Superheroes

by Noah Um, age 12
Superheroes

“Superheroes are getting so much more diverse. Before comics went through changes, most of the superheroes were all white males. Then it changed to white females, and then all the slightest changes of diversity brought us to our current diverse comic world.”

Superheroes are getting so much more diverse. Before comics went through changes, most of the superheroes were all white males. Then it changed to white females, and then all the slightest changes of diversity brought us to our current diverse comic world. When I finished reading Spiderman, I started reading The Ultimate Spiderman. This version of Spiderman was more entertaining than the original. And since the main character, Miles Morales is young, it made him funnier. In this comic book, Peter Parker, one of the default white male superhero dies. Before that, Miles Morales, a young black child, gets bitten by a spider. He then becomes the new Spiderman because he was bitten by a black widow just like Spiderman did. But he had more abilities like the ability to become invisible and taze people. This is proves my point that superheroes are getting more diverse. Race, Religion, relationships and so much more are becoming diverse. These changes didn’t just happen in 2018, but they started back in the 1900’s when there was still racism. The slightest changes in diversity brought us to 2018 where the world is diverse. There was this scene before Peter died in the Ultimate Spiderman, when Miles just gets his powers. 2 firefighters are having a conversation, when Miles is running and can’t stop so jumps over the long box like Spiderman, and the black firefighter was like, “I told you Spiderman was black.” After that he smiled.  Miles Morales is a revolutionary figure in the world of comic books. He is changing the perspectives of superheroes in people’s minds. Perspectives are changing making a black person one of the default superheroes. Miles Morales is changing the superhero genre and world of comics, because of him the genre is expanding and new characters with different races and religions are joining Marvel and DC. The comic books genre is creating hope and role models for everyone that didn’t have it before.

One of the changes is that superheroes are getting more diverse in religion. Comic books are expanding and one of the branches of expansion is religion. The typical superhero, the default used to be white man with either no religion or christianity. Now there are many superheroes that have different religions. For example, Ms. Marvel is a Muslim superhero who is like a superwoman but in Marvel. This is big because this is a religious superhero. She is not another race but another religion creating another branch of diversity. Another superhero that is challenging norms is the Thing (from the Fantastic Four). The Thing turns out to be Jewish. A Christian superhero is Captain Salvation. He may not be one of the big superheroes, but if you search him up on the internet, he’s there. These are revolutionary superheroes because they have religions and these religions aren’t usually the default. This tells us that comic books are rapidly changing and featuring perspectives and voices they have not before.

Another aspect of comic books that is changing is race. After changes occurred, more diverse races were being represented. A well known superhero that’s black is Cyborg. Cyborg is a teenager who was a great athlete but had an accident. His scientist dad repaired his body with technology and after that he became a superhero. Cyborg became one of the most popular superheroes and he was black. But not only was he African American but he was also one of the main characters on the Teen Titans. This was a huge change because the default main characters would be white males. Not only are there new superheroes of different races that are male but new ones that are also female. Katana, is an Asian, female superhero from suicide squad. After her husband dies, she becomes a martial arts expert and samurai and is on a quest to find her husbands spirit. She is one of the most well known Asian superheroes and there are not many Asian superheroes at all. Not to mention also female. The first black superhero was Black Panther, one of its recent hits was the Black Panther movie in 2018. The movie was extremely popular. This tells us that not only white superheroes will get viewers but a more diverse set of superheroes will also get just as much and more attention. In fact, people seemed to enjoy Black Panther more than Captain America. People are accepting this new change and not hating the changes.

The last aspect of the change occuring in comic books is gender. Before changes occurred, there weren’t many female superheroes and the ones that did exist didn’t get as much attention as the men. As society changed over the past 20 through 30 years, it evolved and changed and became more diverse, segregation was stopped and equality was made causing massive changes to happen in gender. There were a lot of changes in gender. Unfortulantely, DC` This wasn’t only for the comic universe but for current events too. For example a well known female superhero is Black Widow. Black Widow was an orphan saved by Soviet Union officers who then trained her to be a fighting expert. According to CNN Politics, a recent protest was for women’s rights. People from all over the world came to protest about women’s equality. Although DC isn’t as diverse as Marvel, they still have well known superheroes such as Wonder Woman. However DC Comics isn’t as diverse as Marvel. DC has tried making characters more diverse and sometimes succeeded but other times it couldn’t hold its place in the market. On the other hand, Marvel is successfully making more diverse characters. However, DC has some well known superheroes like Harley Quinn and Raven. Although there are white women, there aren’t as many different races of women.

Representations of diversity are important because they relate to equality. People look up to superheroes as role models. As superheroes get more diverse, people get a chance to look up to new superheroes of the same race, religion, or gender as them. Then, people become more comfortable looking up to someone more like the person they are. It also makes people feel stronger because superheroes are made to help people and give them hope. Although, this means that society at large won’t be as comfortable receiving hope from people of different races and ethnicities as them. because at the time when African Americans first came to the U.S.A, black people were new to them so if you met them in the street, the fact that you were meeting a person totally different from you was unsettling. Even though, superheroes of different ethnicities may be uncomfortable for some, the more diverse superheroes that are made, the more people will get comfortable.

Bibliography:

Abad-Santos, Alex. “Marvel Misspoke about Diversity in Comics. Now It Has a Chance to Do Better.” Vox, Vox, 4 Apr. 2017, www.vox.com/culture/2017/4/4/15169572/marvel-diversity-outrage-gabriel.

Allen, Thomas. “Comics Color Outside the Lines, Drawing a Diverse Cast of Heroes.” National Geographic, 18 May 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/06/explore-minorities-in-comics/.

Brown, Jennings. “Superhero Diversity Hasn’t Advanced In A Single Bound.” Vocativ, Vocativ, 4 Oct. 2016, www.vocativ.com/news/206915/a-timeline-of-superhero-diversity/.

Brown, Jennings. “Superhero Diversity Hasn’t Advanced In A Single Bound.” Vocativ, Vocativ, 4 Oct. 2016, www.vocativ.com/news/206915/a-timeline-of-superhero-diversity/.

Doll, Jen. “On the Importance of Having Superheroes.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 30 Oct. 2013, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/05/importance-having-superheroes/328461/.

“How Superheroes Are Changing the Way We Think about Diversity – Bloomberg L.P Diversity & Inclusion.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 31 Jan. 2018, www.bloomberg.com/diversity-inclusion/blog/superheroes-changing-way-think-diversity/.

“Opinion | Diverse Superhero Stories Are Drowned out by the Status Quo.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/superhero-narratives-striving-diversity-are-drowned-out-status-quo-ncna833431


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