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

Published 3 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.

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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…

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

365 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. Kofi…

    As you WELL know, I often do not agree with you in various articles you’ve written or on which you’ve commented. That said, I think you wrote a wonderfully timely, well thought-out article this time. You made a number of great points and remained (as was necessary, of course, given the nature of this particular subject matter) fair-minded, mostly objective, and insult-free (I don’t include the remarks about bigots, obviously, because, well, they’re stupid by definition and deserve to be knocked down a few hundred pegs ;) ). I enjoyed and agreed with just about everything you said: The core of the character and our experience(s) with that character (and visiting the world inhabited by that character) are the important factors in determining WHO that person is in a given comic or movie.

    Beautifully done. :D

  2. My Problem is with the changing of “faces” as the title of this article mentions it. My very strong faith is, that no one can be easily replaced because every one is unique and individual. Comic-heroes are even more unique, because of their fantastic powers and thei characteristics.

    So, as a example, you can’t replace Peter Parker, and keep Spider-Man. Peter Parker is Spiderman, Kal El is Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman, no one else can replace them, they’re not THE heroes they suposed to be anymore, and this has nothing to do with skincolour, race, nationality or whatever.

  3. Kofi.. my MAN!

    Big ups to you brother for having the balls to drop this article!

    1. I personally wonder if the Green Lantern movie would have done better if the John Stewart version wasn’t used. He’s what kids have grown up with and for the most part, the general public has seen as the face of the lantern corps.

    2. To quote you ”
    Here’s a little secret you might not know: Even minorities don’t like to be pandered to by empty gestures of political correctness. No black man (that I’ve ever met) has ever said, “I want my race to be represented in this horror movie, just so the character can say something black (‘Man this !#$%* be CRAZY!’) and then be the first to get his head split by a machete.” Maybe some of you know that guy, but I sure don’t.”

    That paragraph had me chuckling like crazy. You’re right. We don’t like being pandered too just as we hate being the token (or seeing the token character). Your line about the smart mouthed black (comedy relief) character or the one who gets killed first (Darwin)still rings true. I’ve read comments from other threads in which people refuse to acknowledge those two truths in film and TV.
    Why couldn’t Cylops have been killed instead of Thunderbird?

    @stevejovonti, don’t take this personally my man, but you put it out there. I’ll try to say this so you don’t think i’m picking on you.

    My man, Hollywood has been “Whitewashing” characters since film started. There’s a thing called of “blackface?”
    Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Really?

    Al Jolsen…
    “Birth of a Nation”

    “Akira” will almost certainly have a non Asian cast.
    Earthsea the TV series.. wow! In the book, 90% of the characters are minorities. In the show, 99% white.

    The movie “21″ had an all white cast, while the real life characters were mostly of Asian decent.
    There are countless westerns with whites in “red face” playing “Injuns”
    Charlie Chan is a Chinese character who was played by a white guy.
    All the “Mexicans” in the early incarnations of Zorro.
    I could go on forever about how Hollywood has been doing that, but to bring this back to the comicverse.

    The Legion of Super Heroes: You’re (not You you, but them,..you) telling me there are no Blacks, Latinos, or Asians in the future? LOL.

    Silverfox in “Wolverine”.. nuff said on that subject.

    The bottom line is that minorities are still very under represented in every form of media.

  4. It seems these idiots forgot who their core base is.

  5. I think the best idea from this article would be a non-white Superman. I say “non-white” meaning blue, red, gray, brown, anything but a Caucasian looking supermodel. If he looked distinctly alien, he would have to live his life very differently. His looks keep him from being a real outsider despite his powers and his origin.

  6. With virtually all of these characters, a “Race Switch” doesn’t matter at all. Perry White by Lawrence Fishburne? Cool. Idris Elba? Gods can be anything they want. Michael Clarke Duncan? Tell me a while guy who would have been a better Kingpin and NOT looked like a Schmoo.

    The problem is with Spider Man. Had it been simply a case of Peter Parker was killed and someone from the inner city else took up his mantle with an entire new group of people to support him, I think people would get more on board. That’s realistic (as a comic book can be), it makes sense.

    BUT…

    They’re not changing the support group, MJ is still there, Aunt May will be a ‘Mentor’, Gwen is still around. The ONLY thing it seems like they’re changing is Spider Man. So instead of an attempt to move the story in a new direction with a whole new cast of characters to get to know and watch develop over time, what is left comes off as a cheap attempt to change Spider Man’s ethnicity to shoehorn in (attempted) appeal to a new demographic – and if they go ahead and make him gay to try and hit the PC Grand Slam, they may actually succeed in what all his enemies couldn’t do, kill the character, not just Peter Parker

    The other problem with all this, is that these are characters that are not just characters, but imprints on the American Psyche that have been ingrained for up to 80 years now
    – Superman is the last son of Krypton
    – Batman’s parents were rich people who were killed in an alley
    – Wonder Woman is the Amazonian Emissary to the real world
    – Captain America is a skinny kid who got a chance to make a difference
    – Peter Parker is a bullied science geek
    – The Hulk goes green when he’s angry
    Really, outside of those characters, you probably could change their races and not have a problem (Iron Man, Green Lantern and I think even Captain America already have). But when you start dealing with the core characters that even people who wouldn’t know a comic book from a Staples catalog know, for no other (obvious) reason than just to try and make them multi- ethnic or homo/bi/pan-sexual (Captain Jack Harkness’ designation – who kicks ass on Torchwood, for the record) is just not going to play well anywhere.

  7. First, I tend to lean in the traditionalist direction but usually don’t get too worked up, especially when it comes to the movies. On film, I’m generally more concerned with whether or not they got the core of the character and the right actor for the job than with his skin color or anything else that relates to the actor’s apart from the role.
    Second, my main problem with changing a character’s race in the comics is that it reflects a complete lack of ideas on the part of the creators and/or an unwillingness on the part of the fans to embrace new characters. In short, stop rebooting the same freakin’ characters over and over (remember, the Ultimate line was essentially a reboot to begin with, so now they are rebooting the reboot) and create some new ones! Or at least go the Kyle Rayner route and fill the same role with a new personality.

  8. I will give the new Spiderman a chance..not thrilled by the decision to change his race BECAUSE a white/bullied/science geek/orphan is what I have been dealing with when it comes to Spiderman for 40 years…All of a sudden they kill Peter Parker in the Ultimates and bring in the new guy.. I hope it doesn’t disappoint..not saying in won’t or can’t work I hope it blows my mind with it’s audacity and does remain true to what SPiderman has become to people…I’m Aboriginal and I would not welcome an Aboriginal spin on the Spiderman character…I’ll stick with Warpath, SHaman, Tailsman, Dawnstar, Arak, Black COndor, Comanche, Black Crow, Puma, Snowbird, Silver Fox and the many other heroes of Aboriginal design. There are a lot to appeal to my ethnic background. I think my real problen with the new Spiderman truthfully is because they killed off the old one. Peter Parker will be a hard act for any character to follow…

    • Oh and AWESOME article Kofi !! Well thought out and very compelling..Great points made and supported with great prose!!

  9. I thought this was a great article about the new Spiderman Miles Morales and it seems the creators are staying true to the essence of the character that Kofi referred to…

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33915

    I will be cautiously optimistic.

  10. how did Peter Parker get killed?

    • Wally,

      I just ordered my “Death of Spider-Man” from Amazon. You should be able to get the “Fallout” series there as well, but to answer your question: Apparently Osborn finally gave him the Long Kiss Goodnight.

      • @ Nate

        Norman? I guess outta all the villains, it would be Green Goblin. Question would be Norman or Harry. I found some of my Batman trading cards i thought i lost or accidently threw away. Still got cards that about Knightfall & A Death In The Family which are among my favorite stories. I have a card of Batman with tears in his eyes w/ Robin in his arms after Joker killed him. Another w/ Azrael over Bane after giving him his beating & lifting Bane up by his shirt along with Azrael making his helmet among other great cards.

        • **********SPOILER COMMENT BELOW*********
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          @WallyWest

          He took a sniper bullet for Cap by pushing him put the way. He then went to go fight Osbourne and succumb to his wounds protecting his family.

          • Darn you Ignur.. curse you spoiler of this comment.

            My books haven’t arrived yet. Sigh.. now I’m gonna be all “well, here it comes..oh, there he goes” with my Mr. Snuffelupegus/Eeyore voice.

            • @Nate aka My 2 Cents

              My apologies man. WallyWest had asked so casually I didnt think to add the Spoiler Warning. It’s a good read but more importantly believable and I am glad to say there is no clichè moments.

          • @ Ignur

            Wow, so both he & Capt take a bullet huh.

  11. Peter Parker (Ultimate) is dead. This isn’t a young Black/Latino kid named Peter Parker. Would there be such an uproar if another white character took over? They’ve done that alread with no fuss.. Ben Riley sound familiar? Spider-Girl?? Spider-Man 2099? (uggh!)

    • Spiderman 2099 is actually Hispanic lol. Which makes me wonder why it’s such a big deal for there to be a black Spider-Man……(“Why Can’t We Be Friends” starts playing in the background)

    • Didn’t the whole Ben Riley / Clone / Scarlet Spider story go over so well they killed him a year later and changed the story so that he was the clone a year later?

      It’s not the race, it’s the story behind what’s going on.

  12. Great article Kofi. The only problem I have is the same problem many have mentioned: changing the ethnicity of an established literary character. How would people react if Tom Sawyer’s race were changed, or Sherlock Holmes?

    • I don’t think it’s a fair argument regarding Tom Sawyer because Sawyer dealt with a lot racial/slave issues that you can’t change the race of Tom Sawyer because that changes the story.

      I don’t think changing race or ethic background of a superhero changes the story. For example: Peter Park is white; Spider-Man is not. Meaning Peter Park will always be a white male. Spider-Man has a the freedom to be any race and a part of any group because he is an idea that must be inhabited by someone but that someone doesn’t have to be Peter Parker.

      • Good point on Sawyer. I guess I would substitute James Bond for Tom Sawyer. How would people react having a black 007?

        Spider-Man is an alter-ego, so yes, he could be any race. While I thoroughly enjoyed Thor, and the actor who played Heimdahl did a great job, but I would like, as I said before, that literary characters stay the way they were conceived.

        • Yea, I think when we try to change literary characters such Swayer, Huck Finn, even in the men in Gathering of Old Men, etc. you change the entire point and message of the story. For me, I hold literary classics above comic books in terms of the messages especially ones (the literary classics) that helped change history.

  13. Man this is a great article and I totally agree with Kofi.

    I remember how upset people got because the different nations from Avatar The Last Airbender are different races than what they are from the animation. Especially the fact it added a tribe that was of African descent.

    Not to mention that the head monk that was a close teacher to the Avatar was changed to a black man. I mean come on being a monk is religious position not a race. I can share in that belief and be a monk even though I am black.

  14. I like these standards. I have no problem with a rebooted minority Spider Man, because it works. He doesn’t have to be white. It would be difficult to sell a non-white Captain America (Steve Rogers), but I like some of the retconn that has put African-Americans into those places, and Patriot, currently leading the Young Avengers, is a great character.

    I’d like to see the Black Panther and the Falcon take more-important roles in current runs. I’m not crazy about Luke Cage, but I’m glad to see someone with a less-than-pale skin tone in an important position. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind if Wolverine were bumped from both Avengers teams to open up spots for Falcon and Photon, and knocking Spidey from one — or the FF — in favor of the Black Panther would make me very happy.)

    I like seeing some diversity, and I think it’s fine to achieve it at the expense of some of the white characters. My brother and I were discussing superheroes who could change race without any effect on them, and we came up with several of the big guns. Why not make Hawkeye an African-American?

    • I agree. First off, THIS IS HOW THE ULTIMATE UNIVERSE SHOULD OF STARTED OUT!! Second its not the real spider-man form 616. SO Personally I don;t really see the whole naysayers are fussing about. Get over yourselves. Now There’s a few reason’s why don’t like the reboot movie of Spider-man, but that’s a different story for a different day.

  15. I don’t even believe I forgot this one. Read Frank Miller’s 300 and tell me what they changed…..

  16. But the question is why change characters when they could just make up new heroes?

    • True

    • At the risk of not being politically correct, very few new characters (of any race) are going to have the sales of an established one like Spider-Man. So if you want an minority character to have the sales of a white one (whether they’re alien / mutant / whatever), you need to change one of the big ones to a minority and call it “A bold reimagineering of _________”

      • although your argument is true, the funniest part about this is that Peter Parker isn’t being “reimagined” as being a black kid……this black/latino version of Spidey is a totally DIFFERENT character….his name is Miles Morales…he takes up Spidey’s mantle after he can’t anymore…(Peter Parker/Spider-Man recently was killed in the Ultimate universe)…anyone ever heard of Ben Reilly?….he was a clone (a white clone) of Peter Parker…..no one cared when he became the new temporary Spider-Man…..but when it’s a black/latino guy putting on the red and blue tights, there’s controversy……*tisk tisk*

        • Jokers Wild are you kidding me?

          No one cared when Ben Reilly took over? What world do you live in? There was a lot of anger and outrage.

          Also there is a lot more involved than it simply being a black and white thing. The replacement was a different circumstance of why Peter was being replaced and how. It was also a Genetic clone of Peter and not some random kid on the street who has his powers or whatever somehow. Yet despite all these differences people were still angry about it.

          • Daniel,

            That’s a pretty broad statement considering there wasn’t really a strong web in the sense we have now, but I’ll agree to a point.

            Wizard comic guide was basically the only means to get info on comics back then and the editors really couldn’t stand the idea of the clone saga and Ben.

            Man, I was spending damn near $300.00 a month on comics back then.. whew! I digress, sorry. Anyway, I didn’t think it was too bad a story line back then. The recent “Everyone has spider powers” is way worse. LOL.

        • No one cared? That was after I stopped reading comics, but I recall that story line going over like a fart during audience with the Pope. The plan back then, as I recall, was to retire Peter Parker and have Ben Riley take over, but the whole story went so badly I don’t even think it lasted a year before they killed off Ben and decided that he was really the clone instead of Peter.

          I understand Miles is a different character from Peter, and had they redone the entire series – and characters – the whole idea would have gone over smoother, I believe. However, this isn’t Peter Parker being reimagined as a black kid, it’s Spider Man – they’re 2 different people for all intents and purposes, so yes, I was very purposely saying it was Spider Man being reimagined, not Peter Parker (I had a pretty long post on page 5 so I don’t want to repeat myself). Quite honestly, I don’t think the reaction at this point would have been any different no matter who was taking his place.

          • Side Note: What about Nick Fury? He went from white to African American and that’s about the best thing embraced in all of comics for years!

            Of course, Samuel L Jackson does tend to kick some serious ass

    • I think that its easier to change some characters with a popualr following than it is to bring in new characters with an unknown followng or no following at all. DC Comics have a White and a Black Green Lantern. Why not bring in a Hispanic or an Asian Green Lantern, it can be done based on the background of the character. Some chareacters can be changed and just can not. You can change Captain America, Wolverine, Storm and Thor from their ethnic groups. But like someone said, what about a Black Hawkeye, or who the hell knows what ethnic group Mystique really looks like. Just as an example. but this is only mu opinion

      • I meant you can not change Capt, Wolverine, Storm and Thor. But a change up here and there may be surprising and different, it can still be enjoyable

        • Thor at times was a frog and more or less a large goat looking thing.

          So Thor can be changed because “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

          Cap Ive talked about. There is no problem having someone else take over the mantle of CA. Regardless of race.. ok maybe an Iraqi would not go over to well….

          Wolverine… For all intent purposes you wouldnt change him. There is no easy way to slide that by. Storm is the same.

          Could you have others that take the mantle of Wolverine or Storm based on the powers they have? Sure but you could not swap them out.

          Characters like Cap and Thor are… how did Liam put it… “If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.”

          There is no reason why someone else could not become Captain America, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Thor, Green Lantern, Blue Beetle, Dr. Fate, etc…. Remember this is not about us picking up the next issue of Spiderman and seeing a young black man being addressed as Peter Parker, Or Bruce Wayne now a female named Bunny Wayne, or even Ted Kord all of a sudden becoming a kid from El Paso Texas.

          It is the end of a character Parker, Wayne, Jordan, Kord etc and someone else picking up the mantle of the HERO that they once carried.

      • Beserker,
        The do have a Hispanic GL. Kyle whatshisname.

  17. the main thing that no one ever considers is pandering to specific groups whether it be a sexual orientation, race, or anything such as that is that it is as bad as snubbing them and equally as wrong. equality means we are equal and as such we should not do things JUST BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE OR PREFERENCE. Ultimate Colossus was gay, but it was a character trait and a very well written one. Not this huge in your face thing. People are not stereotypes and comics write far too many characters as stereotypes. Thats fine with a background character like Flash Thompson but seriously don’t change a characters race just so it will sell some damn comic books

    • Alex

      IMO Colossus being gay was a terrible terrible decision. Colossus was one of my fave comic characters and outside of wolverine my fave X-men. making him gay took away the love that he and Kitty Pride shared.

      • The relationship between Peter and Kitty still exists. It’s not as if the Colossus from the 616 universe was changed in anyway. Thats why I like the Ultimate line of comics. You can tell new and different stories without affecting the main universe. Peter Parker is still Spider-Man. But now we also have a new Spider-Man, who has a different life story and background, who can experience a whole world which just wouldnt have been there through Peter. Why not enjoy both? Considering all the changes made in Ultimate Marvel, changing Spidermans race is actually pretty minor.

        • Why not enjoy both? Because in general the Ultimate comics suck. They mostly rehash the same plots that the regular comics made except they leave out the best story moments. They focus on the plots of pre existing storys and forget about the hidden layers and depth that the earth 616 had. They also don’t seem to care about the characters or their development. I actually want to read about the character in Earth 616 but in the ultimate universe the characters are dull and uninteresting.

          Does the relationship still exist in 616 sure. That’s why I like colossus in earth 616 however in Ultimate universe he is a waste of a character and I found my self wanting him to just be killed off asap.

          • Ok, you dont like Ultimate. So you cant enjoy both. But no matter what Ultimate does, the main universe still exists unchanged. Colossus could be front row of Gaga concert in drag and it wouldnt stop or errase anything going on in 616. I like that Ultimate is going places that 616 cant go. Ultimate Colossus can deal with issues and storylines that 616 Colossus cant. They may never be as good or interesting, but they will be differnt. And if they arnt your cup of tea, you dont have to buy em.

  18. @ Wally West

    BIG SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
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    He gets shot by the punisher with a bullet that was meant for Cap and then goes and fights the Sinister Six..minus Doc Oc who was killed by the Green Goblin..While he was bleeding to death he took on the other five…Aunt May guns down Electro as he was about to electrocute Peter..Ice Man and the Human Torch are no help to Peter as they are quickly subdued by the Goblin..Peter takes apart the other members of the Sinister Six saving his aunt May, Gwen and and Ice Man and Torch and then succumbs to his injuries..he couldn’t save Ben but he gave his life saving May…it was a very poignant issue..had tears in my eyes reading it..It actually was the story arc I needed to get interested in the Ultimates Universe..I highly recommend it!!

    Cheers

    • @ greenknight333

      Wow,lol. Reminds me on the 90′s X-Men animated series episode ” Mojovision” where Wolverine was just about to stab a robot impersonator of The Punisher with his claws just as Punisher was gonna get a shot off to Wolverine.

    • Wow!!! I was wondering how they did it and i love the way they killed him. no more guilt for him then. he is in a better place. now let us see what the next spidey can do. since he took over i believe he loved the work of the old one and wants to follow his example. he will realize that it is not easy but will overcome it anyway. i love it!!! :)

    • I think that would actually make a great movie, and with this reboot, they could do this in the future (well, except they can’t use Captain America or the Punisher).

    • Wally,

      I wanna beat you silly! LOL. I just read Ultimate Spidey 160 yesterday evening where Pete took his swan dive. Nice! Now I have to F’n back up to find the issues prior.

  19. Great article. Well written and extremely well thought out. I couldn’t find anything to gripe about.

  20. On a side note, it’s pretty refreshing to read the messages here and actually find people debating the points, not getting involved in race baiting and name calling

    Cheers to all of you for keeping things classy!

  21. Ah, I hadn’t gathered that Ultimate Spidey was actually dead and a new kid was taking over. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I actually hope the fans embrace it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I hope Ultimate Parker stays dead so the new kid has a chance to be an icon in his own right. And not shoved off into space or turned into a clone or something stupid like that. The way I read (or rather skimmed) the original article it sounded less like passing on the mantle and more like a lame do-over like DC’s upcoming reboot.

  22. I think in Most cases, the ERA in which this characters were developed and where and when they were born, raised and acquired their powers determine in our minds what color we think they should be. Can half of them be changed, yes, but as we get used to what we are accustomed to seeing and what we want to believe as far as how it applies to real world situations forgetting that it is fantasy, we become closed minded about seeing certain characters in colors. for example, i have a problem with Halle Berry playing the Storm character, I can think of so many other actresses that will give Storm her due credit, mainly Angela Bassett, but that is just me.

    • Beserker,

      I think I have a man crush on you for that statement. LOL! All kidding aside. Angela Bassett is who I originally thought should play storm at that time. She was still young enough and man did she have the build.. she still does. M’bushe Wright was my other option.
      Then again, how fitting for the topic- because there aren’t a ton of options left for us to choose from anyway.

      …and now for something completely different..but more of the same.

      Sociology teaches us that people surround themselves with people they’re comfortable with, people who reflect them. The same goes for the creation of characters in TV, Film, Books..etc. The characters will “look” like their creators for the most part.
      The writers, creators, artists and execs all have those “privileges”
      That won’t change until there are more minority writers, artists and more importantly, members on the board to direct policy.

      “White people create the dominant images of the world, and don’t quite see that they thus construct the world in their image.” ~Richard Dyer~

      People can deny “White Privilege” all they want, but it’s a fact of life. It’s not necessarily and “evil” thing in itself. It is what it is. Earned and unearned. “To the victor goes the spoils” “Might makes right”
      Others will just blow it off.

      You can look at all the movies and games reviewed right here on ScreenRant and see for yourself. Count how many movies, TV shows and games have minority leads then count how many show supporting roles then finally count the ones that don’t have any at all. “Attack the Block” may be the most diverse off all. I’m not even going to count “The Help” because it’s subject matter speaks for itself.

      If you really want the answer, then take the dare. If you’re open minded enough, you’ll see that it’s right there.

      People have stated that they should just create another or more minority characters? It’s been done time and time again. Milestone Comics and Tribe. They didn’t last long. Why? Cause black folk don’t read? Possibly, but that’s a general, broad sweeping stereotypical belief (and joke) even in the black community.
      I ask again why didn’t they make it? I’ll even go as far to ask how many reading this actually have copies of any Milestone comics? I guess the better question would be, how many “supported” Milestone comics?
      How many here actually watched ”

      We’re sitting here debating and some complaining about the none mainstream version of Spider-Man being Black/Latino.. Perry White being played by Morpheus… When they’re sadly just a grain of sand on the beach that is mass media.

      It’s “Pandering” to some which is another word for Affirmative Action which is another phrase for “We like all our characters white” and anything replacing it is an inferior product, a mediocre product.

      The fact is that there are tons of inferior white characters, shows, movies and whatnot just because of the sheer number alone. Challenge the establishment on the smallest level and everyone gets worked up, when all they have to do is turn back on the TV or open a book and be right back on familiar grounds, just as if nothing has changed.

      Spider-Man is still Caucasian in the regular world. Perry White is still White, Nick Fury is still as his creator created him and Heimdall is still a big burly Viking.

      I apologize for the long ramble.. kinda.

      • Good points, I agree for the most parts, but not all white people are comfortable in the world our white great grand parents created. If everyone was happy with the world as it was, “White people create the dominant images of the world, and don’t quite see that they thus construct the world in their image.”, than we would still live in the same world with the same laws which existed years ago. Segregation, laws preventing minorities the same rights as whites, less pay for eqaul work etc. People of all races have stood up and said ‘Enough’.

        The problems still exist, even with a black Spider-Man who isnt even the real Spider-Man. The outcry against it, considering that Ultimate really is just a really long “What If” story, is sad and disapointing. But in the end we now have a main stream super hero of a differnt ethnic background. Hopefully both the readers of comics and the creators of comics will both react positivley, allowing for more diverse characters. All it takes is one person to make a change, so everyone else will see the world that way as well.

        • Avatar,

          Take a look at the author of that quote. Go to Amazon and read a preview of his book.

          I wasn’t saying that “ALL” Caucasians are comfortable with the status quo. Obviously, that’s why we’re having this conversation. It’s better late than never.

          The main issue is that people don’t see Caucasians as an ethnic group. They’re just “People” so why can’t the Justice League stay all white? Because they aren’t seen as “White” by Caucasians. Only minorities see the exclusian.
          That’s simply from being the dominate culture and having everything reflect what you see in the mirror. It’s natural to assume so though.
          What we have here is a character Spidey reimagined by an “non” minority because the need is there and the times have changed. It’s also because there are very few minorities in a position to create a character.

          I actually can’t name one minority character created by a minority creator that is around today. Static aka Static Shock was the closet we got when he had his short lived cartoon.
          So for those who keep saying “why don’t they just create a new hero or group of minorities”
          All I have to say is wake up please.

          Again, you’re right, not every White person is comfortable with the way things are and Bendis has said “Enough!”

          We’re not getting Peter Parker wrapped in brown skin.
          This new kid has assumed the role of a fallen hero just like Bucky did for Capt.

          I’m waiting for a Black, Asian or Hispanic Dr. Who!!

          • Paterson Joseph would be my choice as a black Dr Who, Nate. He’s already appeared on the show in a supporting role in the final two Christopher Eccleston episodes, and people were actually taking bets on either him, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Colin Salmon taking over from David Tennant before Matt Smith was announced.

            • What? What? What? That would be f’n sweet!!

              You know, considering that they change the Doc every couple years, him being Black, Asian or another minortiy makes more sense than anything else.

              He’s an alien who can change his physiology right?

              • He could conceivably regenerate into any race or either gender – the character keeps all the experiences and some of the personality traits of previous incarnations, which makes it even more interesting. I think a significant number of viewers are up for that kind of change, as long as it’s not treated as a gimmick or just done as a “controversial” ratings booster. I’m pretty certain a non-caucasian (and/or non-male) Doctor will happen somewhere down the line.

                • The Doctor Actually can’t be a female even though he is an alien. They said it somewhere down the line but Time Lords can only change age & apperance, but not gender. Which makes sense, because then they’d have to make it so that the Time Lords would have had some way to a-sexually reproduse just in case the entire race happens to become one gender by some strange unforseen occurence. We know for a fact that they aren’t able to do that because The Doc is the only one left with no children besides the female clone/daughter of the previous Doctor. Honestly I wouldn’t mind if she got her own sspin-off series like Tourchwood did.

                  • If the producers wanted to do it badly enough I reckon they’d have no problem going right ahead and justifying it after the fact. ;-)

  23. Good article, still if you want diversity you could ad some new characters to the comic universe, why not? i mean look at the Justice League cover, everyone is white because they were created white, so no change need for now, but what they do? they ad Cyborg in the mix… why? because they need to reach other people to buy this comics, the same goes to Perry White, theres no point saying i am no racist or whatever since everyone here will bash any comment you post, i think LF will do a great job as Perry in the upcoming movie, but h ell he is not Black! he is White! but why the change, because again they need to reach other people to fill thyre pants hole with money is not because the character needs to grow or is the best represented that way, or thinking about a demographic group is all about business as usual, if you want a black Latin American Spidey go to the ultimate universe to do that (which they did) but never change Peter Parker, because he was created white and there is no need to be Black, the same goes with the Kingpin in Daredevil, he is no Black but they need it to be that way to get people to see this, i am no fan of Marvel comics but if i were i would pissed off by this! why change a character ethnicity? $$$ is like this article says the character personality can be portrait by anyone, but you know is true that there are stupid reasons behind it!

    I hope someone here understand what i am saying if not whatever, my intentions are not to harm or insult anyone here… And hey I would like to see the next Blade movie (reboot) played by Sam Worthington to see how it feels….btw i am not white. Cheers!

    • Jack.

      “And hey I would like to see the next Blade movie (reboot) played by Sam Worthington to see how it feels….btw i am not white. Cheers!”

      It’s been done time and time again, so people do know what “it” feels like.
      It’s a good thing kids have Google these days. Please look up “Whitewashing” but look at more than the Wiki page. I hope that it leads you to do some deep historical reading because for whatever your ethnicity is, sadly enough, it’s been WW’d.

      • dont know about the “WW’d” means but, whatever happened in the past happened, is time to move one i understand it and i support it but changing the ethnicity of a character you love or care just because “it has to be that way” or “it would bring more people a.k.a. more money” or “the character personality can be played by either a black or white person (like the article say)” is a very cheap and insulting thing to do IMHO.
        I like my characters the way they are, and that is not a negative thing right? If you want to attract new people whatever race they are there always room for more heroes, just look at the new Batman title Batman INC or something, it features an African person in Africa inspired by the Bats from the states, thats it there you have it if you want to make a movie about this then do it, but dont change me Alfred or Bruce or even Lucius Fox, because thats is what everyone wants or gets or like, is a bad business but i hope you understand what i am trying to say here. Cheers!

        • Jack,

          Yes Sir, I can understand the words that are coming out your mouth. LOL.

          WW is white washed. Meaning Caucasians assuming the roles of minority characters.

          Your statement about Blade being played by Sam was made with the assumption that it hasn’t happened before.
          I gave the example of Liz Taylor playing Cleopatra..

          You also go on to say “That’s the past” and lets move on. Bro, if you don’t know your past your bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. Not to be mean, but that’s what happened when you made that statement.

          In the context of mass media, and PRESENT tense of your Blade example, do this research: Movie vs Comic version of “Wanted.”
          Try “Remo Williams” and look at Master Chuin or “Prince of Persia”
          I’m not gonna go on because the proof is right there.

          You and everyone else has the right to like what they like just like people have the right not to like what they…um, don’t like. Again, this isn’t the mainstream Spider-man and it isn’t even Peter Parker.
          See, people aren’t bitching because the Ultimate Parker died, which should really be what the beef. What people are really pissed about is that he’s dead and being replaced by a kid with brown skin. The “Traditionalist” are saying the same thing. Parker can be dead, just replace him with another white face….because the “Tradition” is a white character!
          Let me ask you this with no malice: Are you “upset” that the Black Panther is a woman?

          Anyway, yah, I hear you and I’m not trying to change your outlook. I just need you to be cognizant of our reality and “past.”

          Peace, Luv and Hair grease!

  24. hey its like when they pick white guys to play asian heros like goku in DragonBalls and ang in the last airbender…Karma FTW

    Fantastic Article btw

  25. I am all for a character being a minority or a different race or gender, but as long as its a new character or it is someone else takong over a mantle.

    The idea of spiderman being a black/latino is great, seeing as though it is a totally new character just taking over as spiderman. O nm the other hand having nick fury as being black is wrong in my opinion because when that character was created he was white, if they wanted to they could have changed his name and said it is a totally different person heading shield from the beginning.

  26. I am all for a character being a minority or a different race or gender, but as long as its a new character or it is someone else takong over a mantle.
    The idea of spiderman being a black/latino is great, seeing as though it is a totally new character just taking over as spiderman. O nm the other hand having nick fury as being black is wrong in my opinion because when that character was created he was white, if they wanted to they could have changed his name and said it is a totally different person heading shield from the beginning.

  27. I think that the fact that we are even discussing race/sexual preference is ridiculous. The characters that were created are beloved by millions of fans. I dont get the point in trying to be “edgy” by making characters gay or black. Why not just create a whole different series with a black wolverine, or black Proffessor X. In fact, make a whole group of homosexual X-Men. Just one series run would be effective enough. But dont change things just because society says. Create other heroes just as cool who are minorities.

  28. This was a really good read…Kudos to Kofi….. as I was reading I thought to myself.. what if they ever got Will Smith to play “Supes”… then I made it to the last page and saw Will in Supes costume and just smiled to myself..lol

  29. This was a very well written piece. I agree that as long as the integrity of the character is kept, and that the actors asked to play these “traditional” white roles bring their own personality to the roles, the change in race or what ever it may be is acceptable. The one thing that I have said though about this topic, is why put new faces in roles that have already been taken, and not create new stories and new heroes for the new generation thats probably in their 20s and early on. Give them a chance to connect with heroes that are created in their own time and their own culture and allow them to grow just as these characters have.