In Defense of the New Spider-Man: 10 Great Superheroes of Color

Last week, Marvel debuted a new biracial superhero in Ultimate Spider-Man — creators hoped the new half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man, Miles Morales, would reflect the diversity of modern society. While some (including your author) welcomed Marvel’s progressive adaptation to a changing market, many fans took to the internet to share their disdain. The eruption of fan backlash was disheartening and, at times, ugly.

Some ranted that Marvel was taking unnecessary steps towards being “politically correct,” while others complained that such a recognizable superhero shouldn’t be open to adjustments. The climax came when Glenn Beck joined the noise, somehow connecting the character to Michelle Obama. For our part, we think it’s important to point out that, while it can be slow to change, the comic-book world is becoming a more diverse place — Miles Morales isn’t the first non-Caucasian superhero and isn’t likely to be the last. To celebrate the Marvel Universe’s newest addition, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite superheroes of color.

Nick Fury (Ultimate)

Many comics fans attested that it wasn’t Spider-Man’s race that outraged them but Marvel’s audacious decision to revise such a major and beloved character. Yet this isn’t the first time the company has made this type of change — the whole purpose of the Ultimate Marvel imprint is to feature superheroes who have been updated and reinterpreted to accurately reflect today’s world. Miles Morales isn’t even the first Ultimate character who isn’t he same race as his mainstream counterpart. Although Nick Fury is traditionally depicted as a white super-spy with graying hair, the Ultimate Fury is a chiseled, bald black man based on Samuel L. Jackson’s likeness. A remarkable tactician, he has unrivaled hand-to-hand combat skills and, thanks to Super Soldier serum, he is equipped with inhuman strength.