Marvel has decided to push the boundaries with their newest characters – the pattern of white man after white man with grand powers will break with the introduction of new heroes of other ethnic minorities and genders.
Spiderman, one of Marvel’s most famous characters, has transformed from Peter Parker to Miles Morales: another teenage boy bitten by a radioactive spider. Yet Morales is half-black and half-Hispanic, unlike Peter Parker who was full white. Although Morales has similar qualities of and faces the same struggles Peter did, this change was rejected by hardcore fans yet supported by those of different increased diversity.
As a quintessential Marvel man, Captain America sparked outrage when Marvel redesigned him as a black male, which was publicly announced on “The View”. The new Captain America, named Sam Wilson, differs greatly from the original Steve Rogers, and Marvel makes it very clear that although these two are the same persona, they are not the same people.
“He didn’t grow up in the 1930s; he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century,” said Paul Montgomery, writer for Marvel.com. “He’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community.”
Marvel took an archetypal American hero and transformed him into a modern-day person struggling in society as many others do themselves. Fans of Captain America expressed their disappointment towards the updated hero in the comments section of the announcement on Marvel’s official website.
Besides race and ethnicity, gender has also proved itself a prominent factor in the evolution of Marvel’s characters.
The Shield greatly correlates with Captain America as another American super-soldier clad in star-spangled attire. Yet The Shield is no longer going to be a “he”. Marvel announced the next edition of The Shield will be a woman, igniting hatred.
Widely known due to The Avengers and his own starring roles, Thor will also be transformed into a woman.
Marvel’s introduction of a more greatly diverse roster of characters appeals to the 21st Century audience, opening a door for minorities to feel invited rather than divided by their comic book character updates.