. I definitely dislike that.

    You have to remember that pretty much EVERY high-profile comic writer is white. So, when they write a white character, they don’t HAVE to distinguish the character, and make him obviously and overtly white, because they see the world through the eyes of a white guy, they don’t even think to make the character seem white, because to them, that’s a given. However, when a white writer attempts to write a minority character, they HAVE to clearly distinguish the character as belonging to a different race then themselves. This usually results in them falling into common stereotypes. Take Shaft, for example. That movie was based off a book written by a white guy, and the screenplay was adapted by another white guy. So Shaft being black is accentuated to the point where it’s pretty much his defining character trait.

    My point is, most white characters might not seem inherently white, but that’s only because they were written by a white guy for a predominantly white audience, and the fact that the character was white was simply an accepted reality. They didn’t have to draw attention to it, because the character belonged to the same race as the creators and the audience, but its still very much a part of the character.

    I mean, if you’re really going to make the claim that anyone can be Peter Parker, as long as they’re a skinny kid from Queens, then I see no reason why there can’t be a white Apollo Creed. There’s NOTHING about him that screams “black guy”, other than the fact that he’s very loosely based off Muhammad Ali. Using the same logic you’ve applied to Peter Parker, Kofi, a person of any race could conceivably play Creed, so long as they still play him as the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. It’s not the fact that he’s black that makes Rocky the underdog, its that he’s the best boxer in the world (and an American; that’s pretty integral to the character) and that could be anyone of any race.

    Other people have mentioned Blade as a good example of a character who isn’t inherently black, and could be conceivably played by a white guy onscreen. And I agree. The fact that’s half-human, half-vampire is more important than that he’s half-black, half-vampire. Another example might be Forge from the X-men. He’s native-american, but that’s only rarely addressed. More importantly, he’s a veteran of Vietnam, and a technological genius.

    Now, I’d never actually claim that these characters can or should be race-changed. Merely that, by the same logic you’ve applied to Spider-Man, they CAN be. Now, my own argument for why Spidey shouldn’t be changed should also be used for why these characters shouldn’t be changed, but the fact remains: realistically, you can change ALL these characters without upsetting the core of their character, but even despite that, their original race is still important enough that you should just leave it be.

    • Well said. Spot on post.

    • You’re missing the reality that roles are made for whites all the time in Hollywood. By far, whites have many more opportunities.

      It’s not hypocritical to be upset by whitewashing of roles for Asian characters and be in support of Laurence Fishburne being able to play Perry White.

      It would be if the playing field was even. It’s far, far from it. If you would study American history, you will see why things are the way they are. The best thing you can do to change things is to get white people to stop being racist, and eliminate the pro-white foundation of this society’s institutions.

      Minorities are trying to change that in Hollywood. And they’re still meeting resistance. Most whites I know have no problem with the whitewashing of roles. Basically, they want all roles to go to white people. When their illogical arguments are broken down to their core, it always lead to their belief that minorities should play nothing but stereotypical, lowly roles and whites should play the lead. That mentality has been around for centuries. It’s still here.

      • If the playing field isn’t even, then Tyler Perry sure as hell is trying his best to even it. Dude puts out like 2 movies a year with nearly all black casts.

        On topic: I agree that in some cases, race is more important to a character than others. I think the main thing people are upset about is it seems some of these changes were more about writers/Hollywood saying “Hey, guys, look at us! We’re not racist. Wanna know why? Because we’re going to let a black man play the role of a notoriously white character!”.

        We do need more diversity in superheroes, but this is not the way to do it.

        • Nick,

          How do you DO it then? Of course Tyler Perry is creating movies with majority Black casts. He’s surving an under represented market.

          Who wants to keep seeing the token Asian guy on “Falling Skies” or the token Black agent on “Criminal Minds?”

          Anyway, I’m really interested in hearing your take/thoughts on how things can change.

          • Well for starters, they could focus on creating new superheroes with minority characters. Or better yet, take those minority superheroes that already exist and make them better/more interesting.

            The reason you see so many “token” characters is simply due to the sad fact that so many writers have difficulty writing for a multi-racial cast. They are uncomfortable with writing from the perspective of a different race, culture or gender but feel obligated as to not white-wash and thus we get “token” characters.

            Obviously, this is not all writers, but you can definitely tell when this happens. The problem is, in certain instances, a characters race or culture plays a huge factor in the story and it would not be the same if changed. Other times, writers remedy this by creating a character who could be played by any race. Sometimes this works and other times it makes the character seem flat.

          • I hate the Token term. It’s like unless it’s an all black cast you can’t have a black guy in your movie or show because then he is just the token black guy.

            Why can’t he just a part of the cast why does he suddenly have to be token? The term used to be used to describe the one black guy on a cst who was overly stereotypical now you are just using it to describe a black guy on a cast period. Especially if you are citing falling skies because the so called ‘token’ black guy there is not at all a walking talking stereotype. In fact he is probably the character who is the most interesting and brings the most heart in to the show.

            It’s funny when the cast is all white people cry racism and if you include a minority in your cast he is the token character. I guess the only way to win is to dress in drag and cast an all black movie that isn’t at all funny or interesting.

            The really funny part is I’ve always been surprised how succesful Tyler P was because I’ve never met one person in real life who actually liked his crap.

            • Daniel,

              Being “Just part of the cast” simply makes him/her a background character with no effect on the show/movie. Tokenism comes into play on how the character is used..or rather not used.

              But you are right to a certain degree, there is a catch 22, but it depends on what color lens you’re looking through.
              Just because we hate something doesn’t make it any less true.

              Hopefully, as the old heads move on and younger creators (who’ve grown up with actual friends from different races and nationalities) we’ll start to see life actually reflected in the media.

              Last thing brother. Tyler Perry is popular because millions of people love his plays and movies. I’ve sat in theatres and have been wonderfully surprised at the diversity of people clapping and laughing.

              Be easy and I’m looking forward to your reply.

              • Nate

                Gonna have to disagree being part of the cast means you are part of the cast. The cast is never a background character. Look at a show like House Forman is a part of the cast, but far from a background character. The show is about House at the end of the day, but everyone on the show is very important and wouldn’t be the same with out them. Just because he isn’t the star doesn’t suddenly make him a Token character. It simply makes him another character just like anyone else.

                A better example look at The Wire. Mcnulty the white Irish detective was essentially the star, but almost everyone else on the show is black. There are two white members of the cast and roughly 6 black cast members along with upwards of 12 series regulars that are all black as well. Are they all token characters simply because they are not the stars?

                The Shield only really had two cast members that were black and one cast member that was Latino, but they were two of the most important characters from beginning to end and essentially the heroes of the story. Yet they were not the stars so were they token characters despite having more screen time than most the other characters appearing in every episode and being the heroes ?

                My only point is that just because a black, latino or any other race shows up on a show, but isn’t the star does not make them a token character. They are simply a characters. Also a lot of these so called white shows with token characters still have a black and latino audience.

                I guess we will have to agree to disagree on Tyler Perry I think the guy is awful and he is right down there with Will Ferrel on my avoid at all costs list. Both men have offended my taste with their bad films far to many times. Neither man makes me laugh or even smile. Only positive thing I can say is at least Will Ferrel doesn’t dress in drag. That I know of. That thought is scary I can’t think of many people that would make an uglier woman.

                • @DanielF,

                  I think you said the same thing I did. I didn’t say that they had to be the “Star.”
                  I simply stated that it all depends on how the character is used.
                  I’m probably the only brother on the planet that’s never watched “The Wire,” but I digress.
                  Every example you gave was a good one.
                  Anyway, how the character is used is the key element.
                  Take Jada Pinkett’s part in “Scream 2″ for instance. Her character was the only minority and written to be the first to die (of the “Main cast”)
                  In the comic world the best example of a Token character has always be “The Falcoln.”
                  Now, I’ve always thought he was pretty cool and super lame at the same time, but we only had Cage running around yelling “Sweet Christmas!” and Black Panther at the time. Falcon was created to be a wack sidekick.
                  Why did Warpath have to be the only Xman to die? He was created for that purpose.
                  Why not one of the others?

                  So, just being in the book or part of the cast and being the sole minority doesn’t automatically make them the Token member, but is sure can look like it on the surface.

                  Tyler Perry is a personal taste and personal opinion. I don’t dig ALL of his stuff, but I respect the hell out of what he’s done for keeping underused actors working.

                  Great response by the way man and thanks!

                  • Nate I guess we can find some even ground there. In your first post you made it sound almost as if you were saying just by putting a minority on a show where he isn’t the star makes him a token character. I didn’t agree with that. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding it confused me a bit when you cited falling skies specifically which I didn’t think used token characters at all. I thought they did a good job with the characters. Especially the black father on the cast he is probably the most interesting character on the show currently.

                    You gotta watch The Wire by the way. Good show very good show. It’s funny but I am typically the kind of guy who hates cop shows yet two of my fave shows of all time are Cop shows The Shield and The Wire. The Shield being my all time fave show for the amazing acting and writing. The Shield is more about people and the characters. That is probably IMO the one big weakness of The Wire is that it gets so caught up in it’s message and corruption that it forgets to make interesting characters and actually develop them. There were really only two characters worth paying attention to the star and one of the criminals they kill off in the middle of season 2 lol.

                    • DanielF,

                      I believe I used the Asian guy as my example for “Fallen Skies” because he’s just background noise. Damn near a “Red Shirt” LOL.

                      One of the best recent uses of a diverse cast to me was the “Spartacus” series.

    • “I mean, if you’re really going to make the claim that anyone can be Peter Parker,”

      This is where you are making a HUGE mistake like most of the others around here.

      Anyone CAN NOT be Peter Parker. ANYONE CAN BE SPIDERMAN. It is a very big difference.

      As the title states : “From a black Perry White to a Black/Latino Spider-Man”

      The difference is Perry does not wear a mask does not have an alter ego. Does that mean he cant be changed? I say yes and no. Yes the owner/editor/chief of The Daily Planet can be changed but Perry White cant. (unless like Ultimates you have another Universe.) Of course then you will have people on both sides (probably) debating why did Perry leave to have a black person take the role to why make Perry White black?

      It is a terrible circle and a no win for either side being damned if you do damned if you dont.

      So with that thought process Peter Parker can not be changed but Spiderman can. Any hero can be changed. Any person white, black, green, etc can take up the HEROES mantle.

      Think of it like your favorite sports team. You may think that Bill Smith is your QB until an injury/trade. Do you say the next person to step into the role is not your QB just because it is not Bill Smith?

      No you accept the change and go on supporting your team.

  6. Minority groups were ignored by mainstream media back when spiderman and superman were invented. It is all about money really, minority audiences are a large niche that they want to tap. They probably feel it is safe to do without losing white readers because society is less racist than it was. All the mass media has broken down into niches because the technology is there today not to just cater for the majority groups. The thing about race is that it isn’t just about appearance it is about a shared history, tastes in food, fashions, lifestyles, sometimes religion or language and a shared culture. To change the race of a character is to make them different in so many ways. They did make a movie with a white ‘blade’ character starring Keanu Reeves. It was called Matrix.

    • Your statement about The Matrix is actually only partally true.

      First off the character Neo was actually supposed to be a black man played by Will Smith, but he initially turned down the part so that he could play the part of Jim West in the Movie Wild Wild West.

      Secondly the only thing that they took away from Blade is the “Bullet Time” slow motion sequences. Other wise the two franchises have utterly nothing in common.

      • To be nitpicky, there is no “bullet time” in Blade, only Stephen Dorff dodging badly rendered CGI bullets in slow motion – which isn’t the same thing at all. Reinforces your point though.

        • Yea I’ll give you that since my statement was based only off of the making of Blade 3 when one of the cast members or the director whined (kinda) about how The Matrix stole their thing.

          I’d agree with him more if he’d just said that they’d been slightly inspired since Blade came out a year before of The Matrix. But to say that they stole or took it was a bit to far for both me & him to say since they really only barrowed a new (slightly old) concept of slow motion, & made it their own doing it in a way that no one had really seen yet.

          I’d say 300 kinda fits in that boat of custom slow mo somewhere too, but I’m not entirely sure how yet. So yea I’ll stop here before I go any further from the topic of this page.

  7. I’m black and I don’t necessarily want them changing any existing character’s race. I’d rather there already existed an iconic black, hispanic or asian superhero. But they don’t. There is no Batman/Superman/Spiderman/Wolverine/Captain American level character that is a minority. That won’t change. So in my mind, race in comics and their representative films is a mute point.

  8. @mate, what color do you imagine for Cleopatra? You do realize she was the last descendant of a Greek ruling class started by one of Alexander the greats generals right?

    As for the race issue I just have to say, I get irked when one of my favorite heroes eye color gets changed (Spider-Man in the movies suddenly has blue eyes just like every other hero annoying!) I don’t like change for the sake of change. Like logic in what I read, im not gonna lie I thought Michael Clarke Duncan was perfect casting for the kingpin, I thought Samuel l Jackson makes a great Nick fury. But that doesn’t mean I want to see Spiderman suddenly be played by Danny Glover (great in community btw) I like my heroes the way they are… and for the most part that’s dcu, most of marvel I stopped paying attention to. You’d be surprised at the number of minorities in comics. And if you think they aren’t high profile enough, then make them high profile. Look English people were hardly represented before Alan Moore and Neil gamian started taking minor characters and making them awesome reads. Comic characters were based off the dreams of those who wrote them- usually Jewish kids from New York. So most of them appear that way.

    • She’s also got an African mother (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/also_in_the_news/7945333.stm) – so no one really knows what color her skin would be or what she looks like. Probably not like Elizabeth Taylor.

    • Well the thing about that is it depends on how dark her mother was & it takes a lot more than one generation of a different race to break down the genes that make a person black. My family’s a perfect example of this There’s 2 generations of white in my family that haven’t broken the gene completely (one German the other Scottish). Then there’s the Native American portion that got us to the copperish baige we are now. Now the genes that would make our next generation appear to be fully white is if they find a white person to have kids with like my uncle Peter who’s kids look like they’d never come from him. (4 blood tests kinda proved that they did) One’s blond & they both have blue eyes when most of us have either dark brown or hazel eyes.

      So basically my point is if her mother was really really dark then it’s a good chance that she was black too.

  9. Oh loved idris Elba in Thor… bad choice in God’s though only because he is specifically called the white God… so they didn’t read that one very well. Love idris though awesome actor great in Thor.

    • Yes and a hero wears white and is considered good. And the men in black are/can be white…

      So I dont understand what you are trying to say… Is white descriptive as that is how he holds his values being ‘good’ (the goodest) and against ‘evil’?

      Or is it a direct representation of his skin color? Which why did they not address the other gods by their skin color?

  10. First I’ll would to say nice topic. I’m a black male that worked in the social service field for nearly 20 years. When you discribed Peter Parker
    you just discribed a great number of children in foster care, also in my community. Yes a black superman would have work from day one.

    • Terrence,

      Thanks for doing what you do. Don’t let the system wear you down! It’s all worth it if you can get just ONE kids placed with a loving family.

  11. Not a superhero, but how about being totally radical and actually portraying Princess Dejah Thoris of Mars, and all her people, somewhere as she was described in the novel: racially mixed, counting Black, Yellow and White people among her ancestors? Instead of as a white woman, or possibly a slightly pink skinned or slightly tanned white woman? The novel claims that the Red people have copper colored skin so a slightly reddish brown would not be that far off… and while her facial features are described, they are described in a manner which could well include almost any type of mixed heritage as long as she is beautiful in a conventional way.

    Alright, I haven’t seen any of the new comics, so perhaps that is actually being done right now. If not I think it definitely should be, that is one character who has been whitewashed for about a hundred years already so it might be high time to get a bit more accurate with her.

  12. I wholeheartedly agree with the points the author made in this article, especially the one about how race is not always an essential part of the makeup of characters.

    I think there are many characters that can bear an “ethnic reimagining” precisely because of the racism and white essentialism that leads writers and creators to make white characters “everymen”, with no allusion to the actual ethnicities that we lump together as white in this country.If,in Spiderman, there were some allusion to Peter Parker’s ethnic heritage, then maybe it wouldn’t be such an easy reboot to make him blackorican. The creators did not see this as necessary because Peter didn’t need to be any specific race in order for the story to work, and because if the time the story originates from, default race = anglo.

    There was some person who said that Peter Parker couldn’t be blatino because he was a white nerd. What part of being a nerd demands whiteness? I went to school with a lot of people of color, and the whole “if you’re smart you’re uncool” thing was alive and well in those halls, believe me.

    I see the reactions of other white fanboys and gurls when topics like this come up, and they are always the same “oh, this is terrible, this is bad for the character, you can’t change something this way, we’re threatened, blah blah…”

    I say, get over it! The story goes on, just deal.

  13. It doesn’t matter if the character is portrayed by a white, black, orange or blue actor! What really should matter is that the character is played out properly and to follow the original material and not some lame re-imagining of the character.

  14. I wouldn’t have cared about a blatino guy putting on the spiderman costume temporarily, cuz race isn’t that important to me, I’m just pissed ultimate peter parker had to die, instead of creating a brand new blatino hero or having an ultimates universe black hero get his own title, killing off peter parker wasn’t nessassary to give blatino character his own comic title, killing off peter parker pisses me off

  15. EXCELLENT article, Kofi. I totally agree with you. Although not nearly as avid a comic reader as some that have posted, I think the overarching issue here is race, so i think i can comment safely. Truth is, the fact that we even still have to talk about this kinda stuff is evidence of how far we have to go as a society. I love how you brought out the fact that we need to stay true to the major themes and keep race where it belongs–an interesting nuance. As long as it doesn’t alter those major themes…really, should we even give a flying kitty?? Speaking as a black man….

  16. tone…

    You don’t have to worry about being called stupid anymore since Screenrant apparently thinks you’re perfectly justified in using the term “colored people” in the modern era. THAT is why I was commenting to you. The rest of your response was simply pointless, silly blathering and was certainly NOT worth my time or effort, as I really cannot take you seriously.

    I DID, however, take offense to that term, though your dense response to me showed me that you don’t even realize when you are being a narrow-minded bigot…whether you are white, black, hispanic, OR Asian.

    The fact that Screenrant took away MY indignant comment but left your original, UNEDITED comment shows me that there are some issues perhaps I need to consider about what they think is allowable or proper.

    Your blathering, otherwise, is a NON-issue.

    • Archaeon,

      We get hundreds of comments a day here and some are posted either overnight or between moderation checks. Some things do slip past and we DO have to sleep from time to time.

      We are going over this comment thread now and are also closing down further comments.

      Vic

  17. Oh, and by the way, the ULTIMATE Peter Parker died, NOT the MAINSTREAM one. The Ultimate universe has already had countless alterations from the 616 universe; this one was actually quite minor in comparison. Consider THAT…

  18. VERY well said…especially since my rather more “aggressive” response to his following statement did not meet with Screenrant’s approval.

Be Social, Follow Us!!