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My Bigot-Sense is Tingling

Marvel Comics has revealed the identity of the new Ultimate Spider-Man: a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales.

For those of you who believe racism is dead, or that the geek community is somehow accepting and welcoming and open to all…

Larry Doherty of Larry’s Comics responded with the following:

You can see more of Larry’s Tweets and comments at http://graphicpolicy.com/2011/08/01/the-comicmarket-problem/ if you’re feeling masochistic. But don’t worry. Despite his “nigga” Tweet and other comments, Larry assures us that he’s not racist, and these were simply good-natured jokes. (Why can’t you people take a joke?)

Bleeding Cool News rounded up some of the comments on the USA Today article about the new Spider-Man. Please keep in mind that these are comments that weren’t removed for being too offensive. Here are a few:

That’s just dangerous. With spider powers, just think how much stuff he could steal, if he was not so lazy.

What will he say when he runs into a criminal? “Sup Foo? Dis is MY ‘hood!”

Shame on Marvel Comics! This is not diversity; this is a disgrace! Spiderman was Peter Parker, and Peter Parker was white. Create a new character if you want to prove that Marvel Comics is “diverse”. Minorities are typically less than 18% of the population, but they seem to get nearly 100% of the history. Why should white children not have a comic book hero that they can identify with?

That’s right, Marvel comics! Where are all the white heroes? Shame on you for discriminating against us poor, underrepresented white people.

Though I admit I found, “I want to see his birth certificate” amusing.

Click here to read more, if you can stomach it.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated comments. There’s much more out there along similar lines.

Don’t tell me racism is dead. Don’t tell me people are overreacting, or that this shit is just “good-natured joking.” Don’t tell me how the geek community is so much more accepting.

And circling back to Larry’s Comics, does anyone have any recommendations for comics retailers that don’t encourage racism and general douchebaggery?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Comments

( 155 comments — Leave a comment )
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snapes_angel
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
It's all show business. Smoke and mirrors. They put up the idiot comments because it's the fan vase; even if the "fan base" doesn't appear to be able to say anything constructive, or valid. And if the responses are moderated, I sure as heck don't want to see the ones they cut for sheer offensiveness!
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Didn't get a great night's sleep last night, and brain isn't fully awake yet. Can you clarify what you mean by it all being show business and smoke & mirrors?
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beccastareyes
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, lordie. I don't really have a coherent response to this.

Though it is good to see Marvel considering 'why do all of our iconic heroes have to be white guys?' I mean, Spiderman is pretty much 'supposed' to be a geeky guy who suddenly gets cool powers and decides to do something with them. His backstory and powers don't strike me as being race/ethnicity specific. Hell, not even gender specific besides the name.

(Also, given how many reboots Marvel does, I don't think you can argue they have sacred cows that cannot be altered. What backstory is Wolverine on now?)
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC)
It took me several drafts to get anything approaching coherence...

"Also, given how many reboots Marvel does, I don't think you can argue they have sacred cows that cannot be altered."

::Grin::
(no subject) - dichroic - Aug. 3rd, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
shashalnikya
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Racism, sexism, homophobia: you name it, American geek culture has a major problem dealing with it. The relative anonymity of the internet makes it worse: sites like Reddit are just packed full of white male privilege.

And then they turn around and wonder, every once in a while, why they aren't more women or minorities into gaming, comic books, etc.
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's obviously because women and minorities just don't like gaming and comics. That's why there are no female or minority fans in fandom, right?

::Headdesk::
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silk_noir
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
My brain is stuck on "100% of the history."
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
Your brain lasted longer than mine did. Mine broke before I made it through the Larry's Comics crap.
funwithrage
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
What the actual fuck?

I mean, I can actually respond to that third comment:

1. Yeah, "Spiderman is Peter Parker". Like Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, except when he's Kyle Rayner or Jon Stewart. Like Batman is Bruce Wayne except when he's that kid in the TV show. Superheroes have a pretty well-established history of changing who's behind the mask.

2. Indeed, pity the white kids who are only left with...Superman, Supergirl, Batman, Robin, Wolverine, Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man, Jean Gray, Rogue, the Wasp, Captain America, seventy-five percent of the human Green Lanterns, Wonder Woman, Professor X...yeah. (I will also note that only four of those are women and only one has any sort of disability, unless you count Wolverine's unfortunate sideburns, but that's another can of worms*.)

*Except: why do the only human women on the good side of the Lantern spectrum get stuck with the love rings? Ew?
beccastareyes
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
1. Terry Jones.

And how many Robins have we had now? Tim, Stephanie, Dick, Jason...
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shveta_thakrar
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised, but it still breaks my heart.

I'm not even sure what to say to this: "Minorities are typically less than 18% of the population, but they seem to get nearly 100% of the history." Uhhh?

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

Because most other comic book characters aren't white? And because white children can't be expected to see brown people as people?

*facepalm*
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Women and non-white people are supposed to learn to identify with the white male heroes, don'cha know?

Expecting white men to identify with women or non-white character? That's just madness!
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jaguarx13
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
There have been similar reactions to DC's decision to make the French Batman a muslim immigrant.
barbarienne
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Knowing nothing at all about the Batman comic books...

Are you making a very elaborate (and clever) joke, or is there really a French Batman?
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sylvanstargazer
Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Make the joke about a white person. Is it just a non-sequeter? Then it's racist.

This isn't rocket science.


Marvel has already has Isaiah Bradley, so it's not like this move is out of character for them. It makes a lot of sense for the character and after breaking up The Marriage they needed to do a real revamp, lest the character be stuck as a perpetual man-boy.

(Side note: I'm still pissed at Glee for the whole "Mercedes is lazy" thing. Sometimes modern racism, even in fandom, just isn't subtle.)
cathschaffstump
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
For reference, theferrett has a post on this as well that combines not only the racism angle, but also generally what happens to recast superheroes. The history of comics bears this out.

http://theferrett.livejournal.com/1646101.html

I'm going to link him here in the comments as well, and I'll probably have some words about this today myself.

Cath
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that link. I'm not a huge comics fan, so I wasn't aware of that pattern, but Ferrett's pre-rage makes sense...
orlacarey
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
First I should say I don't follow comics so I have no idea what is going on in the world of Marvel. But I have a bigger problem with the idea that Spiderman isn't Peter Parker than I do with him being a minority.
jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
funwithrage comments on this up above.

The background: "Revealed in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Fallout Issue 4, out Wednesday, the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe is a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales. He takes over the gig held by Peter Parker, who was killed in Ultimate Spider-Man Issue 160 in June."
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re Spiderman isn't Peter Parker - biomekanic - Aug. 3rd, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
harmfulguy
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
If you're not racist, you generally don't have to explain that to people.
sparkymonster
Aug. 3rd, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
A bazillion points to you
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jimhines
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to pin my faith on the folks pointing to these comments and asking "WTF is wrong with you people???"
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nyxalinth
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
This really sucks! My first thought on reading of a half black, half hispanic Spiderman was "Hey, that's really cool! That will be awesome." The other bs never came to mind for me.

You might check into Mile High Comics:

http://www.milehighcomics.com/
cscottd
Aug. 4th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
I used to buy my comics from "Mile High Comics"... although admittedly, that was quite a few years ago.
seanan_mcguire
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
If you're looking for a comic retailer who's not an asshole, bigot, or other bad bit of alphabet, I highly recommend Flying Colors and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California. The owner, Joe Fields, was the creator of Free Comic Book Day. His wife is there all the time. The store is clean, well-lit, friendly, and was among the first to practice active gender and racial parity in hiring (at least in Northern California).

And yes, they will ship.
megabitch
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
1. I hate when they change "my" superheroes for any reason. Don't break the back story - if you need new heroes, create new heroes, don't screw with the old ones.

2. I don't understand the KFC comment. Or why it's racist. I like KFC and, last time I looked, I was still a middle-aged, English, white female. Sokeone please explain it to me? Is it an American thing?
megabitch
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
*someone (dammit, I need new fingers)
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