My Favorite Superhero
My love for superheroes and the comic books that tell their adventures began at a young age. My father, grandfather, and uncles loved comic books and I would listen to them tell me about the stories they’ve read and show me the issues, action figures, and posters they’ve collected. Even though I was too young to read or really comprehend the comic books I was gifted, one hero still stood out in my mind. That hero is the Amazing Spider-Man. The wallcrawler captured my imagination, and I wanted to be just like him, in and out of the costume. Eventually, the Spider-Family grew and a new character worked his way into my heart. That character, Miles Morales, emerged to also take on the mantle of Spider-Man. Peter Parker and Miles Morales prove that Spider-Man is an ideal, not a single person.
My love for Spider-Man goes back as far as I can remember. I remember buzzing around my childhood home bouncing off the walls, and my parents would think something was wrong with me. What they did not know is that in my head, I was Spider-Man and I was web slinging through New York. I even had Spider-Man pajamas with webs hanging out the armpits and everything that I wore for probably way too long as a kid. While I wasn’t reading comics at the time, I ate up any and all multimedia Spidey content. I had episodes of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on VHS, I loved the 90s Spider-Man cartoon (and that epic theme song), played Spider-Man/X-Men on Sega Genesis (that game was SO hard), and almost every Spider-Man game from PS1 to his current outing on PS4.
When did become a serious comic book reader, I read J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Amazing Spider-Man. Straczynski’s run contained multiple divisive and controversial storylines, but I was just happy to be reading about my favorite hero on the regular. Then came Dan Slott and “Brand New Day”, which pretty much reimagined everything we knew about Spider-Man. While the storyline got off to a rocky start, I came to appreciate the altered relationships, new villains, and new allies. While I’m getting acclimated to the comics at this time, I am also overjoyed at seeing my favorite characters on the big screen for the first time. The original Spider-Man was not only a fun movie, it helped show that comic books movies were bankable and not for just us “nerds”. I was excited to see every Spider-Man film and experienced many highs: Spider-Man 2, his introduction in Civil War, and Homecoming. I also experienced some lows: Spider-Man 3 (I tried to talk myself into liking it), The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Infinity War *sheds thug tear. I’m excited to see what direction the MCU will take Spider-Man next.
I’ll admit it, my reaction when Brian Michael Bendis killed Ultimate Peter Parker and replaced him with a little Black/Latino boy was “What the Hell is this?!” I thought Bendis was trying to pander to the Black and Brown community and I did not appreciate it. Plus I thought “PETER PARKER IS SPIDER-MAN!!!” The more I continued to read Ultimate Spider-Man however, the more I feel in love with the character of Miles Morales. Miles was equally a part of 2 cultures and embraced both of them. Miles was a genius and did not have the stereotypical issues that plague a lot of Black characters in comics. Miles went to an advanced boarding school with other highly intelligent people of color. Miles had both parents in his life and an uncle who he admired even though he was not a great influence on him. I looked at Miles and I saw myself and my family and friends. It was amazing. Then came Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Watching that movie was one of the most pleasant movie going experiences in my lifetime. I was grinning ear-to-ear throughout the whole movie. Watching a black boy with so much joy in his heart was amazing. Watching him realize his potential and become a hero was even better. Miles even did it in his style, Air Jordan 1s and all. In a short period of time, Miles Morales has proved to be a character that has just as much claim to the mantle of Spider-Man as Peter Parker.
I know this has been said time and time again, but the reason I love Spider-Man is because he is the everyman. I think of Spider-Man when I think of what a superhero would look like in real life. Someone just trying to make it to the next day and handle their responsibilities but complicates their personal life to save the lives of others. Spider-Man just wants to make their family and friends proud and do some good along the way. Spider-Man is the J. Cole of superheroes with a better ear for beats. Miles Morales is the remix. Both know that with great power, comes great responsibility.