by Tyler Hoover
To start, I am an avid Spider-Man cosplayer. It’s quite amazing how the initial declaration of Spidey joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought such hope and joy to Marvel fans everywhere. But little did I know what kind of hate brewing storm was soon to erupt from the fandom. Back in 2011when the casting for “The Amazing Spider-Man” began there were rumors set that an African-American actor Donald Glover would potentially play the role of Peter Parker. That news exploded the internet. He had to deal with numerous hate comments and threats from many in the comic community. And today things are no different. With any mention of Peter being portrayed by any ethnicity outside of white it’s caused yet another concern that shouldn’t be happening in 2015. And with all the current Spider-Man race casting issues and Marvel Cinematic Universe anger I just wanted to share this bit to hopefully give closed minded people Spidey “fans” a new perspective on things.
Growing up I was a nerdy somewhat anti social biracial(white & black) kid that admired Peter Parker greatly. He spoke volumes and gave me someone I could relate to. I never saw him as a “white” guy or at least saw that as something that defined him. I saw myself in his character and I’m sure many of us Spidey fans felt the same way. I couldn’t of cared less if he was portrayed Native American or Middle Eastern. The symbol he represents is what’s important and those caught up in him “needing to stay white” for the new films aren’t seeing the whole picture. Even if he is still portrayed white I wouldn’t care but just the fact that others are against him being anything but reflects such a negative stigma that honestly sickens me.
Many could complain and say “well if Black Panther or Storm were changed in race people would feel the same way” and to that remark I would say that the difference is those characters have their race and background as a main factor towards their origin so of course changing that could make an issue. Whereas Peter had nothing about his life or upbringing that is concrete in needing to have him portrayed solely as white. Peter was just a nerdy kid from Queens NY who lived went to high school and lived with his aunt and uncle. It’s ignorant to believe only one group of people could have that kind of upbringing especially in a melting pot of culture like New York.
With all that said If you get nothing else from this post I hope you at least understand perspectives of different people other than your own. I’d like to one day be able to take my mask off at conventions and not have to deal with even just one person looking disgusted or flat out call me “Miles Morales” just because I’m a light skinned guy in a Spider-Man suit. And I’m not the only one there are numerous cosplayers who deal with the same ignorant issues. Hopefully the casting of Peter in the MCU this time could bring about some change in our fandom at least since the world would have a much harder time trying to adjust.