Writer: David Michlinie Artist: Chris Marrinan Cover: Mark Bagley
Today’s installment of Weekend Coverage is a sentimental one. Every Sunday as a kid, my mother would walk to the corner store up the street from our apartment and get a newspaper and some coffee. I waited at the door, eagerly anticipating her return because I knew she was bringing back something special for me: a comic book. I’d been addicted to the concept of heroes all my little 8 year old life, but my actual addiction to comics started here with this issue of Amazing Spider Man.
There’s a bit of Issue #359 dedicated to Cletus Kasady, my least favorite villain of all time, causing a little ruckus in prison, but that’s not particularly important in this case. A vigilante named Cardiac has taken to the streets with a serious score to settle with the people he holds responsible for the death of his daughter. What caught my eye was the fact that Cardiac is black. This was my first real experience with a comic book character of color. And he wasn’t a stereotype. He wasn’t some pandering hero of the hood or some sitcom analog that says “Dynomite” or “Beans and cornbread” or whatever such stereotypes say. He was a doctor who’d done very well for himself but had been driven to rage by his discontent with the justice system and the people who thought themselves above the law. After seeing a brother throw down with Spider-Man. I never looked at that cover, beautifully drawn by industry vet Mark Bagley, the same way again. This was my first engagement with the concept of representation. From the moment I opened that book and saw a primary character that looked like me, I immediately imposed myself onto that cover from then on. I could do battle with Spider-Man anytime I wanted. I think about that and now I look at the state of things now. We’ve had a black Captain America, a black Spider-Man and a black Superman in my time and I wouldn’t have known how to be as excited as I was about that if I had laid eyes on this cover. Or if my mom didn’t like coffee so much.