Recently, there has been one of those things called a meme, basically a viral idea, that has attacked the internet with force. This one concerns Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. With Tobey Maguire gone, the titular (hah) role is open to just about anybody, and a group of folks on Facebook had the bright idea of electing one Donald Glover to play the role of Spider-Man. Glover, a veteran writer of NBC’s 30 Rock, a star of NBC’s Community, as well as a founding member of the wildly successful underground comedy team known as DERRICK, would be perfect for the role. He is a young, skinny, athletic looking, comedian, all key qualities to the Spider-Man character. These traits fit right in with the apparent goal of the re-boot, which is to take Peter Parker back to his high school days, and have the series connect more with a teenage audience. As you might have guessed, Donald is a black man, which is a detail that has raised the ire of certain comic book purists, now desperately fighting for their opinion that Spider-Man should remain white, without trying to appear racist. Here is my glorious opinion on the matter. You “purists” are wrong on every count. Lets start by listing them one by one, and I’ll tackle all the complaints after.
1. Peter Parker has always been portrayed as a poor adopted white boy from Queens.
Wait…is that it? That’s the only complaint? Hmm…short list…Ok, well, this will be easier then I thought (Suit up for some sarcasm, Spidey fans)
Hm, poor adopted boy from New York City…does that only happen to white people? Aren’t young low income black males with no parents only adopted by rich old white men? (RIP GC) And, in all seriousness, have you ever heard of a young black boy ever being raised by his aunt or uncle? That’s just illogical! And isn’t Peter Parker distrusted by his old-fashioned Newspaper editor? You know, the one with the Hitler mustache? Why would such a tyrannical cheapskate of a boss ever distrust a quippy young black dude? And what about that whole plot-line where Spider-Man is treated as a menace, hunted by the ignorant police force because they don’t realize he’s a good guy? Black people cannot relate to that! And Peter Parker’s a brilliant young science major! Black people don’t go to college….OK ENOUGH!!! ENOUGH RACIST SARCASM! You all know the stereotypes, and you SHOULD know they are wrong, I pray you do.
I for one hope that they cast Donald Glover for Spider-Man. I think its a great idea and sends a great message to young fans who LOVE Spider-Man. I also think it makes for a more interesting movie. Glover is a brilliant young actor, and as I tried to elucidate above, there is nothing about the character of Parker/Spider-Man that has anything to do with being a white boy. And one last note to the people who don’t want to see the original comic books changed. First of all, if you haven’t noticed, the movie studios have already changed every comic book hero they put on the screen in significant ways. Spider-Man has organic webs, Wolverine is too tall, Dr. Doom is not a king, Superman can lift islands of Kyrptonite, Storm’s hair is all messed up! The list goes on forever. The point is, don’t look to the movies to uphold the tradition of comic book storytelling, because that’s the last place you’ll find it. Lastly, I can’t imagine one non-racist person not going to see Spider-Man because Peter Parker is black. If anything, it’ll keep racists out of the movie theater, and that’s fine by me.
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