More comments on Multi-Culti-Ultimate Spidey from Colbert, Taiwanese animation, actual mixed race man

There have been about 42 multigabillion reactions in the media to the new multi-culti-ultimate Spider-Man, and we’re not going to link to all of them, but here are the three best that have crossed our desk today. Perhaps we’ll update this post if more good ones come in.

• As you can see Stephen Colbert weighed in last night with some funny, funny jokes. Colbert is an avowed comics fan with many crossovers in his resume already, including having Joe Quesada on as a guest, and guesting himself in an issue of Spider-man.

• New Media Animation, the outfit which makes those hilarious Taiwanese news cartoons, put together their own take on the situation, asking why there is no Asian Spider-Man!
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There are few well-known Asian superheroes. The most recent was Kato in The Green Hornet, which bombed at the box office. Asians have traditionally been portrayed as villains such as Fu Manchu characters or dastardly dragon ladies. Asia’s time in the superhero spotlight is long overdue. What are you waiting for, Marvel?


These folks are evidently unaware that there has already been a Manga spider-man by the great Ryoichi Ikegami (Mai, Crying Freeman). Far from being merely a manga-styled version of Peter Parker, the book starred a Japanese youth named Yu Komori — so been there, done that, New Media Animation!

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• Finally, a real half-black, half Hispanic man named David Betancourt has written on the Washington Post blog about his feelings:

You always remember the happiest day of your comic-book life. Those of us who refuse to let go of our 22 to 30 pages of monthly joy called comic books once we’ve “grown up” each have our moments. For some, it’s the first time they read Watchmen. Others will say it was when they discovered the X-Men. Perhaps it was that time they read Batman: Year One.

For me, that moment came Aug. 2, 2011, when after reading comic books for more than two-thirds of my life (I am 31) and never being surprised or shocked by anything, I read news that, literally, made my jaw drop.

Comments

  1. There already was an Asian Spiderman:

    http://youtu.be/mcxioU7AMM4

    “yeah yeah, yeeeah – WOW!

  2. jacob goddard says:

    I guess my opinion is this; if you are emotionally invested enough in a throwaway fictional character like spiderman to be personally offended by this than you’re already a lost cause and not worth worrying about.

  3. Travis says:

    I’d say if you didn’t have emotional investment in these characters, generations of creators have failed at their jobs. And I’d wonder why you’d comment on a site like this. Am I a lost cause to be pleased and perhaps even inspired by this?

  4. David T.G. Riches says:

    Okay in the game of one up man ship we recently had DC show us the Batmen of the world what can they do to top a half-black, half Hispanic man will we get Lesbian Asian SuperGirl? The more you tinker with traditions the more you risk just changing history completely. Wasn’t the Ultimate line originally supposed to be a modern no nonsense start to Marvel history that every one could follow from the beginning? I am afraid it’s gotten to convoluted to follow anymore….

  5. Kat Kan says:

    I have a Puerto Rican/African American goddaughter. My daughter-in-law is part Puerto Rican, Native American, African, Swedish, English, French and I don’t know what else. My son is Japanese/German/English/Scots. My grandson is all of those combined. I welcome the new Spider-Man, as someone my own kids, grandkid, and goddaughter can see as someone who is more like them. I can only hope that the haters will stop hating (I know, not likely).

  6. “I’d say if you didn’t have emotional investment in these characters, generations of creators have failed at their jobs. ”

    Several months after beating Portal 2, I still feel sorry for Wheatly. So I can say that I was emotionally invested in the writing.

    But you know what, if Portal 3 ever came out, Wheatly had a different color, and I freaked out over it, you’d have the right to claim that I was over-invested in the game. It would make me an idiot.

    Apply this to the Miles Morales tempest as needs be.

    “…will we get Lesbian Asian SuperGirl?”

    That’d be hot.

  7. David T.G. Riches says:

    BTW I welcome changes that would develop naturally to the lineage of a comic book like the Cassandra Cain as Batgirl or the Jamie Reyes as Blue Beetle (although I mourned the lost of Ted Kord) it was never a case of “hey the new Batgirl is Asian or the new Blue Beetle is Hispanic!” It was always a case of here’s a new Batgirl or here’s a new Blue Beetle. I think Christopher Priest put it straight years ago when he released The Crew and said this is not about race. My problem is it’s all the media seems to want to focus on not “OMG the old spider-Man has died and they have already replaced him.”

  8. Charles Knight says:

    “I am afraid it’s gotten to convoluted to follow anymore….”

    A character died and someone else replaced him – that’s convoluted?

  9. Dave Miller-lad says:

    Now if a fat, morbidly obese kid put on the Spider-man costume . . . that would be progress!

  10. Joe Lawler says:

    “The more you tinker with traditions the more you risk just changing history completely.”

    Are they recoloring old issues of Ultimate Spider-Man?

    “BTW I welcome changes that would develop naturally to the lineage of a comic book like the Cassandra Cain as Batgirl or the Jamie Reyes as Blue Beetle (although I mourned the lost of Ted Kord) it was never a case of “hey the new Batgirl is Asian or the new Blue Beetle is Hispanic!””

    If memory serves me correctly, there were plenty of similar reactions when Jamie Reyes was introduced.

  11. Synsidar says:

    At least some of the negative reactions to Morales as Spider-Man are probably due to non-comics readers thinking that the hero has been radically changed to reflect the costume-wearer’s skin color. They think that the stories are similar to prose stories, with political and social messages, and the like. That’s not the case, of course; putting on the costume makes the wearer’s skin color practically irrelevant. The hero doesn’t have to be masked, though. What would happen if Wonder Woman were black? From a storytelling perspective, very little. Fans, of the icon and character both, would react, however.

    How many black heroes and heroines have actually represented forces for societal change? Luke Cage isn’t one. Not Triathlon. Not Black Goliath. Not Monica Rambeau. The Black Panther fought discrimination, but that’s apolitical.

    Making Morales a 13-year-old was probably a mistake. Putting a schoolyard bully in his place wouldn’t interest adults, but I can’t see a 13-year-old coping with adult situations. Put him in a Sophie’s choice situation? Any 13-year-old would be paralyzed. Spider-Man might live in a fantasy world, but that doesn’t justify having people react bizarrely; they react normally to bizarre situations.

    SRS

  12. @Dave Miller-Lad:
    Uh, they’ve already done that. I don’t remember the issue, but he was on the cover he had glasses and Doc Ock’s arms. So been there, done that.

  13. As someone who is from a mixed hispanic background, this is not inspiring to me. Just be an American, not a half this half that. People complain about racial divisions but so adamantly push their own ‘identity’ as if I’m supposed to care. Write a good spidey story, make Miles a character I will care about. Don’t be afraid to call things out if you think someone is trying to push their own political/social agenda. People may call you racist but who cares.

  14. Laroquod says:

    The right-wingers are trying to reframe the debate by calling it ‘multi-culti’ which sounds cultie, therefore bad. Why do you think they don’t like saying ‘multicultural’? It’s because cultural things are things; cultures are inherently valuable. Cults aren’t. So you are being playing if you take this nickname seriously. Besides, it isn’t the real world. The real world is ‘multicultural’, thank you.

  15. David T.G. Riches says:

    @Charles Knight – when I say convoluted I mean convoluted. If you were an infrequent reader of a title you should still be able to pick up the latest issue and recognize most of the characters in it. You pick up the classic Uncanny X-Men #138 and you have the funeral of Jean Grey and you have a distinct history of recent (at that time) events and you recognized or were told all the characters involved. Take the memorial after the death of Steve Rogers in the recent (relatively) Civil Wars and you should be able to name each o the characters without a score card. Now take Ultimate Fallout #3 which is the funeral of Peter Parker and a Stark (I didn’t even know there was another Stark until recently) and it takes a while to pick out half the characters and the rest I have no idea who they are. It took me a page flipping back and forth to realize that’s Kitty Pryde on the Cover. That to me is convoluted.

    @Joe Lawler – I still believe the Ultimate line is trying to be it’s own definite history. Just that if you have to flip a few pages to figure out what’s going on or even a few issues you either have a a really in depth story or somewhere somehow we have lost the plot. There was a time when any Marvel crowd scene was a point to play pick out the character. Were it to be the Marvel Bullpen in the lobby of the Baxter Building or John Steed and Emma Peel in a bar with Hawk-eye and Mockingbird you would look and say I get the in-joke reference. Now using the same example as before Ultimate Fallout # 3 with the funeral of Gregory Stark and Peter Parker and I could barely recognize the crowds behind Aunt May and Mary Jane and was that Mayor Bloomberg as the priest at Gregory Stark’s funeral mass? Where is the wake where we would have people retell history without us having to guess how we got here?
    After the first few issues of Jamie Reyes as Blue Beetle in the American SouthWest people were used to this being two distinct chapters in the characters development different from the past iterations. The character matched the immersion of the culture and environment it was in. Much like the Manga Spider-Man was a Japanese person slinging webs through Tokyo you came to realize there are similarities but it’s not a cookie cutter representation. The media is focusing on the race while keeping it to the cookie cutter out look of a Peter Parker Spider-Man young kid dealing with great power comes great responsibility in big city of New York. Not Tokyo, not American SouthWest, not as a silent reformed assassin in the underworld, not as down on their luck Crew in the Lil’ Mog. It’s that factor and how Miles cuts out his reputation that will make him his own character and not a second rate replacement like Bucky Barnes (R.I.P.) was.

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