(DM) – Monday June 22, 2015 Remember when Peter Parker was Spider-Man? Wait, you mean you didn't know? Miles Morales is now Spider-Man. According to Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis.
Through Bendis, Marvel has decided. Or is it the social justice warriors of Reddit? You spoke, and Marvel listened, but only if you are in your early twenties and on Tumblr. No longer are comics an escapist read. They apparently form society.
The creator of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, Brian Micheal Bendis announced on his own Tumblr page Sunday June 22, 2015. "Sunday Bomb Drop!!" referring to a New York Daily News Article with his own quote, “It’s meant a great deal to a great many people. Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.”
This is a misleading statement. Miles will jump over from the Ultimate Universe to be part of the Peter Parker universe (Marvel 616), but to call him The Spider-Man is what Bendis alone insists. Then again, Marvel may get behind him soon on this. Miles Morales is a great Spider-Man. Yet he is an off-shoot of the original. If Batman dies and Robin takes over, okay. But while Bruce Wayne is a live, Robin is still Robin. Until the King is dead, a prince is a prince etc... Why insist Miles is "THE" Spider-Man?
So here I come off racists because I am willing to argue against his specific statement "It’s meant a great deal to a great many people." What are the demographics of people that want Miles and how many are in the market segment for Peter Parker? Without any definitive proof, the realistic answer is a very loud few are being serviced.
Would it makes sense if Bendis is claiming 80 percent of the paying public want Miles Morales as Spider-Man when in fact that 80 percent actually wants and buys the Peter Parker Spider-Man? The answer is no.
The first issue will drop in a couple months and first issues always sell big. As do the next few before the real audience sticks it out.
Don't use that rational with social justice zealots though. It doesn't matter what makes sense when you are dealing with ideologues. Bendis believes what he wants to believe on an emotional level. And it's hard to argue when someone stands on a tearful story such as this as told by Bendis in the same NY Daily News article: He was shopping with his adopted daughter of color when she found a Spider-Man mask. She said, “Look daddy, I’m Spider-Man!”
Bendis had a natural heartfelt response. “I started crying in the middle of the aisle,” He says. “I realized my kids are going to grow up in a world that has a multi-racial Spider-Man, and an African American Captain America and a female Thor.”
Allow me to use sarcasm to drive home a point. By the social justice warrior logic, there are a lot of black churches singing praise to a white diety, and we need to do something about that too. Are white people demanding a Caucasian remake of Friday (1995)?
I guess Bendis forgot to mention to his daughter there are in fact a couple other super heroes his daughter could read at Marvel: She Hulk, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Electra, Spider-Woman, Rogue, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Storm, Dominoe, Invisible Woman: Sue Richards, Wasp, Lady Deadpool, Marvel Girl: Rachel Summers, Ms. Marvel: Carol Danvers and Silver Sable.
Perhaps she can even read something from the competition at DC? Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Supergirl, Raven, Hawkwoman, Zatanna and Black Canary.
When she grows up she even has Indy comics to turn to: Orphan Black, Shi, Ghost, Vampirella, Lady Death, Tank Girl, Barb Wire, Witchblade, Razor and Angela.
In fairness to Bendis less than half of these characters have their own titles. Yet the list is still extensive. And still there is a demand to take iconic characters and make them female or black or anything but a white male.
What is challenging here is I have no bone to pick with Brian Bendis. I enjoy many of his stories and don't dispute his excellent writing skills. That includes creativity. The issue is over his argument and the big two publishers argument in re-appropriating established super heroes. Take Wonder Woman and make her man, and that is just is ridiculous as making Thor a woman and calling her Thor. I'll get to that later.
If you are a long time comic book fan – you know... over thirty. You're an old head. You're out of touch and you don't matter.
Marvel needs new blood! If you didn't have kids for a host of reasons, you didn't do your duty and indoctrinate your kids into comics and for that sin you've been condemned to reading old comics.
Cancel your subscription to Spider-Man if you want but Marvel does not care. Marvel's banking on the future. Digital comics. The ones kids are not paying for anyway. They just bit torrent them weekly while you pay for good old fashioned tactile paper each week. You may be subsidizing others digital habit, but don't worry. You don't matter remember!
Aside from sarcastically pointing out of the obvious, what is the deal with Spider-Man? Coming this fall after Marvel's Secret Wars storyline is over, Miles Morales will permanently become the only Spider-Man in the Marvel universe according to Brian Bendis. Peter Parker will not be The Spider-Man.
Marvel is in fact attempting to roll with the times. And the times... they are a changing. Things such as digital will be the future. Meeting the needs of a younger audience is perceived as necessary. Maybe the logic at Marvel (and DC) is right. Maybe it's time to let go of super heroes as we know them.
You know what is odd? Super heroes in general live within a very conservative message using violence to overcome the bad guys. Isn't that contrary to the liberal agenda? If this is true, (and it is) then shouldn't comic book writers change super heroes to use only non-violent methods and give up physical combat all-together? (Drops the mic – Walks off stage).
Today's younger audience or 'market demographic' is by way of social media making a repeated request. Diversity. And by diversity, the demands are for super heroes of color. Super heroes of diverse races, sexes, and sexual orientation.
Is this wrong or right? Who can judge a moral compass when the compass has changed. At one time it was perceived as wrong to be homosexual. In the last 30 years sitcoms have gone from parodying gay characters to celebrating them to simply using them as mainstay requirements in a story. With homosexuality as an example of how something has gone from taboo to touted, it is understood how the world has evolved beyond a simple super hero.
Super hero's are not one creators property. They have editors that guide years of writers through that characters continuity. Readers grow to expect a character to continue on the path of their own continuity at all costs. If a character liked bananas for years, it appears unreasonable for them to now only love pizza.
Marvel has the right to change a character as they please. They own Spider-Man. Not you. It's fact readers must accept. Marvel is a business. And while it may parade as a morally sound citizen, don't be fooled by that ruse. Marvel is no different than Ford, Sony, Apple or Monsanto. They all operate on the ultimate form of survival. Capitalism.
While Marvel operates in the artist realm, and most all artists are liberal minded, without earning income, Marvel ceases to exist.
Marvel has two major influences guiding it outside of money. The new social media tide and the agenda based writers in its ranks. While catering to the thought police and social justice warriors of Tumblr is hard to understand, the fact that Marvel has writers desperate to appease the Tumblr crowd is downright insulting. You have to wonder how a Marvel writer approaches their writing job. "I have a great story idea!" Or "Who do I not piss off today?"
Brian Micheal Bendis at Marvel is a great writer. Imagine what happens when you take a great writer that has an agenda and wraps his own political beliefs and values on your children. Oh wait. You don't have children. Yet there are countless of impressionable minds of all ages being indoctrinated through comics. Not just through the big two of DC and Marvel. Independents such as Dark Horse, Image and many others believe that they carry a very important torch for society. To impart their beliefs and standards through their stories. It makes you wonder what the hell happened to the days when comics were just simple escapism?
Bendis has a diverse family. That is his business and for every intent a good thing. Yet, he is at the helm of parading Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man. Scratch that, not the NEW Spider-Man, not A Spider-Man. THE Spider-Man.
Brian Micheal Bendis has a horse in this race. He isn't just taking a sober look at society and providing us a social commentary or making a statement. He's full on ready to discard an iconic super hero and re-appropriate that character with something new.
It's almost impossible to argue against it when he has a child of color, or that a loud minority of Tumblr, Reddit posters and angst ridden Twitter users hold up a banner that white super heros are not the only super heros we need. These are not requests or needs that shouldn't be met. But for anyone, let's repeat that with true emphasis, ANYONE argues against changing an iconic super hero, they become a racist or bigot by default.
This isn't an assault on Bendis who I admire as a creative force. There are others such as Dan Slot, who think they need to fill in every missing blank for every type person on the planet. Again, that is fine to do, but shouldn't these creative changes be based on natural inspiration not contrived change to appease professional complainers?
Super heroes change. And thanks to the creativity of the written word, you can justify anything. A great example is Thor. Thor is a character's name. It's been a name for 40 plus years. Thor Odinson. Thor the son of Odin. It had that meaning. But in 2014 Marvel took a cheap way out of justifying re-branding and re-appropriating a character that was male and turning it female. They used the creative device of justifying that if you could wield the magical hammer Mjolnir than you became Thor. You took the name Thor. Toss out the fact that over 25 characters in over 40 years prior had lifted Mjolnir and didn't change their name to Thor. Captain America is one example. But now, Marvel through the magic of justification made Thor a woman.
Yes, some super hero names are mantels. Ant-Man, Captain America, Green Lantern (DC). Others should not be toyed with or used to appease the thought police or fulfill a writers personal agenda. Spider-Man should have always been associated with Peter Parker. You may not agree, but then again, it's a good chance you could care less because Spider-Man means nothing to you. What if it was your favorite character or super hero that someone came along and re-appropriated? It's always not important until someone throws their trash in your backyard. Then you care.
It's been said before. If people want more Asian super heroes – More black super heroes – more female super heroes, then Marvel (and DC) should make them. Create new ones. Place them side-by-side with Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man and others.
What if suddenly Wonder Woman was a man? Not only would upend the culture of Diana's nation of Amazonians but it would create a feminist uproar. In today's society, everyone must claim to be a feminist or suffer social condemnation so the few people that would abhor this change would know to tow the line and never argue openly against his change.
Should a super hero be impervious to change? Of course not. Plausible change makes sense. Contrived change is an insult. To make Catwoman bi-sexual is plausible. To make Batman bi-sexual would not. Why? Catwoman has a history of sexual behavior that lends to accepting that change. Batman through Bruce Wayne has no history of demonstrating any means of being bi-sexual. Having said that, don't be surprised if for the sake of creating a sensation or a writer that would love to make Batman gay, it happens.
These changes are happening and they won't go back. Ultimately this argument is wasted energy, but unlike the argument to change super heroes from what they are to what others want them to be, this argument is based on the logic of stealing from others to give to the poor is still stealing.