This week Marvel Comics unveiled a new Spider-Man, a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales. He succeeds Peter Parker in the Marvel “Ultimate” line, who was killed off in June. “What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st Century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity,” says Marvel’s editor in chief, Axel Alonso. “We think that readers will fall in love with Miles Morales the same way they fell in love with Peter Parker.” Some reports say that Miles will eventually be revealed to be gay.
It is hard to say why or when comic books transformed from being harmless entertainment to vehicles for the multicultural education of America’s youth. Ultimately Marvel Comics is a business, and sales will tell whether this new move is a success. But in the spirit of inclusion, here are some suggestions for reimaging other established comic book titles to reflect 21st Century values:
Muslim Thor: The Norse thunder god converts to Islam in solidarity with the victims of the Norwegian terror attacks. He then uses his mighty hammer to begin dismantling Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
Super-abled Man: An unfortunate kryptonite encounter puts Superman in a wheelchair for good. He cannot walk or fly, but uses his remaining super powers to pursue peace and justice like he always had, plus helps enforce ADA compliance.
Hispanic Archie: Pretty much the same comic, just with a Latin flair. And Jughead gives up eating so many hamburgers to comply with First Lady Michelle Obama’s new youth dietary guidelines.
Aquaman, EPA: Aquaman realizes that he would have greater super powers as a meddling bureaucrat than as King of Atlantis. He joins the EPA in efforts to save the world’s oceans, taking sworn testimony from sea creatures on the devastating effects of pollution and global warming.
Mister United Nations: Captain America is both too nationalistic and too militaristic, so the superhero trades in his rank, his shield and his red, white and blue uniform for a pale blue suit. He travels the world seeking to reason with warmongers, and afterwards condemns them for failing to listen to him.
The Incredible Transgender Hulk: The Hulk realizes that his rage issues are rooted in feelings that he would be more comfortable as a She-Hulk. A clearly frustrated Dr. Bruce Banner said, “I never asked for this nightmare to begin with. I wish a super villain would just end it all.”