Throughout film history, superheroes have been white and male. But after the success of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, all that is changing – and fast
‘Really? We now have a half-black, half-Hispanic, gay Spider-Man?” This was the reaction of conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck in 2011, upon learning that Marvel was introducing a new Spider-Man named Miles Morales, who was not white. Morales wasn’t gay, it turned out, but still, the move was seen by some critics as a publicity stunt, or pandering to political correctness. Beck blamed the Obamas, which was actually not far off the mark. The new Spider-Man represented “the diversity, in background and experience, of the 21st century”, explained the Marvel editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso, including its “president of mixed heritage”. But Beck also linked the news to a speech by Michelle Obama in which she declared that Americans were “gonna have to change their traditions”, implying that to mess with the US’s history of white, male superheroism was to undermine its very foundations.
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