A Look at the Man Behind the New Biracial Spiderman
It has been four months since the world met Miles Morales, the half Puerto Rican, half African American successor of the beloved character Peter Parker aka Spiderman. The death of Parker was a gamble for Marvel on its own, but to replace the iconic character with a biracial city kid from Brooklyn was one of the biggest moments in Marvel history.
Now that the initial hype has died down, Fox News Latino decided to check in on our new friendly neighborhood superhero and the Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics, Axel Alonso, who is half Mexican American.
Q: Four months and five issues later, how has the new Spiderman been received?
A: People have clearly embraced Miles the way they embraced Peter Parker. They are getting the point and they are getting him, so far so good.
Q: Not only does he have his own set of superpowers, but Morales has his own style of Parker’s signature blue and red costume. What’s different?
A: We did a redesign to make it more modern, more urban – certainly more fun.
In terms of powers, he is still in the process of figuring things out. He has a powerful venom blast and he is able to camouflage himself against any background – which basically makes him invisible like the Predator from the Predator films.
Part of the thrill for me is knowing that there are little boys who will now pick up a Spiderman comic and see that after the adventure and the mask is peeled back he will look like them. As a Hispanic, it is nice to see Spiderman’s Smith's big TV break last name resemble the last name of my son.
Q: Sounds scary...but isn’t he missing a key Spiderman function?
A: Well he has the super strength and ability like Peter Parker, but so far no web power which makes our fans crazy! But who knows if and when he’ll have them. You have to keep reading.
Q: The decision to introduce a new Spiderman could not have been an easy one...
A: Of course not, this was a risky move on our part. We were killing an extremely popular character in the Ultimate Comics and replacing them with an unknown. Everyone from Glenn Beck to ESPN had an opinion on what this was. I’d be lying if I said that we weren’t somewhat nervous.
Q: I’m glad you mentioned Ultimate Comics. Just so our readers are clear: Peter Parker is still alive – just within an alternate universe that is not the Ultimate universe, correct?
A: Yes, the Ultimate Comics Universe was created 11 years ago and has been a very successful line. It represents a sort of alternate universe to Marvel U [where Parker lives]. It is modern, edgy and all of our top writers work for it. From Brian Bendis who writes all the Spiderman to Mark Millar who you might remember wrote Kick Ass. Their job is to re-imagine characters in a forward-thinking, progressive manner.
Q: Is that why you went with a Bi-racial Spidey for the new character?
A: We thought carefully about what nationality he would be and part of that had to do with demographics of New York City. At Marvel, we wanted to strip back Spiderman's mask to reveal a new face and a face that is very consistent with America as it stands right now.
Q: As you are half Mexican American, did this concept have a more profound affect on you, and what do you think it did for other minority groups?
A: When a little boy or girl looks at Spiderman, they do not see race. They do not see anything but the bright colors and the human shape. I think it is very easy for them to project themselves into that suit and to imagine themselves in that suit. Part of the thrill for me is knowing that there are little boys who will now pick up a Spiderman comic and see that after the adventure and the mask is peeled back he will look like them. As a Hispanic, it is nice to see Spiderman’s Smith's big TV break last name resemble the last name of my son.
Q: I’m sure there were many who did not think the change was so nice.
A: Whenever you do anything in comics you are going to hear from the fans because they are passionate, no matter what it is, but add a social or political context to what you do and you are going to hear it even more. We heard some negative and some positive but ultimately people vote with their wallet. We have not seen a lack of interest in the book. It is the flagship of the Ultimate line and sales are good.
Q: Heading into this new year, what can we expect from Morales and the upcoming issues of the Ultimate Spiderman?
A: He is close to both of his parents so we will be showing much more of his family life and exploring those relationships, especially the antagonistic relationship between his uncle and father.
Q: Sorry, but I have images of Marty McFly dodging his future-self in “Back to the Future” dancing in my head. Any chance we can see Miles and Peter defy the space time continuum and become acquainted?
A: In comics anything is possible, but we cross that line carefully. When you do that it has a significance. It’s like Pandora’s box, once you open it, it raises all sorts of questions. But yes, the idea of Miles meeting Peter Parker and crossing paths is very, very interesting.
Q: What about the silver screen? Do you see the Ultimate Spiderman making it to the big screen?
A: While I have no idea what the plans are in Hollywood, we [in the office] joke around that Jaden Smith is out there somewhere doing crunches, getting ready for the moment that somebody decides they want to do this. Bottom line, not many people would have believed that Marvel would have done something like this 10 years ago so who knows what can find its way to the silver screen four five years from now.
Erica Y. Lopez is a freelance writer based in New York.
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