Miles Morales: The True Story of the Spider-Verse Star | NowThis Nerd

Hi everyone, I’m Versha, and for a lot of people, ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ is going to be their first introduction to the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales Since 2011, he’s taken the superhero world by storm, but it didn’t happen overnight

We’re not going to get into Miles’ in-canon origin here, since we already covered that in our ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Spider-Verse’ video Instead, we’re going to talk about how the decision to create a Spider-Man of color went down behind the scenes, and how Miles rose through the ranks to become one of comics’ most important new characters This is How Miles Morales Hit it Big Let’s start with How He Came to Be The idea of a Black Spider-Man isn’t anything new, the character’s full-cover costume has always allowed fans to fantasize about what color his skin could be underneath, A concept that made it into James Cameron’s unproduced 1991 ‘Spider-Man’ screenplay “In some neighborhoods,” he wrote, “Spider-Man is a local legend And everybody wants to claim him Black kids think he's Black Hispanic kids think he’s Hispanic Italian kids…” Well, you get the idea

One year later, in 1992, Marvel rolled out their ‘2099’ imprint, stories set in the distant future starring high-tech takes on our favorite characters, including the biracial Miguel O’Hara, a Spider-Man of Irish and Mexican descent Miguel is a valued member of the Spider-Verse to this day, but he never quite broke into the mainstream the way Miles has Let’s fast forward to 2008, a couple of months before the historic election of President Barack Obama Marvel’s Ultimate universe, originally created as a more contemporary and accessible alternative to their main canon, had gotten convoluted and stale, No, that's not true, don't even ask! What's new with you? so they decided to shake things up with a catastrophic crossover event called ‘Ultimatum’ At a planning meeting, the editors and writers were inspired by Obama’s candidacy

They were thrilled that America was about to elect its first African-American president, and thought it would be a good time to revisit one of their iconic characters and present a fresh new face under the mask Thanks, Obama! It didn’t work out then, but a few years later, another icon inspired them to take the plunge and make Miles a reality: Donald Glover In 2010, as Sony was searching for an actor to fill Tobey Maguire’s shoes in their ill-fated ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ reboot, a fan suggested Donald Glover for the role The actor wholeheartedly embraced the suggestion, wearing some unsubtle Spider-Man pajamas on an episode of ‘Community,’ and spawning the #donald4spiderman hashtag that was supported by everyone from Stan Lee, to Miles’ eventual co-creator Brian Michael Bendis Yes, I bring the heat, girl

Fire for fireman, baby I'm your hero, Donald for Spider-Man! Bendis, as the adopted father of two Black children, was already dreaming up a character to replace Ultimate Peter after his untimely death, one who would speak to his kids’ experience in a way the traditional Spidey never could Seeing Glover in the red and blue gave Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli that last bit of inspiration they needed, and in 2011, the two introduced the world to Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man Besides the color of his skin, Miles differed from his predecessor in a few key ways For one, he was younger, only 13 when he was bitten by a genetically modified spider, which gave him a few extra powers that Peter Parker lacked, namely, a bio-electric Venom Strike, When I say 'hey,' you say 'arrgh!' and some sneaky stealth camouflage You just poked me in my eye! This is incredible! Some kind of hide or flight thing! Also unlike Peter, Miles isn’t an orphan, at least not at first, His father, Jefferson Davis, and his mother, Rio Morales, are both alive and well at the start of Miles’ journey, as is his uncle Aaron, the superthief known as the Prowler who forces Miles to consider whether crime runs in his family Also, unlike the neurotic Peter Parker, Miles has friends

Like Ganke Lee, the guy in the chair who clearly inspired Peter’s pal Ned Leeds in ‘Homecoming’ What are you doing here? There's a dance Uhhh I'm Looking At porn Finally, Miles isn’t defined by personal tragedy, there’s no Uncle Ben incident that taught him about Power and Responsibility Beeder! Instead, it’s the death of Ultimate Peter, a dude he never met, that gives Miles the motivation to become a hero

But more than all these differences, Miles’ status as an Afro-Latino teen is what really sets him apart from Spider-Men past Papa! See you Friday! Okay mami, hasta luego! He doesn’t live in a fairytale version of Forest Hills, Queens, he’s been shaped by a realistic Brooklyn upbringing, and like so many children of color, Miles has experienced hate and discrimination as a result of his skin, both on the page and in the more reactive circles of angry comics fans But his existence is a breath of fresh air for the entire industry, and a beacon of hope for kids who are hungry to see themselves represented in the superhero canon Now, despite all the mainstream attention and awesome stories, including a couple of cool crossovers with Earth-616, Miles was always held back by his home Universe By 2015, Ultimate Comics were a lost cause

Sales were in the toilet, and Miles was pretty much single-handedly keeping the imprint alive But even his heroic efforts weren’t enough to save Earth-1610 The entire Ultimate line was cancelled, and the alternate dimension was destroyed in the calamity of Marvel’s ‘Secret Wars’ crossover Lucky for Miles, he befriended the omnipotent Molecule Man, who transported him, his family, and friends to the reconstructed main reality of Earth-616, where he currently operates as Spider-Man alongside Peter Parker Surviving the death of your entire universe should be enough to cement any superhero in the pop culture pantheon, but for a new character to really go mainstream, they need to make it Off the Page For such a young character, Miles hasn’t wasted any time making his mark outside of comics

He outfit appeared as alternate costumes in various video games, but his first true on-screen appearance was in, appropriately enough, the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ cartoon After a tiny cameo in a first-season episode, an alternate-dimension version of Miles joined Spidey’s Web Warriors in season 3, where he was codenamed Kid Arachnid, and voiced by none other than Donald Glover Don't worry I'll try to be the best Peter Parker Spider-Man I can be You don't have to be Peter Parker to be Spider-Man

Miles Morales is just fine Yes, the actor who helped inspire the character finally got to take a swing as Spidey, and while Marvel decided to go with Peter Parker in ‘Spider-Man Homecoming,’ Glover appeared as uncle Aaron Davis to keep hope for Miles in the MCU alive There’s even a deleted post-credits scene where he specifically mentions his nephew, Yeah, sorry Miles, I'm not gonna make it I'm just stuck but alas, it wasn’t meant to be

The same year, Miles appeared in the Disney XD ‘Spider-Man’ series, but unlike most media that portrays Peter as a much older, wiser webslinger, here, Miles is Peter’s classmate, who gains his own set of superpowers and keeps the streets safe as Spider-Kid Donald Glover didn’t reprise the role for the new series, in fact, he was replaced in ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ after one season by veteran voice actor Ogie Banks, That's right! It's your friendly neighborhood, uh Me! and in the 2017 series, Miles is voiced by Nadji Jeter, the same actor who plays him in the 2018 videogame

The PS4 ‘Spider-Man’ was Miles’ highest profile outing yet, showing how he and Peter met, and letting players step into Miles’ shoes at several points throughout the story By the end, gamers were ready for Miles to star in the sequel, Pretty weird, right?! Not that weird! and after ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ drops, they’re probably going to demand it The gorgeously animated new film is shining a light on the lesser-known Spider-People, but at the end of the day, it’s still Miles’ story, and through ‘Dope’ and ‘The Get Down’ actor Shameik Moore, the Ultimate Spider-Man has come to life in a vibrant vision that’s unlike any Spidey-film before it, and could be bigger than all of them combined Miles Morales means a lot of things to a lot of different people He’s a legacy superhero done right, one who lives up to the ideals set by his predecessor but maintains his own identity

Miles! Yeah uh, y-yeah! He’s also a forerunner of the new wave of increased representation in comics, letting fans from all walks of life finally feel seen and heard in the pages of their favorite books But first and foremost, Miles is an amazing character, a spectacular Spider-Man, and a hero we’ll all be looking up to for decades to come

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