The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Grumpy-Man, Grumpy-Man, Does Whatever A Grumpy Can
August 3rd, 2011
09:49 am

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Grumpy-Man, Grumpy-Man, Does Whatever A Grumpy Can

The new Spider-Man is going to be black. Well, half-black and half-Hispanic.

The comics blogosphere is in an uproar about this, because apparently some people are all like SPIDER-MAN IS NOT A BLACK GUY and everyone else is like HELLO, RACIST? (Although, I should note, the opinion of anyone blogging about “Spiderman” and not “Spider-Man” can be summarily discounted.  True fans know.)

So there’s a lot of fury being thrown around right now.  But I must be old, because I’m pre-furious about a situation that hasn’t even come to pass.

Here’s the deal: the quote-unquote “real” Spider-Man is going to remain caucasian. (And there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)  This is the Ultimate Spider-Man, the Spider-Man of a parallel Marvel universe, who died last month in what turned out to be a pretty heartbreaking comic.  (The actual final face-off against the Green Goblin was underwhelming, but Brian Michael Bendis nailed Peter Parker’s last words so perfectly that it still brings tears to my eyes.)  So the “official” Spider-Man remains as minty fresh as ever – alas, the only Spider-Man that’s getting the makeout is the out-of-standard-continuity one, the one designed for bold and crazy experiments such as this.

The good news is that this is the only Spider-Man that’s consistently written well these days, so it has a good shot at succeeding.  And I absolutely adore that Brian Michael Bendis wanted to do a Spider-Man comic starring a non-white lead character after seeing Troy in Community dressed up in a Spider-Man outfit.  (The actor, Donald Glover, is a huge Spider-Man fan and actively campaigned to get the role.)  If Peter Parker must be dead, and the Ultimates universe must continue, then this isn’t a bad choice.

But I’m upset about what’s going to happen ten years down the line.

Here’s the deal: all this shit over the black Spider-Man?  It’ll pass.  Comic nerds are notoriously angry about changes to anything – remember the vast letter-writing campaign that erupted when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman?  Remember the comics furor over the fact that the new movie Spider-Man had organic web-shooters instead of designing them?  Remember Bootgate, the eruption of anger that spilled over when it turned out the new movie Superman had different boots?

I’m not saying there’s not racism in comics-land – there is – but you have to also account for the fact that comics fans are cranky old guys who get furious about any change.  Some of that fury is because comics fans grew up on comics, and the primary urge is EVERYTHING SHOULD STAY EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN YEARS OLD AND JUST DISCOVERED COMICS AND EVERYTHING WAS COOL.

No, what’s going to happen is that the actual comic will come out, and because it’s written by one of the most consistently good writers in the industry it will probably be much better than the accusations of “stunt casting” would merit, and you know what will happen?  We will fall, slowly, in love with this new Spider-Man.  We’ll find that he has his own charms, and he’ll have adventures where we root for him – and in the beginning, yes, he’ll be heavily under the shadow of old Peter Parker, but over the course of years he’ll crawl out and make his own pathway. We’ll look back at this criticism and be amazed we made such a mountain out of a molehill.

This, if the comics field doesn’t collapse in the meantime, will last for about five to eight years.

Then someone at Marvel will get a great idea: What if Peter Parker comes back?  That’s a stunning plot twist!  And then they’ll arrange it so that Peter WHOOOO RISES FROM THE DEAD and then suddenly the character they’ve spent so much effort to get us to fall in love with will be a second banana for life.

Don’t believe me?  Hey, ask James Rhodes. Ask Kyle Rayner. Ask Wally West.

And I’m outraged, because hey, years from now, a black Spider-Man can’t catch a break – he’ll be the hero as long as the white guy ain’t around, but the minute the white dude comes swinging back in, we’ll be all like, “HEY, PETER, HOW YOU DOING?  OH, DON’T MIND HIM THERE, HE’S JUST NOT AS COOL AS YOU.”  And the black guy will be forgotten, and what started out as an attempt to be hearteningly progressive will actually wind up a sort of unconsciously racist sort of thing as the minority character gets shoved aside.  It’s not entirely racist, since both Kyle and Wally were white as well and the primogeniture of comics means that the “real” character eventually returns to center stage – but it’s gonna have some real uncomfortable overtones when it happens.

So yeah.  Here I am, Old Bitter Comics Fan, not worried at all about the current scandal, looking forward to seeing this new take on Spider-Man, but actually angry now about what’s going to happen a decade down the line, assuming the comic is successful and comics don’t tumble into a black hole.

I need to get a life.

(Also, I find myself wandering around the house, singing an altered version of the Spider-Man theme song: “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, now he’s half black and mex-i-can…”  I’m more excited about this casting change than I’d like to let on.  [And yes, I know, Hispanic doesn't equal Mexican, but "Hispanic" just doesn't swing in the song, baby.])

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/134466.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

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(71 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:cathschaffstump
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
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This journal is pretty prophetic. You've nailed exactly what's going to happen.

And you forgot Dick Grayson. Batman 2. At least he has a life to go back to.

Cath
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From:anivair
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
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and Azreal.
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From:anivair
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
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A fine point. Personally, I am okay with a purple muslim Spider-man if they want. I think it can work.

that said, I can't really worry too much about Pete coming back. Either they will do something smart with the Ultimates line and keep dead people dead or they will do something dumb and make it standard marvel 2.0 where nobody ever dies. If they do the former, I'll be impressed and if they do the latter, then Pete will take his place as Spider-Man because no matter how open minded I am and no matter how cool the new guy is, he's not Peter Parker and no matter when or how Peter Parker is spider man, in the same way that Bruce Wayne is Batman no mater who wears the cape and cowl.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
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We'll see what happens. Marvel is not known for their forethought. I'd like it if that Peter stayed dead; I don't read the Flash any more, not since Barry Allen came back.
[User Picture]
From:cathschaffstump
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
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Also should mention that jimhines is posting about the racist comments. Here's the link.

http://jimhines.livejournal.com/589031.html

I took the liberty of linking to you in the comments as well.

Cath

Edited at 2011-08-03 02:10 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'd seen that. From the looks of it, he's clearly not encountered Larry's Comics before. Jesus, that guy shames me. But he's a fixture in all the wrong ways.
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From:wyrrlen
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, but you know how this will go - as soon as Peter Parker comes into the picture they can start drawing black Spider-Man in grey tones for his costume and rename him to War Spider or Spiderwing. Then he can be marginalized as a completely different character rather than sit in the shadow of the "real" Spider-Man.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
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Tru dat. You too can be an also-ran with sporadic series that fail occasionally!
[User Picture]
From:stormgren
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
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There is no nerd rage like comics nerd rage. In comparison, it makes Open Source zealot nerds look sane, which is just downright scary.

Secondly, damn you for getting that theme now stuck in my head. :)



[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the whole thing sums up childhood for most of them, so changing it? Is ATTACKING THE ONLY GOOD THING IN THEIR ADOLESCENCE.

...yeah, that's not gonna cause agita or nothin'.
[User Picture]
From:ryan_howse
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
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EVERYTHING SHOULD STAY EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN YEARS OLD AND JUST DISCOVERED COMICS AND EVERYTHING WAS COOL.

Aka DCs current plan! REBOOT EVERYTHING TO MY OWN 13 YEAR OLD TASTE
[User Picture]
From:radiumhead
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
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I have to admit i kind of agree with that. But i hardly buy comics now anyway so i cant really complain.
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From:radiumhead
Date:August 3rd, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
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Nothng that happens in the ultimate universe counts. The whole thing is just a long "what if" story. I dont see why anyone would care, unless the idea of a black spider man just drives them insane on principle.
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From:lots42
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
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One of the reasons I care is that most of the Ultimate Universe characters are different enough to 'count'. Wolverine is shitloads more crazy. The Hulk has eaten a ton of people. Literally. Quicksilver nails his sister then runs off to kill named mutants. The Avengers are hedonistic scary assholes. Jarvis the butler is a bisexual drunk.
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From:radiumhead
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
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I just dont like it because i dont think peter parker should get killed, ever. Even the fake shitty version.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
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You're wrong. That Peter Parker was the actual good version. the other one's the real, shitty version.
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From:chaos5023
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
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It doesn't quite always go that way. Ask Alan Scott and Jay Garrick. But yeah, it probably always will in any year that starts with the number 2.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
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Or any year after 1960. But you have a point.
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From:lots42
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Today I learned the Superman movie featured altered boots.
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From:xyzzysqrl
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
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I miss Miguel O'Hara, myself.
[User Picture]
From:lots42
Date:August 3rd, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
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He was awesome. he totally hired an insane gun-wielding lunatic as his secrtary..
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From:stone_
Date:August 3rd, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
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You spoiled me. You bastard.
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From:darc_ranger
Date:August 3rd, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
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The only complaint I think was valid about the another character taking the role, is that he is brand new unknown character with currently no known relationship with Peter or the comic, even in passing.

I will add that I figured the new Ben Reilly was a red herring in the process of who the new Spider-man would be.

I do not mind the change in race, technically that was the advantage of the full cover costume, you generally never knew what race he was.
[User Picture]
From:ravenblack
Date:August 3rd, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
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Hey, not everyone got over the stupid organic web-shooting. "Not still complaining" doesn't mean "now thinks it's okay" - if people were still complaining about something that was done to comic book characters ten years ago there'd be plenty of insults for that!
[User Picture]
From:funwithrage
Date:August 3rd, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Yes, but the rest of us hold out hope that y'all might someday get laid.
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From:dr_phil_physics
Date:August 3rd, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
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"The new Spider-Man is going to be black" What is the world coming to? Next thing you know, someone will get the idea that a black man can be President. (/sarcasm)

Dr. Phil
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From:roniliquidity
Date:August 3rd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
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I want an "Amethyst: Princess of the Gem World" reboot. She got shafted, hard, in Crisis.
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From:lysystratae
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)
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I'd buy it :)
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From:crashkincaide
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Is it bad that I don't care if Spider-Man is black, as long as they don't change Peter?
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From:spideyj
Date:August 4th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
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I think the concept is awesome.

Also, for me the key character trait of Spider-Man is his smarts and his snappy comebacks. Everything else is secondary to that. As long as he's got that, I love him.
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From:tormentedartist
Date:August 4th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)
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Everything that you wrote is pretty much correct. Its also the reason that I pretty much avoid mainstream super hero comics.
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