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Your NEW friendly neighborhood Spider-man
August 3, 2011 9:17 AM   Subscribe

"Ultimate Marvel is an imprint of comic books published by Marvel Comics, featuring reimagined and updated versions of the company's superhero characters" Today the imprint has introduced a new version of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, a half black-half latino male teenager. Fans are already talking about why this matters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (118 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cue Fox News freak out in 5...4...3...
posted by entropicamericana at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2011


After DC's white-washing of their universe (and the death of Dwayne McDuffie), this is refreshing.
posted by Eideteker at 9:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Too late, they're already freaking out.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks like someone learned something from the DC whitewashing fiasco (hint: It wasn't DC.) I completely welcome this. Parker's got, what, like twelve concurrent books running in 616?
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uh, jinx Eideteker.
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2011


As a longtime comic book nerd and a big Spider-Man geek, all I can say is: as long as he has an alliterative name, he'll work just fine. LET'S PUT HIM TO THE TEST.

"Miles Morales?"

Yeah, okay, works for me.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 9:24 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Very cool. First time I've been interested in Spiderman in years.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:25 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have only one question about the new Spiderman and it is not "What color is his skin?" It's "Seriously, they're still leaving those radioactive spiders just lying around waiting to bite people?"
posted by Elsa at 9:28 AM on August 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


Oh lordy, the USA Today comments pointed out in the Bleeding Cool article are... something, alright. My "favorite" though has to be:
Why should white children not have a comic book hero that they can identify with?
I'm LOLing so hard I'm weeping. *sigh*
posted by kmz at 9:28 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


From the Bleeding Cool link, emphasis mine:

What streets will he be protecting?? Oakland? Brooklyn? New Orleans? East LA?? LOL
posted by griphus at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


How wrong is it of me that I hope the first time he uses his webbing, he says, "Excuse me while I whip this out"?
posted by kimota at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


I don't like his name. Other than that, I think it's awesome. :) Also, they drew him quite, uh, flattering. Which is good, but it might having some moms picking up those comics left around.

Why should white children not have a comic book hero that they can identify with?

Wow, really?
posted by Malice at 9:34 AM on August 3, 2011


I like how the only possible reason for putting black people in superhero comics is to be Politically Correct and not because we live in America, where there are black people as a significant portion of our population?

I'm sure all of these folks were also outraged when Psylocke transformed from a white British woman into a hypersexualized Japanese ninja with breasts larger than her head.
posted by yeloson at 9:34 AM on August 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


Who is going to believe a black man in a mask is out for the good of man kind?

This "post-racial" society we're living in sure is nice.
posted by Zozo at 9:35 AM on August 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


As a longtime comic book nerd and a big Spider-Man geek, all I can say is: as long as he has an alliterative name, he'll work just fine. LET'S PUT HIM TO THE TEST.

"Miles Morales?"


Not only that! Consider the emphasis on M and the MNOP section of the the alphabet. MNOP->M NO P->MM NO PP->Miles Morales, no Peter Parker.

This was obviously deliberate.
posted by Plemer at 9:37 AM on August 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


kmz: "Why should white children not have a comic book hero that they can identify with?"

The preceding sentence is even more amazing: "Minorities are typically less than 18% of the population, but they seem to get nearly 100% of the history." Holy cow.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is why I hate people.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:39 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can only accept this change if the resulting comic has a greater amount of ales.

> Miles Morales

Well, then.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:40 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also from the USA today comments...
Maybe Bruce Banner should have turned black when he “Hulked Out” as a symbol of African American rage for centuries of oppression. Then he could rampage through suburban America wreaking havoc in Starbucks and The Gap and Old Navy stores. Go get ‘em Bro-Hulk!!!!!!

After going into a Starbucks this week ( a rare event for me), I would like to endorse this as a Good Idea.

Who is going to believe a black man in a mask is out for the good of man kind?

That does suggest some very interesting storylines, albeit unintentionally.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:40 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm super excited about this, not least because it means we're one step closer to greatness.
posted by fight or flight at 9:43 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


i still have precisely zero interest in comics and assuredly will not be reading this one either, but it's nice to see this kind of character flexibility from Marvel... i wish other organizations with "well-known" properties would do the same thing -- why not an Asian 007? Or a black Kirk? Unless the character is somehow profoundly tied up with their ethnicity, there's no reason to not mix things up. I mean, it's fantasy fiction for crying out loud.
posted by modernnomad at 9:43 AM on August 3, 2011


Spider-man's New York setting and the underdog nature of his character always felt like he should be at least ethnic if not a minority.
posted by charred husk at 9:45 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


They did a black Kirk. It was called Deep Space Nine.
posted by Billiken at 9:45 AM on August 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


cannot help but be reminded of this.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


Few things grind my gears like whining about "political correctness". Bless the internet for providing me with a rebuttal more eloquent than "SHUT THE FUCK UP, ASSHOLE":
Underlying every complaint of "PC" is the absurd notion that members of dominant mainstream society have been victimized by an arbitrarily hypersensitive prohibition against linguistic and cultural constructions that are considered historical manifestations of bigotry. It's no coincidence that "PC"-snivelers are for the most part white men who are essentially saying, "Who the hell do these marginalized groups think they are to tell me how I should or shouldn't portray them? I'm not going to say 'mentally challenged' when it's my right to say 'retard', goshdarnit there's only so much abuse I'll take!"

[...] Simply put, the great "PC" cliché, as commonly deployed in mainstream discourse, is cultural propaganda designed to befuddle and misdirect while defending the current power structure. All politics deal with power relations, and in the debate over America's alleged climate of "political correctness", there's a stark asymmetry of power between the defiant megaphone-wielders who complain of being constrained by humorless hypersensitivity from below, and the under-represented people of color, women, LGBT, handicapped, poor, and otherwise marginalized or dispossessed people who have no choice but to absorb the linguistic, cultural, and physical barbs of the ruling class.
posted by Zozo at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [49 favorites]


Much like Bill Clinton was often referred to as the first black president, Peter Parker was actually the first black Spider-Man.
"After all, Parker displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas Queens."
Apologies to Toni Morrison
posted by entropicamericana at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2011


boycott over already?
posted by DU at 9:48 AM on August 3, 2011


Have they decided yet if he's gay, disabled, and jewish (or muslim)? Because if you're going to pander, why not pander to everyone?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:49 AM on August 3, 2011


It's been a long time since I've read any Marvel or DC comics, but given all these reboots--are they still coming up with any new characters? Are they not sticking or something?
posted by Hoopo at 9:50 AM on August 3, 2011



Have they decided yet if he's gay, disabled, and jewish (or muslim)? Because if you're going to pander, why not pander to everyone?


USA Today's comment section is linked upthread
posted by Hoopo at 9:51 AM on August 3, 2011 [36 favorites]


why not an Asian 007? .... Unless the character is somehow profoundly tied up with their ethnicity...

James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?
posted by DU at 9:51 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Too late, they're already freaking out."

Relevant: Redditor Bingo (really, white male rights bingo).
posted by Eideteker at 9:51 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder if the whiners know about the black Captain America...?
posted by sc114 at 9:52 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a publicity stunt, and nothing more. I feel confident in saying this, because everything done by Marvel (and DC) in the past twenty years has been a publicity stunt.

Do heroes in Ultimate continuity have a better track record of staying dead than they do in 616?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:52 AM on August 3, 2011


The United States is already one third minority, and that percentage is just going to grow.

Cue Republican/TeaParty freak-out with "them taken' aur jerbs!"
posted by Old'n'Busted at 9:52 AM on August 3, 2011


Great link, Zozo. I'm sharing that with friends for sure.

DU: "James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?"

Not all English people are white.
posted by brundlefly at 9:54 AM on August 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


Not all English people are white.

As long as he doesn't pronounce 'r's in the right place, I don't care what color his skin is.
posted by DU at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2011


It's been a long time since I've read any Marvel or DC comics, but given all these reboots...

Miles isn't a reboot. Ultimate Spider-Man is in its own continuity, so in other words, Peter Parker isn't really gone for realsies, just in this alternate version of the Marvel universe.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Somtimes I think they just make all this stuff up, guys)
posted by trunk muffins at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, and another thought: Real hardcore racist assholes don't even read Marvel comics. They quit when Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Nick Fury.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the whiners know about the black Captain America...?

Or Miguel O'Hara (Spider-man 2099)?
posted by JDC8 at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Maybe Bruce Banner should have turned black when he “Hulked Out” as a symbol of African American rage for centuries of oppression. Then he could rampage through suburban America wreaking havoc in Starbucks and The Gap and Old Navy stores. Go get ‘em Bro-Hulk!!!!!!"

Except Bro-Hulk would be a white frat dude, brah. With more and more popped collars depending on how mad he got (see also: Racist Frankenstein, for character design inspiration). He would terrorize the GAP and Old Navy because A&F is way better. Also, they're at the same mall, so he doesn't have to try to park the Hummer his parents bought him more than once (which would make anyone hulk out, amirite bros?).

(Also, there was already White-Hatin' Coon.)
posted by Eideteker at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?

Not all Englishmen are white.

(Relatedly, I really do love Matt Smith, but I remember being quite excited by the prospect of Paterson Joseph or Catherine Tate being the new Doctor. Oh well. Maybe next time. And the Curse of Fatal Death, while hilarious, doesn't count.)
posted by kmz at 9:57 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have they decided yet if he's gay, disabled, and jewish (or muslim)? Because if you're going to pander, why not pander to everyone?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:49 AM on August 3 [+] [!]


...sooooooo I'm guessing you'd be Ted Kord, then.
posted by Shepherd at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Cue Fox News freak out in 5...4...3

I didn't link to any of that crap for a reason. It's interesting that a lot of people felt the need to track it in anyway.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?


Sean Connery.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


Racist Frankenstein

This would have been an amazing SNL bit. Townspeople all surrounding him with torches and pitchforks and he just cries out to be treated with dignity and humanity, he's not a Jew, after all!

...and everyone just goes silent and sort of awkwardly looks at the ground and there's a cough.
posted by griphus at 10:00 AM on August 3, 2011 [20 favorites]


FEMINIST HULK is best Hulk.
posted by kmz at 10:01 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


kmz: "Relatedly, I really do love Matt Smith, but I remember being quite excited by the prospect of Paterson Joseph or Catherine Tate being the new Doctor."

There was also some speculation about Chiwetel Ejiofor, which made me very happy while it lasted
posted by brundlefly at 10:02 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've heard some rumors that while casting a different race as the next who might be possible, a woman is almost out of the question cause it's still marketed as a kids show and you can't have your main character say " well back when I was a man" for some reason.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slightly more seriously, there was a long-standing rumor that Colin Salmon was in the running to be Bond after Pierce Brosnan (he plays another 00 agent, Charles Robinson, in some of the films) - before the Daniel Craig reboot, although he is probably now too advanced in years. Patterson Joseph or Chiwetel Ejiofor would make perfectly good, perfectly British Bonds also.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:06 AM on August 3, 2011


"Do heroes in Ultimate continuity have a better track record of staying dead than they do in 616?"

In the Ultimate universe, they've killed Daredevil, the original (black, british) Hulk, Dr. Doom and Wolverine and the Thing isn't rocky and orange anymore. So far no signs of any of them coming back.
posted by oddman at 10:12 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dang, my kid is half black, half-hispanic (well, 1/4 hispanic 1/4 mixed European white) and he loves Spider Man. I wonder what he'd think about this, I'll have to grab an issue and see.
posted by sotonohito at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


...I am now imagining Chiwetel Ejiofor playing 007, and all I have to say is: WHERE DO I SIGN TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
posted by sophistrie at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?


Tied up with being 'from' the UK, certainly, but certainly not tied up with being ethnically white.
posted by modernnomad at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Or Miguel O'Hara (Spider-man 2099)?"

I know I'm in the minority (hah! double-hah, because in addition to this thread being about comics and minorities, I am myself a minority! Oh, I kill me. Well, lynch me. It's tough being half-white and half-black, I tell ya...) but Miggy is my Spider-man. Yeah, I know, that's like saying Colin Baker is my Doctor [Who].
posted by Eideteker at 10:14 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard some rumors that while casting a different race as the next who might be possible, a woman is almost out of the question cause it's still marketed as a kids show and you can't have your main character say " well back when I was a man" for some reason.

Sorry, I don't believe the logic underlying this rumor. I don't see how "back when I was a man" is any more controversial in this vein than Jack Harkness or interspecies lesbians.

For no really good reason, I think the time to bring in a lady Who is for the 13th regeneration, if only for a moment where someone says "he can't regenerate again!" and she says "you're right, he couldn't."
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:17 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Tied up with being 'from' the UK, certainly, but certainly not tied up with being ethnically white.

To be fair, Bond as a character has usually a certain, rather pronounced air of entitlement and wealth and all that - it's part of why Craig's new Gritty Bond(tm) had everyone talking, and certainly historically, it's not something that people would have associated with ethnic minorities in Britain. That said:

1) it's 2011; the situation might not have completely changed, but it's certainly different from what it once was, and,

2) even if it weren't, the man is a secret agent, ffs. Faking it is part of the job description.
posted by sophistrie at 10:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good on them. Shame that Ultimate Marvel has been a shitshow since at least Ultimatum. I pop my head in on those books every once in a while and even though Bendis's USM is decent, the whole line is a mess waiting to be canceled.
posted by X-Himy at 10:23 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?


James Bond has been played by an American, a Scotsman, an Australian, an Englishman, a Welshman, an Irishman and another Englishman.

While Chiwetel Ejiofor would make a fine Bond, I submit that there is at least one obviously better choice.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:24 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The air of entitlement and wealth reminds me of a rumor I've heard that Morgan Freeman was the second choice to play Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs. That would have been interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:24 AM on August 3, 2011


I like that Ultimate Marvel is willing to experiment and avoid the status quo is god inertia present in the core 616 universe but honestly the Ultimate universe got pretty horribad there for an extended period under Loeb so I'm not sure I'm really willing to invest any time in it.

That being said Ultimate Spiderman was kinda a refreshing take on the character. I could never really get into 616 Spiderman even when I was a Marvel Zombie and frankly I'm not a big Bendis fan but I do like what he's done with Ultimate Spiderman for the most part.

I might give it a go but frankly Loeb simply soured me on that whole experiment.
posted by vuron at 10:25 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


DU: "James Bond's character is not profoundly tied up with being English?"

brundlefly: Not all English people are white.


First, let me say I dig the possibilities with this new incarnation of Spider-man. However, you might get a richer story with ditching everything else about the Peter Parker character, including the city, it's location in the world, and everything else and just keep the idea of Spider-man and really start a whole new story entirely.

As I am not a Spider-Man aficionado, I'm going to go with this 007 thing to share my thoughts on this. When I was a young kid, and saw Octopussy in the theater, I thought that the agent (although not '00' status, I believe) played by Vijay Amritraj would have been an amazing '00' agent, worthy of his own films. Make him another '00' agent, and build a whole series of European/Bollywood action films. The rich possibilities of stories would be far better than trying to just change 007's race and go on as usual. Vijay would have kicked ass, been a lady-killer, and come into his own as an '00' agent, without shoehorning him in with all the baggage and euro-centric back story of Flemming's 007.

I would have no a problem with enjoying a non-Caucasian 007, but I would dig so much more to keep just the role as a '00' agent, and start with an almost blank slate. I would want to see a totally different approach, written with a non-European sensibility, with all the possible conflicts external and internal of an agent of the crown working in a post-colonial India and beyond, for example.

Keep the job title and responsibilities, change everything else. Don't write it from a strictly western point of view, give me ideas, contexts, and stories I don't know to really sink my teeth into.
posted by chambers at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the EIC: "For the first time, if my parents ever tell me I can be anything I wanna be, it will, literally, be true. I can be a half-black, half hispanic Spider-Man."

I don't know how to break it to him that he can't literally be Spiderman.

(This is a cool move. I just hope they don't fall into the trap of having all of his soap-opera drama be about RACISM™.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on August 3, 2011


"Shame that Ultimate Marvel has been a shitshow since at least Ultimatum."

What Marvel needs is not two continuities, but rather Marvel-C (with continuity) and Marvel-NC (without continuity). The problem with selling comics is that each event has to build off of the last, and each needs to be bigger than the previous one. Sometimes, you just want to read "A Spider-man story," any one will do. And creators sometimes just want to tell re-envisionings/reinterpretations of the character. So you line up creators to do a few limited series at a time, sell it as Spider-man stories (and bundle runs of specific stories/creators in collections as graphic novels; a steady stream of graphic novels = a steady stream of revenue). This way, you don't need decades of continuity to catch up on, no "This matters, until we decide to retcon/reboot it" reality-punching needed. I can't get to blogspot at work, but I think Fraggmented (of the Storytelling Engines) would agree with me (he has a great post about this which maybe someone will dig up and link to? Pretty please?). In the way that hardcore and casual gaming have sort of split off from one another, it would be nice to see "hardcore" comics for the fans and "casual" comics for fans of the medium. I think you can do great things with comic books, but creators are shackled by the existing structure a lot of the times.
posted by Eideteker at 10:33 AM on August 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't know how to break it to him that he can't literally be Spiderman.

Don't listen to this. Repeatedly expose yourself to radioactive spiders. Live the dream!
posted by Sangermaine at 10:34 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Marvel-C (with continuity) and Marvel-NC (without continuity)

I think DC could benefit from that as well; GM proved it could work with the All-Star Superman series. It'd be nice, among other things, to get a Hawkman series going that isn't bogged down by the fact that no one has any idea who Hawkman is.
posted by griphus at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been reading Ultimate Spidey for the past 110+ issues, and I am so excited about this even though I know perfectly well as a long-time comics fan that Peter Parker will be back in the suit right in time for the movie next year.

Also, I think Ultimatum really reenergized the title and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was brilliant (particularly thanks to artist David Lafuente, who I really wish was still around, but Pichelli ain't bad despite her really, really cheesecakey costume designs for women*), but I hear I'm in the minority on that. Still, really looking forwards to this, for however long it lasts.

Now, if only they could fix the whole unmarriaging-via-deal-with-the-devil and stop writing Peter like an overgrown fratboy in 616...

*Because what Ultimate Black Cat's costume really needed was stiletto heels, a six-foot-long belt/tail thing, and cat-head-shaped decolletage that looked like it was poking her barely contained boobs every time she breathed. Sigh.
posted by bettafish at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


My image of James Bond is that he can waltz into the swankiest places and no one will bat an eye. Once you make him non-white this is no longer possible. He'll get some extra attention from security and won't be able to slip out and copy some plans/seduce Ms. Double Entendre.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:40 AM on August 3, 2011


So you line up creators to do a few limited series at a time, sell it as Spider-man stories (and bundle runs of specific stories/creators in collections as graphic novels; a steady stream of graphic novels = a steady stream of revenue).

I'm not sure how familiar you are with comics, but this is exactly what they do and have always done. There have been tons of limited series and one-shots dedicated to one-off or alternate Spider-Man/X-Man/Batman/etc tales.

Ultimate itself is just this old practice writ large. Sometimes these experiments take on a life of their own. A good example might be the storyline of Spider-Girl. She first came about in an issue of the What-If series looking at what would have happend had the Parkers raised the child they lost at the end of the Spider Clone Saga. It became so popular that it led to the launch of a Spider-Girl book, which was pretty good.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bond's raison d'etre was to defend and preserve Western Civilization. Now that that's no longer fashionable, I'd prefer to see the character retired.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:43 AM on August 3, 2011


"My image of James Bond is that he can waltz into the swankiest places and no one will bat an eye. Once you make him non-white this is no longer possible."

Dude, Mexican James Bond. The janitor costume gets 'em every time. Shit, people don't even think he speaks English (and they treat him like he's invisible anyway), so they just dish about their plots right in front of him. Also, who do you think empties the trash cans with the top secret documents in them? (OK, more like wikileaks-level of secret, but still.)
posted by Eideteker at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Bond as a character has usually a certain, rather pronounced air of entitlement and wealth and all that - it's part of why Craig's new Gritty Bond(tm) had everyone talking, and certainly historically, it's not something that people would have associated with ethnic minorities in Britain.

Interestingly, Daniel Craig's Bond is much closer to the character portrayed in the books - taciturn, awkward with women, violent, and somewhat resentful. His attitude problems stem from a habit of taking things personally even where they don't directly concern him. The wisecracking, gadget-toting playboy has been over-emphasized to the point of parody.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


What Marvel needs is not two continuities, but rather Marvel-C (with continuity) and Marvel-NC (without continuity).

One of the interesting things about the Clone Wars TV series (both of them, but especially the latest) to my mind was that they showed how you could build in whole arcs of new material without upsetting continuity. The adventures that Anakin and Orange Girl (whose actual name I can never remember) all take place in a undeveloped period of the Star Wars extended universe.

It has always seemed to me that Marvel and DC's insistence on only building onto the end of their respective continuities. The latest X-Men series is almost always following on chronologically from the previous one or re-booting it, with the exception of some backstory arcs like Wolverine's Origins series, and the same is generally true elsewhere. Why not just pick a point "back in time" and slot in a new arc there. The latest X-Men film tried to do this and didn't really fail on that level (although it certainly didn't work on others).

There's whole reams of interesting stories that could be packed in this way, and choosing to do so at one or another point can allow you to avoid bits of continuity and character development that are of no interest or counterproductive to the story you're trying to tell. Whereas writing another Wolverine or Batman story post-Everything Thus Far requires you to lug around vast amounts of baggage.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's a Nubian?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you want Marvel NC, pick up some Marvel Adventures books. Hell, if you like fun, pick up some Marvel Adventures books. They are fantastic and follow no continuity that gets in the way of a good story.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2011


James Bond in: On His Shareholders' Secret Services
posted by griphus at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2011


"What's a Nubian?"

$20, same as in town.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Marvel has done this sort of thing in the "real" continuity before with Iron Man. They had James Rhodes, a black man, wearing the armor for a while when Tony Stark had succumbed to alcoholism.

Rhodes was portrayed as a competent "pilot" of the armor, but not a genius who could really modify and create it. He was usually fine with Stark Enterprises backing him up.

There was a nice storyline in Secret Wars where Rhodes was stranded on another planet with a bunch of other superheroes. He was feeling a bit insecure, wondering if anyone would suspect that he wasn't the "real" Iron Man. At one point, Reed Richards is repairing his armor, which exposes some of Rhodes's arm. He asks Reed, "Were you surprised there was a black man under this armor?"

Reed shrugs and says, "I knew there was a man in there."
posted by straight at 10:57 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Marvel attempts to launch a line of continuity-light/kid-friendly titles every few years. Inevitably if they're any good they develop a fanbase of their own and then continuity kicks in to keep that fanbase entertained (and rake in more moola, natch). Both currently running Marvel Adventures titles have an ongoing story, now, and 1602 and Noir are pretty well-developed sub-universes in their own right.

To my mind the ideal in hitting that continuity/no-continuity sweet spot happened in Marvel Adventures Avengers a couple years back. Every issue was a done-in-one that you could pick up without reading a single other issue, but there were always some minor story developments that carried over from issue to issue, like new characters joining the team, or someone picking up neat new powers. Also, it worked really well to have a large, diverse line-up and have a rotating cast for every story.
posted by bettafish at 11:01 AM on August 3, 2011


Bond's raison d'etre was to defend and preserve Western Civilization. Now that that's no longer fashionable, I'd prefer to see the character retired.

It's still quite fashionable, actually. It's just that who we want to see "defending Western Civilization" has switched up. Daniel Craig's Bond is far more similar to Jack Bauer or Jason Bourne (who of course goes rogue, but his character's original purpose was fundamentally the same) than to Brosnan's Bond. Sophisticated, clean-shaven and witty is somewhat out, we've got a darker-tinted, blue-collar and tough rather than clever model now.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:02 AM on August 3, 2011


I seriously doubt anyone leaving these comments has been reading Ulimate titles, otherwise I guess they just weren't paying attention to Nick Fury's remaining as a black man.

The Ultimates is a cool imprint. It's about the only thing worth reading in Marvel - and precisely for this kind of thing. The continuity expectations enforced by the fan base and the industry as well as the huge value of these properties has almost guaranteed droughts of interesting stories. In the Ultimate universe, though, at least early on, writers could play in the sandbox and tell stories that weren't dragged down by the baggage of a characters past, industry standards or cost benefit analysis.

I love Parker, and mainly ultimate Parker. I grew up with Peter already out of high school and in NYC as a young adult, and so a lot of the Spiderman as adolescence component was gone, o barely clinging on (pun!). So when I heard he would die, I was genuinely sad. But Bendis has been someone who created some real magic there with his take, and I am excited to see a new story in Spidey, particularly more young Spidey. The loneliness Spidey feels in NYC as an outsider hero - held in suspicious by other big name heroes or the Bugle - is a perfect mirror of Parkers own loneliness at school, socially, as well as the guilt he cannot shake over Bens death. That is key to the character - far more than his skin color. Those are generically human feelings too. It will be interesting to see Miles' story unfold - not just the origin of his powers but more importantly of his felt-sense of responsibility to serve and protect.
posted by scunning at 11:05 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


To my mind the ideal in hitting that continuity/no-continuity sweet spot happened in Marvel Adventures Avengers a couple years back.

Marvel Adventures also brought us the most awesome thing Marvel Comics has done in years. Turning the Avengers into MODOKs.
posted by straight at 11:16 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dispute that, but only because Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four had Reed Richards fighting the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android with super-toasters.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:23 AM on August 3, 2011


No, this is the best moment in the Marvel Adventures line. Especially since it results in a Galactus vs. Avengers baseball match.
posted by bettafish at 11:29 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, bettafish, that is hilarious.
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on August 3, 2011


I wish I could say that this is a genuinely gutsy and innovative move on Marvel's part, but it's not. They killed off the previous Ultimate version of Spider-Man, which was a better-written version of the character than the "main" version of Peter Parker has been in years, apparently so that there would be only One True Spider-Man (in the same sort of obsessive-compulsive tidying-up impulse that led DC to Crisis on Infinite Earths about a quarter of a century ago, which ended up creating more continuity problems than it solved), and similarly let Spider-Girl, another attempt at updating and refreshing the character (she's the daughter of a middle-aged and semi-retired Peter Parker), die of neglect while promoting an alternate Spider-Girl that has never caught on. All this while trying to regress the mainstream Peter Parker to an earlier, pre-marriage state, which they explained by having him make a deal with the devil so that the marriage never existed (no, really).

So... they're letting someone else wear another version of the costume, while inhabiting a continuity that's been pretty much a complete mess since Ultimatum, so there's not much risk at this stage. Let's say that the new Ultimate Spidey is successful enough that it might conceivably benefit from some extra promotion. Do you think that the current powers that be at Marvel--who have spent the bulk of their careers maintaining and promoting characters that were created over four decades ago--would be willing to take that risk? The record there and at DC--which tried to replace some of its legacy characters with new versions, some of which (like the Atom and Blue Beetle) were non-white versions, and ended up reverting to the Silver Age characters--isn't encouraging.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:02 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jenny Swensen probably meant nothing to you at the time, if you were around and reading monthly comics in 1986

I had a total flashback moment when I saw that picture of Spitfire #1. I confess I hadn't thought about it in ages (Star Brand was my New Universe title of choice), but yeah - Jenny Swensen meant something to me, too.
posted by nickmark at 12:37 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The USA Today comments sound like Daily Bugle headlines. It's sort of fitting in a way.
posted by stavrogin at 1:02 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was Pavitr Prabhaka, as well, but I think he's non-canonical.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:06 PM on August 3, 2011


As a while male comic book fan the only thing that I care about is that Morales is as much of a smart-ass as Parker.
posted by Loto at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could someone sum up what the "complete mess" the Ultimate universe problem is that people keep mentioning? What's the issue? (I'm familiar with like the main universe and not at all with this one).
posted by neuromodulator at 1:51 PM on August 3, 2011


Well that's it, I can no longer relate to a wall-crawling web-slinger!
posted by mazola at 1:53 PM on August 3, 2011


Could someone sum up what the "complete mess" the Ultimate universe problem is that people keep mentioning?

This write-up from ComicsAlliance should catch you up.
posted by trunk muffins at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2011


The USA Today comments sound like Daily Bugle headlines. It's sort of fitting in a way.

They don't at all. Jameson was always staunchly anti-racist; he's a guy who had a black man running his paper in the 60s. His hatred for Spider-man stems largely from his experience with racists. He'd be the first to denounce comments like those.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:04 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


His hatred for Spider-man stems largely from his experience with racists.

Wait up... he thinks Spider-Man is in the Spider-Klan?
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2011


From the story that trunk muffins linked, complaining about the oversexualized drawing in the Ultimatum series (I guess)

only way Carol Danvers' breasts make sense is if she's later revealed to be Half-Kree/Half -Beach Ball.

That's good stuff.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:14 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


trunk muffins: "This write-up from ComicsAlliance should catch you up."

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't graphic cannibalism. That's crazy.
posted by brundlefly at 2:17 PM on August 3, 2011


I liked the description of women as having spines shaped like parentheses, also - although it's worth noting that Finch's art is not actually all that egregious, whereas Loeb's script really was.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The cannibalism doesn't bother me by itself, but I do find it fairly disturbing that the artist tried to still make Wasp look sexy while being devoured. That aspect is fucking gross.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:23 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ultimate Marvel had some real strengths and weaknesses going for it when it first started, namely Bendis and Millar as well as a simplified continuity. I think Bendis has strengths and weakness as a writer. He's been doing good on USM when the core Spiderman books have been awful for ages (clone sage, OMD, etc) but I think his plotting on the Avengers books has been lazy and fairly boring. Of course Avengers titles sell really well compared to the morass comics have been in so Bendis gets special treatment from Quesada who despite being a hack as EiC has been very smart to hitch his ride to the flavor of the month.

I'm not a big fan of Millar, he seems to be trying to do trying to hard to be edgy and loud and frankly 90s iron age nostalgia seems out of place. That being said I actually thought that the Millar and Hitch run on Ultimates was pretty decent. Sure Ultimate Captain America was an asshole and Millar took an old Pym storyline (that he's never ever lived down) and turned it up to 11 but it was a gorgeous book and it seemed to resonate with the zeitgeist of the Bush Administration.

Ultimate X-men is pretty much garbage, it's only moderately less confusing for readers than 616 X-men.

Unfortunately at some point in time Quesada switches Jeph Loeb to the titles. Jeph Loeb has done some good stuff in the past and his titles tend to sell pretty well to this day but oh my god he's gotten completely horribad in recent years.

Some people attribute that to the death of his son, personally I don't know, but it does seem apparent that he's basically pumping out the sort of power fantasy (ultraviolence and hypersexualized characters) that got the iron age so reviled. His run on the Ultimate Marvel titles and his truly godawful Red Hulk series in 616 have been atrocious on a level similar to Miller's fucktarded Allstar Batman and Robin run.

Ultimatum was a particularly egregious example but Loeb has been awful in some of the other titles as well despite being given good artists. In a sense what they've done with the Ultimate Marvel continuity crystalizes my dislike for current Marvel editorial policy nearly as much as OMD seems to have invoked the hatred of Spiderman fans for Quesada.
posted by vuron at 2:27 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait up... he thinks Spider-Man is in the Spider-Klan?

I dunno, maybe J.J. - not knowing who Spidey is - has something in common with Reginald D. Hunter on Batman*.


* Although that argument doesn't really apply, since Spidey isn't a multi-millionaire playboy type. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to post that Hunter clip because I think it's fucking genius.
posted by fight or flight at 2:30 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait up... he thinks Spider-Man is in the Spider-Klan?

Ha. I can't recall the issue, but Robbie once explained that Jameson's hatred for masked people came from his early days as an investigative reporter doing a lot of work on civil rights stories. He did many stories involving the KKK, and saw how many of its members were often respectable members of society, and so came to feel that those who wear masks have something to hide.

"Stems largely" might have been a poor choice of words. Jameson's dislike for Spider-man has a number of causes (jealousy, dislike for masked "superheroes" taking the glory from real everyday heroes like cops/nurses, the fact that his first wife was killed by a masked mugger, etc), but his experience with the KKK is a part of it.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:04 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Local radio teaballpartybagsucking jock has already devised a new theme song for the new comic book character. Tries to rhyme "Morales" with "Nogales" and asks from where new Spidey will shoot his webs.

If there's anything in this universe that needs a Crisis-level reboot, it's the amplitude modulated portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Christ.
posted by PapaLobo at 3:30 PM on August 3, 2011


I haven't read a Spider-Man comic in about 20 years, so I've really got no clue about the continuity of Ultimate Spider-Man or any of the other stuff. My reaction to this new Spider-Man is pretty much, "enh, I don't read it anymore, what do I care?"

But on this little derail about Bond I must chime in:

Rather than casting about for a different Bond I'd suggest a movie told from the perspective of Felix Leiter. Leiter was played by Jeffrey Wright in the Daniel Craig flicks, and I'm sure he'd be great for this, so imagine a movie in which Felix is this awesome, highly capable, deadly CIA agent, but he has to spend huge chunks of his time cleaning up after some entitled, sloppy, pain-in-the-ass, British guy from MI-6. It would be hilarious. You could call it "The Leiter Side of Bond"
posted by wabbittwax at 3:40 PM on August 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


I haven't followed comics in a long time but Spider-Man was my hero growing up. He was 'It gets better' for awkward geeks. If he can broaden his appeal and inspire more people that's awesome.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:00 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


And here's Glenn Beck's take on it... with responses from people from Marvel:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/08/03/glenn-beck-says-michelle-obama-responsible-for-new-spider-man-bendis-quesada-axel-alonso-respond/

Is this the time when we can finally strap him down and thorazine him?
posted by mephron at 4:28 PM on August 3, 2011


I think that if comparing murdered teenagers at a summer camp to the Hitler Youth didn't do it, Ultimate Spider-Man hasn't got a chance.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2011


On a happier note, Axel Alonso's tweet reminded me of Donald Glover's glorious, quixotic, briefly oddly credible campaign for a Spider-Man audition.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:48 PM on August 3, 2011


So I was looking for something I had read somewhere once about people being a bit up in arms about Daniel Craig being the first blonde 007. I didn't find that (maybe I'm misremembering it), but did find this, which I think is the Bond reinvention that we've all been waiting for.
posted by HeroZero at 5:04 PM on August 3, 2011


Was there this much controversy about uber-white guy Nick Fury turning into Samuel L Jackson (and that extending to the movies)?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:32 PM on August 3, 2011


"Especially since it results in a Galactus vs. Avengers baseball match."

What is this, Marvel Twilight?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:11 PM on August 3, 2011


Dude, Mexican James Bond.

Trejo, Danny Trejo.

/Dunh-dunh DUNH.
posted by codswallop at 6:19 PM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Was there this much controversy about uber-white guy Nick Fury turning into Samuel L Jackson (and that extending to the movies)?

No--in fact, Jackson, a long-time comics fan, almost immediately became interested in any movie project that might be spun out of it, and there was never any real question of anyone else taking the role; Mark Millar can take credit for reviving interest in a moribund comics character, even though Bendis and Garth Ennis had tried to revive Fury themselves in other titles. (Of course, Millar being Millar, he then had to overdo it with Wanted by basing two of the main characters visually on Eminem and Halle Berry, neither of whom signed on for the movie.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:30 PM on August 3, 2011


Wait, there's an Ultimate universe outside Ultimate Spider-Man and Warren Ellis' sublime work on Ultimate Fantastic Four? And it sucks?

Good thing it doesn't exist then.

navigating BIG EVENTS with this attitude is both confusing and rewarding
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:28 AM on August 4, 2011


Also, nobody really cares about Nick Fury - there's a reason why the Nick Fury film starred David Hasselhoff, after all. If Spider-Man/Wolverine and Batman/Superman are tier 1 for their respective franchises in terms of movie power (a combination of name recognition and genuine interest), and Green Lantern and Thor/the Fantastic Four are tier 2, Fury is definitely Tier 3.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:20 AM on August 4, 2011


Stuff like this really does matter. I watched United States of Tara, despite being underwhelmed by it, just because it had a gay character who was not evil or dead. I'd just watched all seven seasons of Monk, a show set in San Fransisco that had exactly zero gay characters, a show that had one character come out as gay, only to shoot himself in the head about 20 minutes later, the only gay character in Downton abby was a complete and utter ass. I love No Heroics, but the gay character in that was pretty damn evil. Even Modern Family. Every character, including the kids, had a b-plot about thier sex lives/libido, all except the gay couple (only seen season one). And that's now, today. What did we have before? Jodie from Soap? I'm sorry if it takes roles from straight actors (oh wait, all of those characters were played by straight actors?), but these things do really make a difference.
posted by Garm at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2011


I love No Heroics, but the gay character in that was pretty damn evil.

But also awesome.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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