Grounded #10: Why Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is a win for people of color.
Now I know what you are probably thinking “Oh here we go with this liberal bullshit, SJW crap.” But I’m not here to talk about political “diversity” movements being forced down your throats, or about how everyone else’s stuff is crap, crap, and more crap, and I hate everything. I’m here to talk about how comfortable and amazing this movie felt to a Hispanic minority who grew up in the ghetto who saw himself living in a neighborhood like Miles Morales, and heard his mother speak to him as my mother did to me. Peter Parker is a great Spider-Man, but Miles Morales in the Spider-Man we need now more than ever. Sorry, Peter, I love you, but your time to move on is now.
Let’s start at the beginning. It began with a spider bite…
After recently watching Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, one of the things that came to mind as I watched the film was, “Wow this animation is amazing. The colors, the background, the features of every character’s face when they are close up at the screen are great, and the voices acting are amazing.” But with all these amazing things swinging (Haha) all around the big silver screen, one tiny little bomb went off in my mind. As the movie progressed the bomb became bigger, and bigger, and bigger until my mind began to form a colorful web. My eyes began to shine and a smile that would stop millions on their tracks appeared on my face. I’ll get back to this explosion in due time. Let me guide you with a little knowledge that most of you know, and maybe a few that don’t.
Miles Morales was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli. The idea of a new Spider-Man came to mind when writer Bendis saw actor/rapper/comedian Donald Glover (Childish Gambino… He got his name from a Wu-Tang site its awesome, I’ve done it so should you… Wait where was I? Oh yeah!) Appearing on The Community (TV series) at the time dressed up as Spider-Man, and I quote “He looked fantastic! I saw him in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book.’ So I was glad I was writing that book.” With America moving forward into the First EVER African American President, writer Bendis and artist Pichelli got to work on what would be THE FIRST EVER AFRICAN AMERICAN SPIDER-MAN.
Half African American, Half Puerto Rican; Miles Morales first swung into the comic pages of Ultimate Fallout #4 after the death of Peter Parker. Since then he has made a name for himself and has struggled to find himself in a world where Spider-Man was his hero, knowing who he truly is; a criminal like his uncle or a hero like his father and Peter Parker (R.I.P Peter Parker). As he rises up and becomes the hero he wanted to be, and swings himself out of the shadow of Peter Parker; he comes to realize that “With great power comes great responsibility.” Thank you, Stan Lee, for everything and letting us know there can be a hero in all of us. R.I.P Stand Lee; Excelsior!
Okay back to the movie, with different Spider heroes the movie knocks it out of the park. Everyone feels fresh and different, and to a certain extent, they are. All from different universes except Miles, Mostly all the Spider heroes are drawn very differently. Giving a very diverse feel into the character themselves and not feel bland with the same art for everyone. If this movie does not win best-animated movie, I will be shocked.
A major part that grasped me was their play on music and art (graffiti). Miles grew up in the hood of Brooklyn, and I in the hood of North Philadelphia. Music and art all played a major part in our lives. From creating stickers and sticking them everywhere, to listening to music as you did daily life activities letting it move you, to walking around the neighborhood and chatting it up with friends from the way. Also, I know how tough it was for my parents like Miles’s parents being in a middle-class status trying for their children to have a better future and trying to find a good school, and all we want is to chill in our neighborhood with friends, and Miles went through the same thing.
So now I have come back to that web of explosion that sparked in my brain. Growing up in the hood my brothers and I did not see many heroes of our complexion or race. Not taking away from the major heroes like Batman, Superman, and Captain America and so forth. As a kid, I imagined myself (like all of us) as one of them many times, but that was it. I imagined… we imagined being like them. Now, we can say “Yeah I am them.” with a smile on my face, I saw my son growing up and being proud of a superhero he can relate to and think of. This new generation of kids can look up on the big silver screen and they can envision themselves as Miles, Falcon, War Machine, or even the king himself Black Panther. Even DC has announced of a Blue Beetle movie and he will be the FIRST EVER Hispanic superhero in a live action movie (Yeah we had a Latino superhero like Sunspot in X-men: Days of Future Past, but let’s be serious did he even have any lines?). Let’s even go farther and talk about Warpath in X-Men: Days of Future Past, literally maybe what I can remember as maybe the first Native American Superhero done right on the big silver screen. (Done right as go back and watch old western movies) The world is changing and it’s for the best to add characters that everyone can relate to, they are there waiting to be used; like Jamie Reyes.
Jamie Reyes the third person to use the Blue Beetle mantle debuted in DC comics Infinite Crisis #5 in 2006 and with the ancient scarab Jamie Reyes has been holding the Blue Beetle mantle down with great ability. With the New Year, the future looks bright for kids of color, and I can’t wait to see what happens. As I waited for the secret ending after the credits of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (Come on now, it’s a Marvel movie), I got to see my favorite Spider-Man finally on the big screen. I won’t spoil it, but I will say he was the FIRST EVER Hispanic Spider-Man, where this film goes, and if it does have a sequel; I want to say that it felt amazing and comfortable. Nothing forced down anyone’s throats, it just felt right. We all won as a group who love superheroes, but I feel minorities won just a bit more.
Change is coming, and for a few people, it scares them that the winds of change are approaching quickly. But isn’t it time for people of color to finally be looked upon than something more than just “those people”? How many times must we get Peter Parker with the same stories over and over again? How many times does he and Mary Jane need to break up and get back together (Isn’t she with Tony Stark now)? We love Peter Parker, I know I do, especially growing up in the 90s and watching his animated series; but when the only amazing things that have happened to Peter Parker in recent memory has been Doc Ock taking over his body, and this suicidal “I’m done with life” Spiderman in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse; I just think its time for Peter to take a seat and let Miles take the reigns. People may hate me for this, but it’s ok. We need compelling stories that will resonate in the minds and hearts of today’s children, and those children need someone that makes them feel and understand that what he/she is going through can be the same as that hero. Miles Morales is that bright light at the end of the tunnel for them. Just like Bunker(Miguel Jose Barragan), Ghost Rider(Robbie Reyes), Ms. Marvel(Kamala Khaan), Green Lanterns (Jessica Cruz, John Stewart, and Simon Baz) and so many more heroes that need to be pushed more. I love my superheroes, but I love my son so much more; to see him grow up in a world where he holds a Miles Morales toy and smiles up at me is a future that I want to see for him and others. Don’t you?
“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt a real superhero.”