Spider-Man just got a new alter ego, marking a change Marvel said would make "pop culture history," weeks after Peter Parker was killed off in one of the publisher's imprints.
Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager from New York, assumes the title and job of the web-slinging, crime-fighting superhero in the publisher's comic book "Ultimate Fallout" No. 4, which was released on Wednesday, August 3.
Parker, a Caucasian teenager who is also from New York, was killed by the superhero's arch-nemesis Green Goblin in an issue of "Ultimate Spider-Man" in June. The character of Spider-Man debuted in 1962.
"When the opportunity arose to create a new Spider-Man, we knew it had to be a character that represents the diversity - in background and experience - of the twenty-first century," Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said in a statement posted on Marvel's website on Tuesday.
"Miles is a character who not only follows in the tradition of relatable characters like Peter Parker, but also shows why he's a new, unique kind of Spider-Man - and worthy of that name," he added.
Spider-Man's original alter ego is still alive in other Marvel comic book franchises.
Marvel said in its Tuesday statement: "Pop culture history will be made tomorrow as ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #4 hits shelves and introduces readers to the all-new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man! That's right, for the first time ever, someone other than Peter Parker will be Spider-Man!"
The news comes more than a year after an online campaign was launched to get "Community" actor Donald Glover, who is black, an audition for the role of Spider-Man in the 2012 film "The Amazing Spider-Man." He encouraged his Twitter followers to spread word of the cause by using the hashtag "#donald4spiderman."
The part ultimately went to actor Andrew Garfield, who is Caucasian and who appeared in the 2010 movie "The Social Network."
"Spider-Man" writer Brian Michael Bendis had said before that a new hero would replace Parker. He added that his decision to make Spider-Man's new alter ego biracial was made before Glover's audition push went viral, the Associated Press said.
However, USA Today said Bendis is giving Glover "mucho credit," quoting him as saying that the actor "looked fantastic" in an episode of "Community" that showed him wearing Spider-Man pajamas.
"I saw him in the costume and thought, 'I would like to read that book,'" he told the newspaper. "So I was glad I was writing that book."
In 1992, Marvel debuted the futuristic character Spider-Man 2099. His alter ego was the geneticist Miguel O'Hara, a half-Hispanic, half-Irish man who possesses powers similar to the original superhero's. Most superheroes who have appeared on the big screen are Caucasian, including Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Daredevil and most of the X-Men. However, in the "Ultimate" comic book universe, Iron Man's alter ego is half-Hispanic.
Major black and Hispanic superheroes in comic books include Spider-Girl, Nick Fury and Echo from "The Avengers," DC Comics' Blue Beetle, The "Batman" villain Bane, the mutants Storm and Darwin from the "X-Men" series and Kyle Rayner and John Stewart, two of the Green Lanterns.