The world of Marvel is doing multicultural superheroes the right way.
Growing up in the 80s there was not many black actors to watch on television. As a kid I watched shows like A Team and Miami Vice and thought that BA Baracus ( Mr T) and Tubbs ( Philip Michael Thomas) were the coolest. I read comics at the time but as I loved the stories (Ghost Rider and Captain America were my favorite) there was no real characters at the time that I felt were like me. In fact, I wasn’t aware that there was multicultural superheroes until my cousin introduced me to Milestone Comics created by the great Dwayne McDuffie. Characters like ICON, Static and Rocket entertained me for hours at a time as I tried to get every issue I could from the comic line.
Unfortunately characters like these were few and far between. Where I lived in Miami there wasn’t any comic books shops a kid could go to. The only way I was able to get comics was either from my local drug store or from a Flea Market that came to Miami Beach twice a year that had comic book vendors. Usually these vendors had your usual Spider-man, X-men, etc. but what I would never see is a Black Panther, Luke Cage or any type of books like that.
Growing up I never thought anything of it. I never really got a grasp of how important it was to me until I saw Blade. At the time Wesley Snipes was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood at the time starring in a comic book movie. This was during the time when making a comic book movie was a huge risk to the huge failure of Batman and Robin. Nonetheless Blade for the time was an excellent comic book movie that showed me that if you make a good movie no matter the culture of the main character people will enjoy it.
Fast forward to today, I never thought I would see characters like the Falcon, War Machine and Black Panther on a movie screen. It amazes me how much thought and effort is given into not only bringing these characters to life but making them a part of pop culture today. This trend continues on marvel’s tv shows as well. One of the best examples of this is Marvel’s “Agents of Shield “. While Clark Gregg is the star of the series the show’s diversity is the standout. This is none the more evident than with Ming-Na Wen. The constant role on the show is not only as the show’s resident badass but someone who stands side by side with Coulson as an equal.
Diversity has also bleed into the comics as well as Marvel launched there All-New, All-Different lineup. This lineup preaches diversity without shoving down your throat.Kamala Khan,a Pakistani American with shape shifting abilities is the new Ms Marvel. Miles Morales, a half Hispanic, half Black a thirteen year old boy who took up the reigns of Spiderman after his world’s Spiderman was killed. Amadeus Cho, an Asian American who due to a freak accident became his own version of the Hulk. All of these characters were created and don’t take away from the originals. You like “Peter Parker”? There still is a comic for you. Now when I take my kids to a comic shop it’s a great feeling watching my son quickly find son a Miles Morales Spider-Man comic and my daughter ask for a Spider-Gwen and its in stock. For that I owe Marvel a thanks.