Folks, like it or not, Spider-man is a cultural icon. Screw Bill Maher and his “Comics are for kids” philosophy, comics are for everyone. Straight, Gay, Male, Female, Cis, Trans, Black, White, Asian, Spanish, whatever. The world of comics is for everyone and one of the cultural cornerstones of that world is the Amazing Spider-man. One of the best selling titles of all time. Created in 1963, the adventures of Peter Benjamin Parker have flooded the shelves of newsstands, local comic shops, grocery stores, and our own homes. With stories of a struggling nerd in New York rising to defeat the greatest foes, he has done it all. Literally. He Peter Parker has done it all as Spider-man and needs to hang up his mask. Why? Because we have entered a new age where children have seen Spider-man as someone else. Not just in comics but in a modern animated movie in the form of Miles Morales. He needs to be the lead character in Amazing Spider-man, not just his own side book…let’s talk about it.
“Oh, you just saw the movie didn’t you?” No, actually I haven’t. Haven’t had the opportunity yet. However, I’m a guy who was a freshman in high school when Miles Morales was created, and ever since his first appearance, I have followed his career closely. So get that gatekeeper attitude out of here…and don’t gatekeep comics in general. Anyway. So why are we here having this conversation? Will my friend John asked me if I had read the recent issue of Champions by Jim Zub. I hadn’t and said as much and he said there was development for Miles in it. And in that split second the words came out of my mouth faster than I had intended them to. “Miles won’t have any further development as long as Pete wears a suit.” Not knocking Jim Zub he’s an amazing writer. But the more I sat and thought about it, it was true. Miles Morales, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sarah Pichelli in 2011 came onto the scene as a half African-American and half Latino boy who after being bitten by a genetically altered spider began a career as Spider-man in an alternate universe after the death of Peter Parker. Fast forward to 2015 when Marvel decides to bring an end to the Ultimate Universe, a more modern take on a lot of heroes and such, they brought Miles, his family, and his extended cast to the main Marvel Universe.
But ever since then, Miles has had this running problem where he’s operating as a hero in a universe where he shares the name of an already popular superhero. This is a problem both continuity and outward where even TOY COMPANIES, aren’t allowed to call him Spider-man on toys for movies or tv shows he’s featured in, with the animated series toy’s even going as far to call him “Arachnid Kid” like he’s Peter Parker’s sidekick. This. Is. A. Problem. The minority character is forced to be demoted because Marvel is afraid of backlash for making Miles solely Spider-man for even Spider-man at all! Why?! “Peter’s Spider-man you can’t take that from him just to have a black kid be him”. Firstly, Peter has given Miles his blessing on multiple occasions. So they’re both Spider-man, but more importantly, Peter Parker should retire from being Spider-man. Now we’re going to explain why, as well as answer criticisms. Let’s go!
“He’s too Similar to Peter Parker”
So this is a two prong thing we need to address, but let’s get this one out of the way first. Both Miles and Peter, have been teenagers, previously in Peter’s case where now he’s about early 30’s, and have dealt with teenage cis male issues like school, dating, etc. They’re both nerdy, and both are very quippy when they are Spider-man. When people see this, people immediately think, “There’s nothing different about them.” But the answer to this question is: yes there is, and it does matter. Miles is primarily seen as an African-American even though he is biracial, and with that, he faces more challenges than Peter ever could. Much like Virgil Hawkins aka Static from Static Shock when he was created, Miles is a young minority kid in a big city in a world full of hatred, racism, crime, and stigmas against him because of his skin. Combine that with being a superhero? His world is so much more. His family couldn’t afford for him to go to a good school so they entered a lottery to get him entered into a charter school. He has the ability to be a poor kid in a rich system. He knows poverty and struggle, he knows what it’s like to go without which could fill his journey to be a hero even more for the little guy and be a friendly neighborhood Spider-man.
The second piece of “They’re too similar” that can be debunked is, they’re so different, the creators of Spider-man: Homecoming literally ripped off almost every aspect of Miles and gave it to Peter. What? No that couldn’t of-. Stop. Yes. They did. Let’s go back to Captain America: Civil War. Where Tony Stark enters Peter’s home and informs his Aunt May that Peter has won a scholarship to a prestigious school for gifted kids. Wow isn’t that really similar to Miles winning a full ride to his school? Oh, that’s not good enough for you? Okay, let’s fast forward to Homecoming. Where now Peter has a best friend named Gank- I mean Ned. Ned Leeds aka the person who is supposed to be the name of the character who is the Hobgoblin in Spider-man comic books. but he looks remarkably like someone else….hmmm. Oh, yea I know! Miles’s best friend Ganke Lee. Obsessed with Legos, smart guy, helped Miles have the courage to be Spider-man and was one of the people Miles chose to bring with him to the main Marvel universe. He was that important. So not even has Marvel recognized that Miles Morales is a compelling character, they chose to take parts of his story like his school, like Ganke, like the fact that Tony Stark and Nick Fury give him his Spider-suit and give it to Peter in the MCU because everything about Peter’s origin had been overdone in both the Tobey Macquire movies and the Andrew Garfield ones. Peter literally stole parts of a black kid’s story because he wasn’t interesting anymore. And that leads to my next point! Oh also Miles’s creator recognized this stealing of Ganke in an issue of Miles’s story and even commented on it with Comic Book Resources:
“I’ll be very honest right now. I have not talked about this publicly, but it feels very bizarre. […] I don’t even know if Ganke was the inspiration, or they just got to their own place with a character like this on their own. I don’t know. It does seem like it might have been, but no one’s told me either way. There’s so much else in that trailer that’s from ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ that I would assume that, yes, it is …It’s weird only because Ganke wasn’t part of Peter’s story — he was part of Miles’s story.” -Brian Michael Bendis
Your Story is Over:
Peter, It’s time to stop. There is no taking away what you have done. You have stopped so many foes in your time. Saved so many lives. But there’s literally no other story for you. You have been everything from a student, a dimensional traveler, a teacher, a hero, a photographer, a CEO of a major company. You have had multiple instances where you have faced off against clones of yourself. You have had villain after villain attack every loved one you have. You have revealed your identity to the people you love and even the world multiple times. There have been people who have told your story in so many different ways that it’s so worn out and dead. There is nothing left for you. There have even been old man multiverse stories. When do we then as comic fans say enough is enough, we want something new? Because many people said that years ago when they said they wanted a black Spider-man and Bendis agreed with them and created him.
But let’s be real here. Marvel did the thing every fan wanted recently. They reunited him with the love of his life, Mary Jane. And with that, made it so easy for him to be written out. Folks Peter Parker can be done. He has the ability to hang it up. And the thing is, I think some folks at Marvel and even other companies know this as well, they’re just scared to pull the plug due to the backlash. Look at the recent Spider-man PS4 game. Taking place well into Peter’s career and even giving Miles powers towards the end. Or the fact that Miles being the main character of a movie happened at all. They know. They just need the rest of us to accept that. But why can’t we?
Taking away from what was yours?:
So the argument tossed around when a character is introduced to be the replacement for another is “You’re just getting rid of all of the white superheroes.” Here’s the thing. Peter Parker has had a million and one stories written about him. Like said previously one can take that away. But in a world where there are so few superheroes of color and there exists one that now so many kids look up to, why can’t they have him the same way you did when you were young? There’s this great version of an adult Miles Morales in the Gwenpool comic where he is the only Spider-man. Why can’t he be that? Because it’ll be seen as replacing someone who’s already had adventures? No. Peter will always live on in the same way his creator will. But Miles needs to be given the spotlight. Peter can be a supporting cast member and a mentor, but he needs to take the mask off for the sake of Miles’s development.
So what have we learned folks? Miles Morales is Spider-man. He is the future of not just comics but the MCU and the ps4 video games. MCU? Yeeeeaa the MCU. His uncle, Aaron Davis has already been in the MCU. The same Aaron Davis who becomes one of Miles’s primary antagonists. The groundwork is already done for Miles to replace Peter when Tom Holland has completed his journey as Peter. There’s this great commercial I wish I could find of The Into the Spiderverse trailer is shown to two kids the boy being African-American, the little girl looks at him when she sees Miles and says “He looks like you”. The next generation and even the current generation getting to know that they can be Spider-man is so important and it’s shown in the hearts of these kids. So please folks, accept Miles as Spider-man, so Marvel can continue to let him rise to the title in the future. Let him be a new generation’s hero.