He’s Red and Blue
August 3rd, 2011

He’s Red and Blue

So Spider-Man (Ultimate) is half-black, half-hispanic, and it’s a wonder that this is a thing that provokes discussion, but, it is, and it’s a weird world. It’s good, it’s new, and, sure, we’ve been here before, with minority Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, but this is different, somehow. David Brothers tries to get at the ‘why’ of ‘why is this good’.

Are we impressed because it’s Spider-Man? Because this is getting a national audience? Because Glenn Beck is mad? That’s gotta be a good sign, right?

It’s cool that Spider-Man is multiracial. And I hope that won’t even matter to some kids.

-cof

^ 61 Comments...

  1. Curt's Mom

    Good one, guys!

    [Reply]

  2. Pj Perez

    Thank you for cutting through the BS and seeing this through the eyes of someone who just likes good stories.

    [Reply]

  3. Seanathan

    I agree 100%. One quibble though: the New Spider-Man’s costume is Red and Black.

    [Reply]

  4. thomas

    We can be outraged about Perry White, though, right? Not because he’s black, though. But because he’s Laurence Fishburne, a seriously terrible actor. YOU PEAKED WITH COWBOY CURTIS, YOU HACK!

    [Reply]

  5. VictorWard

    Spiderman’s blatino? Neat.

    Makes sense, though – I mean being part black and part latino explains why he’s so into mary jane.

    [Reply]

  6. SexyBlackPat!

    *slow clap*

    [Reply]

  7. Brian L

    *joins the slow clap*

    [Reply]

  8. Costa K

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDRE…oh, wait.

    LBFA Inc…the political cartoonists of 2011.

    [Reply]

  9. birdie

    I’m chicano myself, but is this really a ploy to engage readers or something legit?

    [Reply]

  10. MartiniManJoe

    Im the downer….Marvel hypes this up, everyone is sooo proud and excited about a story they haven’t read yet and when it comes out its bagged and the new guy is in it for seven pages!!!
    I love yalls strip this week!

    I like the concept but WE STILL AINT READ THE STORY, LETS WAIT TO FREAK OUT

    [Reply]

  11. Pj

    Birdie: It’s the Ultimate universe, so it’s legit. Is it ALSO a ploy? If there are good, exciting stories told, who cares? I’m actually semi-interested in a Spider-Man comic for the first time in decades, so … mission accomplished?

    [Reply]

  12. TheRealDerek

    The irony of people being mad that a character created to appeal to the kids in high school who were outsiders being written from that perspective again for the first time in, let’s say, twenty years, is simply mind-shattering.
    Also, best thing you’ve ever written. I want to see this on film as a PSA. Seriously.

    [Reply]

  13. lynn

    awww. see, guys? after all the smutty smut it’s nice to have some good clean fun! ok, now more dick jokes! :D

    [Reply]

  14. BeeBrains

    I think all the Marvel characters would be better if they were minorities. Make Luke Cage white, Spiderman is black, the punisher is mexican, Thor is chinese, the Hulk can be an eskimo, and Wolverine can be a swarthy Italian.

    I mean tell me you wouldn’t read this: http://i.imgur.com/zF5fb.jpg

    [Reply]

    BeeBrains Reply:

    not to imply being white is a minority, but turning all the marvel characters races on their heads would be interesting, and I would totally read it.

    Though I agree, I think most kids don’t even think twice if Spiderman was Black or White.

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    the “punisher is mexican” storyline happened in a movie and it was called MACHETE.

    and it was brilliant.

    [Reply]

  15. Brownout_Girl

    Well done, guys. Well done.

    [Reply]

  16. KB_SBI

    So good.
    Eh, pretty much all my favorite Superheroes are white but it doesn’t really matter. Like others said, as long as the stories are good people will read it. Like the idea, gonna check it out.

    [Reply]

  17. josh

    in fairness, most of your favorite heroes being white might be because most all heroes are white, especially among the Big two.

    I don’t like faux-fingerless gloves though.

    [Reply]

  18. Stripes

    I can only think it’s a step in the right direction, they created a whole new universe and have only changed two characters race (to my knowledge) spidey and fury. It still annoys me that the only characters which seem to die and stay dead aren’t white.

    Ah well at some point it might change…..maybe

    [Reply]

    josh Reply:

    the “only minority characters staying dead” thing is, I think, just an aspect of the much, much smaller pool of minority characters. Unless Mark Millar writes the comic, then it is probably planned.

    [Reply]

    chudleycannonfodder Reply:

    Wasp was Asian.

    And if it counts for anything, Collosus is/was (don’t follow UXM) gay.

    [Reply]

  19. jason

    so if spider-man is blatino does that mean mary jane is now asian with a really great ass and thunder thighs?

    because i’m all for that.

    [Reply]

    lynn Reply:

    um…jason, asians do not have really great asses. i’m a latina living in an asian country so i’m like an expert an all things asian now…and on great asses for that matter. also, thunder thighs is not a compliment :P

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    different strokes for different folks i guess cuz thunder thighs are indeed awesome.

    [Reply]

  20. Brainwashing Detective

    Doesn’t really matter what his race is, it’s the fact that it’s a change.

    [Reply]

  21. Markus Seaberry

    I think the idea is interesting. I’ve been reading Ultimate Spider-Man in trades, so I haven’t read all of these issues yet. I just hope it’s a good story. The racist comments in the media and on several discussion boards (not this one) have been a little disheartening. I definitely plan to continue reading the series in trade. I really wish people would give the book a chance.

    [Reply]

    josh Reply:

    yeah, the racist comments here have been uplifting!

    [Reply]

  22. Peebo Bryson

    Eat shit, Curt. Only someone as wrapped up in white guilt as you would try to emotionally blackmail the reader into agreeing with you by putting the black guy in front of a segregated water fountain. Hey, why not put him in front of a burning cross or — gasp — The Back Of The Bus, while we’re trying to manipulate the reader into thinking another bit of pandering by Marvel Comics is a good thing because it caters to not one, but TWO supposedly oppressed minorities?

    The comments here are laughable, too, in their embrace of feelgoodism over substance. The only saving grace about Marvel’s decision is that, these days, comics are more likely to be read by pseudo-deep 40-year-old otaku than small children. It preaches to an already eager choir of self-loathing liberal whites rather than trying to proselytize to a new audience.

    [Reply]

    Shatners_Bassoon Reply:

    What is proselytising about having a mixed race character be the new Spider-man, exactly? I don’t know whether you’re mad that Peter Parker died in the first place, or that his replacement isn’t an existing cast member or any other number of things, or you’re even just pissed off because you think everyone on this page is being too heavy-handed about the whole thing.
    But if Bendis was always going to kill off Peter Parker and replace him as Spider-man, what exactly is wrong about the fact that the replacement is not a white guy? How is it “pandering?”

    [Reply]

    Feliciano2040 Reply:

    I don’t think people are mad because he wasn’t replaced by a white guy, but because Ultimate Peter Parker was killed.

    Regardless of what some people here might like to think, some folk have the right to be mad about Bendis’ decision, they have the right to defend a character they cared without being called a racist.

    This is coming from a guy who hasn’t even read single issue of Ultimate Spider-Man.

    [Reply]

    chudleycannonfodder Reply:

    That may be true, but it sounds like Peebo is either mad about a white guy being replaced and/or a troll.

    Shatners_Bassoon Reply:

    Yep, absolutely, but on an issue like this one which draws racists like moths to a flame, it’s probably a good idea to make clear what you’re angry about before you go get your mad on, otherwise people may make some assumptions.

    april Reply:

    Christ, what an asshole.

    [Reply]

    brainypirate Reply:

    [snark on]Right, because no one under 30 needs a reminder that segregation still existed in 1962. Because kids today all know their history so well that when they see a black character and the date 1962, they immediately recall that explicit racism was still legalized in many places.[/snark]

    I wonder how many young readers wouldn’t realize the problems that still existed in 1962 without that water fountain as a reminder?

    [Reply]

    Curt Reply:

    I don’t think you Got It.

    [Reply]

    Curt Reply:

    I don’t really want to get into it here, but if you want to have a discussion about what we were going for in this comic, feel free to e-mail me at curtofranklin@gmail.com and we can talk.

    [Reply]

  23. chudleycannonfodder

    You remember that page in All Star Superman, the one where Superman tells the depressed person “It’s never as bad as it seems. You’re stronger than you think you are” and my eyes tear up every time I think about how touching it is? That’s what this comic reminds me of. I’ve read this comic three times and I’ve teared up each time.

    [Reply]

  24. Danny Djeljosevic

    Aw, super sweet. Excellent strip, guys.

    [Reply]

  25. Durf

    I’m more pissed that they needlessly killed off Parker for forced racial diversity.
    A black Hispanic Spider-Man? Fine. Cool. I don’t care. But you kill off Parker so Miles can take the spotlight? Yeah no.

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    The Ultimate universe exist to do things they couldn’t do in the regular universe, like killing Spider-Man. And if you actually read the issue, it’s certainly not forced.

    Besides, 616 Peter is still alive, so what’s your problem?

    [Reply]

  26. Jordjevic

    Look, if you’re rationalizing this as “I’m just peeved they killed off the original;” was anyone really this up in arms when Brubaker had Bucky take over for Captain America, or any of the other whites-replacing-whites hero changeups that have occured in the past? And why is any of this “needless?” What qualifies as a “need” when it comes to storytelling? And besides, the party line is that deaths don’t ever last anyway, isn’t it? So what’s the big deal here, really?

    Frankly, it seems to be a greater “need” for minority children (like Miles!) to have highly prominent role models with their own guaranteed-to-last-for-more-than-5-issues series than for a 10-year old side-label character to stagnate even farther into obscurity.

    [Reply]

    Viktor Reply:

    There’s a lot of people pissed that Hal and Barry are the big names in their respective families instead of, you know, characters with personality. And DC also caught hell(deservedly), for trashing Oracle in favor of Batgirl.

    Note that I don’t care about USM at all, just saying, ANY character getting replaced with ANYONE else will piss fans off.

    [Reply]

  27. Laplace Zombie

    I think you guys captured the joy that comic books should, IMHO, inspire in us readers. Sometimes people take this stuff too seriously.

    [Reply]

  28. MartiniManJoe

    Why does race get the most comments on this page?????? Ive never understood that….

    [Reply]

  29. jason

    would it so controversial/weird if the new racially diverse kid was instead possibly the great great ancestor of miguel o’hara aka spider-man 2099? at least then this new spiderman would be then be part of established marvel universe canon.

    just wondering and trying to start dialog not argument.

    [Reply]

    TreborSmada Reply:

    I hope this turns out to be the truth. I kind of had the same thought this morning waking up for work.

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 is Mexican/Irish and Miles is African-American/Puerto Rican, so i don’t think they’re related.

    [Reply]

  30. iRonin

    My heritage demands a Tony Montana inspired Punisher.

    [Reply]

  31. lighthousepilot

    I’m going to join the slow clap already in progress and also add a “Dudes, this one is heartfelt and awesome”.

    [Reply]

  32. TreborSmada

    This is awesome! I personally am very excited about this Spider-Man. (I’m a white male, not that it matters just thought I’d state it.) :p I’m a huge Spider-Man fan, I have him tattooed on my right leg. I don’t care who’s in the suit as long as it’s Spider-Man on the outside. Besides I love the new suit that Miles will be sporting. Always a fan of a new Spidey suit. *Only reason I picked up FF #1 was the new white and black Spide suit.* Awesome job on the comic guys!

    [Reply]

  33. MeIsMe

    Okay them changing Spiderman black/latino is alright by me if they are only doing it for the story and makes it better, not because they are trying to be PC and shove it down our throat. That is bad and stupid. Peter Parker is Spiderman. I hate changing colors just for colors sake. He’s black cause we need a black guy. That is insulting if that is their motive.

    [Reply]

  34. MeIsMe

    “Frankly, it seems to be a greater “need” for minority children (like Miles!) to have highly prominent role models with their own guaranteed-to-last-for-more-than-5-issues series than for a 10-year old side-label character to stagnate even farther into obscurity.”

    No. Kids need role models and it shouldn’t matter what color they are. A hero is a hero. Black, white, latino, asian kids have been admiring Spiderman for years. Kids don’t think about color when dressing up as Spiderman and pretending to do flips around the house.

    [Reply]

    tny Reply:

    I disagree. Ideally, it wouldn’t matter what color potential role models are, but we don’t live in a colorblind society (and I’m not convinced we should if it makes us pretend color doesn’t matter). Most of the major superheroes I knew growing up were white, and it’s not something that makes a difference too obviously because yes, kids are interested in how those characters are good guys and wearing their costumes, but kids still notice who is being portrayed. When I was little, I would ask my mom if I could take a bath in milk because I thought it would lighten my skin color. Granted, that was a result of a lot of things affecting my little kid brain, but when you combine so much white-default images everywhere, it does matter. I think it’s good to try and keep diversifying, and I highly doubt they would kill off one of their most popular and successful characters just because they simply thought “we need a black guy.”

    [Reply]

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  36. Adam R. Charpentier

    But I LIKE Ultimate Peter Parker. Why not put somebody else in the 616 costume? All they do is fuck that character up, anyway, maybe a new spin would work. Keep Ultimate Peter Parker dead, if it works for the story, but don’t replace him to satisfy an agenda. I hope Morales is donning the suit because it’ll be a great story, not for an agenda.

    [Reply]

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  38. MW

    This strip is the most eloquent response I’ve seen to the “controversy” (idiots) losing their shit over the same type of character death-and-replacement that has happened a million times before in comics but for some reason is a big deal all of a sudden (hmmm…)

    Well done.

    [Reply]

  39. Punk

    I’m a huge Spidey fan, have been since I was a child (I’m 24 now) and I’m a US citizen of Puerto Rican descent.

    I am not for the killing of Spider-Man to fill the suit with a minority for novelty’s sake. If Marvel wanted to inspire minorities, they’re doing a half-ass job of it. As opposed to creating a unique character that they could be proud of all their own, they kill off a white hero and give some minority his hand-me-downs.

    I love the Spider-Man character because he tells smartass and sometimes even bad jokes and is a photographer (like me). I connect with him.

    I’m all for diversity. Why not just add another member to the Spider-Man family tree or rather web?

    If Marvel came up with a good Latin character with his or her own unique superhero identity I’d be proud, but killing off and replacing an existing character, with one of an ethnic skin tone palette swap DOES not.

    At least the main *cough, cough* good universe is still the awesome web-head I love.

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    I’m Puerto Rican(From Puerto Rico) too, and i think this is a great move on Marvel’s part.

    Besides, this is happening in the Ultimate Universe, where they can do things differently from the mainstream universe, this is were they can do things they couldn’t do in the mainstream universe, like killing Peter Parker.

    Besides, you can still get Peter Parker in Amazing. So cual es el problema?

    [Reply]

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