Brian Michael Bendis Talks Race, Sexism, and Ultimate Spider-Man

Seracen

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Sep 20, 2009
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I'm sorry, I am all for exploring new character ideas. As an asian male, I would prefer more mainstream heroes that spoke to my demographic (also, I am not Christian). However, comic book characters are supposed to transcend such consideration, they can be anything. However, despite all this, Peter Parker is still Spiderman. If they were trying for a more culturally sensitive character, they should have gone with Miguel O'Hara (Spidey 2099).

In all fairness, it shouldn't really be about this at all. After all, Nick Fury was handled perfectly. He's black, he's still Nick Fury. There was no need to say "David Hasselhoff-looking Fury died to make room for a new guy who looks like Samuel Jackson."

The reason Fury works is because he's a good character (even if heavily based off Jackson). That's all the writer's cared about, not his ethnicity. With respect, John Stewart (Green Lantern) was NOT originally a compelling character. However, after they actually bothered to write a storyline for him, Stewart became more interesting. Personally, I found Kyle Ranier more interesting than either him or Hal, but I digress...

Such cloying tactics to become "PC" come across as insincere. Write good characters, then make them culturally sensitive. Take Batwoman for example. Initially, I thought her sexual orientation was a marketing gimmick. Unfortunately, in not allowing the writers to let her marry her life partner, I have been proven correct.

Honestly, it's little different from a game developer trying to "widen the net" to "capture a broader audience," like turning Dead Space into CoD -bait. Again, I have nothing against becoming more culturally aware, but such characters must be handled with appropriate aplomb, intelligence, and heart.

PS: I find it odd that the new Fantastic Four movie are going with a black Johnny Storm, but not bothering to make Sue black. If it's supposed to be a mixed family, I suppose that's alright. However, the whole "adoptive siblings" thing seems similarly cloying to me...
 

OrokuSaki

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Nov 15, 2010
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Yeah, I actually quit the Ultimate universe after Peter Parker died. Mostly because Spider-Man was the only character in the ultimate universe worth caring about since virtually everyone else died in the Ultimatum crossover. And I was enjoying the series with Spider-Man and his wisecracking ultimate friends, then that series ended with a very abrupt and phoned-in death arc.

So I stopped reading, but out of curiosity I read the first couple of chapters of the new Ultimate Spider-Man in a Barnes & Noble, then immediately put it down and felt really good about my choice. Miles Morales had the exact same radioactive spider origin that Peter did, but because Peter had already existed it seemed stupid that ANOTHER kid got bitten by ANOTHER radioactive spider. And the "Great power comes with great responsibility" moment was this kid watching the actual Spider-Man die. This was after the bite, Miles Morales could have jumped in an saved him, but he didn't, he watched his "idol" murdered while he rested on his super-laurels.

Also, has anyone else noticed that the Ultimate Universe is now almost entirely minorities and women? I think I read that Steve Rogers is still alive, but other than that the only people that I'm sure still exist are Cloak, Dagger, Spider-Woman, and Sue Storm.
 

Dragonbums

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May 9, 2013
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Aethren said:
Am I the only one who's focusing way too much on that guy's package in the image? I swear I'm straight.
The lighting on his crotch while accurate did have some unintended consequences.
 

Dragonbums

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OrokuSaki said:
Also, has anyone else noticed that the Ultimate Universe is now almost entirely minorities and women? I think I read that Steve Rogers is still alive, but other than that the only people that I'm sure still exist are Cloak, Dagger, Spider-Woman, and Sue Storm.
It's not like the other universes and reboots aren't mainly filled with just white dudes. So I guess a solitary tear is shed for the loss of your one tiny slice of pie.
 

Dragonbums

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MeChaNiZ3D said:
Halyah said:
Isn't it that muslim character they're talking about? I heard one took up the Captain Marvel mantle or somesuch, but I could easily be mixing stuff up.
Yes, she is apparently being replaced by a Pakistani successor, and was originally sort of fused with Captain Marvel's DNA in an explosion or something and took up the mantle. But she's definitely a standalone character. I don't have that in-depth a knowledge of it, but you're right.

She didn't replace the original Ms. Marvel. The original one moved up in rank to Captain Marvel and the old title was looking for someone to fill her shoes.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Dragonbums said:
MeChaNiZ3D said:
Halyah said:
Isn't it that muslim character they're talking about? I heard one took up the Captain Marvel mantle or somesuch, but I could easily be mixing stuff up.
Yes, she is apparently being replaced by a Pakistani successor, and was originally sort of fused with Captain Marvel's DNA in an explosion or something and took up the mantle. But she's definitely a standalone character. I don't have that in-depth a knowledge of it, but you're right.

She didn't replace the original Ms. Marvel. The original one moved up in rank to Captain Marvel and the old title was looking for someone to fill her shoes.
Ah, that explains things. Thanks.
 

Belzera

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Apr 14, 2009
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Sigh, if you have to say "he would be a person of color" in your defense or reasoning for creating a legacy continuing character then in my eyes you have chosen to focus on something that should not matter for a good character. When Peter was killed off, it was a good series of events and the fallout comics afterwards I found enjoyable, however when they announced him I remember the artist saying something like "maybe some day a black or gay super hero would be considered normal" and that to me just made me believe they where focused on his race rather than his character and that just annoyed me, if they had just kept their lips closed and been secretive going something like this "The new spiderman is a younger teen called Miles who witnessed his final battle." I'd of been interested and I would of started reading and following the new Spiderman with interest. I will eventually pick up the new Ultimate spiderman books and hopefully I will read a good interesting character and have my initial annoyance proved wrong.
 

Baron_BJ

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Nov 13, 2009
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OrokuSaki said:
Yeah, I actually quit the Ultimate universe after Peter Parker died. Mostly because Spider-Man was the only character in the ultimate universe worth caring about since virtually everyone else died in the Ultimatum crossover. And I was enjoying the series with Spider-Man and his wisecracking ultimate friends, then that series ended with a very abrupt and phoned-in death arc.

So I stopped reading, but out of curiosity I read the first couple of chapters of the new Ultimate Spider-Man in a Barnes & Noble, then immediately put it down and felt really good about my choice. Miles Morales had the exact same radioactive spider origin that Peter did, but because Peter had already existed it seemed stupid that ANOTHER kid got bitten by ANOTHER radioactive spider. And the "Great power comes with great responsibility" moment was this kid watching the actual Spider-Man die. This was after the bite, Miles Morales could have jumped in an saved him, but he didn't, he watched his "idol" murdered while he rested on his super-laurels.

Also, has anyone else noticed that the Ultimate Universe is now almost entirely minorities and women? I think I read that Steve Rogers is still alive, but other than that the only people that I'm sure still exist are Cloak, Dagger, Spider-Woman, and Sue Storm.
Nope, Steve died back in March of this year, as did Thor. Bendis killed them.

There's a handful of white males left in the Ultimate Universe, but only Tony Stark (and arguably Doctor Doom, the solicits for the books say he'll be a permanent member of the Future Foundation team along with Tony, Sue and Falcon, but that remains to be seen) is actually a member of a team that has a book.

I've owned and read every Ultimate Marvel book that's come out since it started in 2000 and I'm actually enjoying things. Outside of Miles being created to add diversity (and I have been liking Miles) it never felt like they were trying to force the Universe to be centred on minorities/women; it feels like it occurred naturally and it feels like it was earned. Well, except for Ultimatum and Cataclysm where everyone proceeded to fucking die, those events were shit, but felt unrelated to this particular topic.