Marvel Comics runs two franchises: Its traditional Spider-Man,
Superman*, Captain America stuff and then its Ultimate Comics series.
Ultimate Comics advertises itself as an alternate reality version of its traditional publications but should really be seen as a reflection of contemporary cultural demographics.
Case in point: The New Ultimate Spider-Man.
In this alternative world, Peter Parker is dead and in his place comes Miles Morales, a black Latino kid from Queens, New York (which, of course, was also Parker’s stomping grounds).
“What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity,” Axel Alonso, Marvel Comics Editor in Chief, tells USA Today.
Unfortunately, what we’re also getting is a lot of hate. See, for example, Matthew Newton writing at Forbes:
Naturally, the news incited chatter across the Internet. Most reaction, however, has been pinned to a singular detail: Morales is a half-black and half-Latino character, not white like Peter Parker. Cue the media onslaught, and subsequent commenter bigotry. For example, Glenn Beck managed to connect news of the new Spider-Man to a quote from Michelle Obama where she said, “We’re gonna have to change our traditions.” And some of the readers over at USA Today appear to be holding an impromptu Klan meeting in the comments section.
If you waded through comment gutter at the links above and want to clean yourself off, check out Why the New Spider-Man Matters from DC Women Kicking Ass (h/t, Final Boss Form).
* Thanks to nslayton for pointing out that Superman is published by DC, not Marvel.