Get your waders on, it’s time to step in the knee-jerk muck.

Marvel Comics recently announced that the Ultimate universe Spider-Man will be a working class nerd of black and Latino ethnic heritage. Miles Morales replaces Peter Parker, whom the Green Goblin killed.

So far the only break from tradition here is the ethnic heritage. Everything else carries on. Spidey is a nerd. He lives in a working class neighborhood in New York City. His name alliterates. He will probably be fighting the Green Goblin, once GG finds out that there is a new web-slinger in town. I hope that a new character will bring on new enemies, but it’s not as if Peter Parker took his rogue’s gallery with him to the grave. From a writer’s POV, it would be foolish to not exploit established bad guys who are well defined, bring instantly recognizable menace, and are no doubt fun to play with, creatively speaking.

Judging from common tater reaction to this story, Marvel will need all the continuity it can get. Breaking with the habit of casting white guys as superheroes is enough to twist the panties of whiny whiteys everywhere. Your laundry list of predictable reactions:

“Political correctness gone absolutely bonkers.”

“I am really getting tired of all of the racial stuff.”

“Captain America could become anti Afghanistan war, turn neutral and rebrand himself as Captain Switzerland.”

“And while we are at it, lets turn snow white to snow latino. LOL :D”

“Do we still need to ram this ethnic diversity banter down our necks???”

“This is ridiculous! They probably killed him off to make him mixed-race. Who are they trying to please here?”

And so on. To be clear, there are many more comments arguing that diversity is good; the Marvel Universe is actually several dimensions to avoid continuity problems while marketing to different demographic profiles; that Peter Parker lives on in many of these dimensions, not to mention comic strip, Broadway and cinema incarnations. In fact, Parker is so iconic, there is no chance ever that he will be cast aside, any more than Bruce Wayne will ever stop being Bat-Man. Sure, they’re both ordinary mortals who dress up as critters to fight crime out of a mix of vengeance and duty; other obsessive psychotics could take their place when old age or untimely demise render them incapable of putting on the suit. But Parker, Wayne, et al. are the originators, the characters who define their superhero alter-egos, they are integral to the origin story. No discarding that.

All of which means white guys should shut up and chill out. No need to fear. Yet go to any news site featuring this story and the reactions are always the same. So some fair play turn-about: if making one incarnation of Spider-Man a mixed-ethnic character is a sign of PC Armageddon, then surely the heated knee-jerking off from white guys reflects the pathological insecurities that inform the teabagger assault on racial equality programs, social services, public employees, undocumented migrant workers (in racist parlance, “illegals”), public education and libraries, a mosque in your neighborhood, and the occasional census report documenting a higher mix of ethnicity in the country.

Obviously one Spidey out of multiple variations of the character not being a white dude is at the front lines of a coming race war. He’s probably a Kenyan Muslim Socialist!

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