Marvel Comics recently released “Spider-Man #1,” which features New York City teenager Miles Morales donning the spandex suit once occupied by Peter Parker. Morales is making headlines because he is the first biracial Spider-Man; his father is African American and his mother is Puerto Rican.
The project is close to the hearts of the team involved. In an interview with Marvel, comic-book artist Sara Pichelli joked that Miles was “their baby”; a real labor of love that the creative team are very pleased to have had the chance to finally come to life with the dawn of his own series. Miles Morales could be previously seen as a major part in “Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man” back in 2011.
“I have children of color and I see what they watch and I see what they read, and I see how difficult it is for them to find something that isn’t the sassy best friend on some Nickelodeon show or something,” Bendis said. “I made a determination to add positivity into that part of our culture for little kids and adults and teenagers. There’s stuff that isn’t represented at all. I’m happy to be part of fixing that as much as I can, when the story allows.”
Morales will be facing the same struggles as the average teenager in the comic series. In regard to the character itself, Pichelli says, “He doesn’t live an ideal life, he’s not a genius, he’s not rich, has a complicated relationship with his family and we lived with him during the conflicts coming just from having super powers.”
Morales will try to balance school, girls, friends and family life while also battling evil villains. Upcoming developments in the storyline include encounters specifically with Spider-Man’s enemies Black Cat and Hammerhead.
Much like his predecessor Peter Parker, Morales developed his superpowers after being bitten by an enhanced spider at the age of 13.
As a new superhero, Morales will be fighting alongside other diverse characters, such as a female Thor and a Muslim teenager Kamala Khan, more famously known as her superhero counterpart Ms. Marvel.
Initially, there was a lot of backlash against a female portrayal of Thor, which was addressed immediately in the series as Thor takes down a sexist burglar. Similarly, Kamala Khan, whose origin story depicts her as one of two children from a Pakistani family living in New Jersey, was a new character introduced into Marvel’s roster.
Morales is a full-fledged member of The All-New All-Different Avengers, a band of crime fighters that also includes fan favorites Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, Thor, Nova and Ms. Marvel. In a trope familiar to fans of the blockbuster “Avengers” movies, the All-New All-Different Avengers also have to work together against all odds in the hopes of defeating a common enemy.
This renewed focus on introducing more characters into the world of superheroes and comic books is an opportunity to reflect new faces and redefine what it means to be a hero.
Bendis meditates on the importance of giving people the chance to see themselves in their idols, saying, “What Miles represents is, anyone can be Spider-Man. I’ve heard this so much from people – that they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be in that costume.”
Editor’s Note: Information from Daily Dot, The Guardian, Marvel and Vibe.com was used in this report.