The Marvel superhero roster just got more diverse.
Marvel announced that a new Spider-Man is hitting the stands this fall.
This comes on the heels of a Sony email leak showing a contract that required Spider-Man to be — get this — white, male, and straight. Surprise!
And the announcement about the new Spider-Man movie star and director? Spoiler alert: They're both white guys.
Luckily, the new official Spider-Man in the Spider-Man comics is finally breaking the mold.
If he looks ... different ... from all the Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) you've seen before, it's because he has an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother.
He's the first black and second-ever Latino Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics universe.
What's especially great is that Miles isn't new to fans of the Spider-Man franchise, but the co-creators made an intentional move to make him official. He has been around for a while in an alternative Marvel universe where Peter Parker dies and he takes his place.
But now Miles Morales is the official main Marvel Comics universe Spider-Man.
This move is significant because it means bringing diversity to Marvel's main roster of superheroes in a big way.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Spider-Man writer and co-creator Brian Michael Bendis explains the reasoning behind the decision saying, “Our message has to be it's not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it's the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else."
And it's already having a positive impact.
Bendis was brought to tears when his 4-year-old black daughter picked up a Miles Morales Spider-Man mask at the store, put it on and exclaimed "Look, Daddy, I'm Spider-Man!"
It's important to have racial diversity in our superhero stories because studies show that representation matters.
One study found that children are quick to pick up on racial stereotypes portrayed in the media. Kids also notice when people of color are not shown as much as white people. They end up thinking that people of color must not be as important.
An Indiana University study showed that not having positive role models of color in the media lowered the self-esteem of black children.
Who our children see in the media and how these characters act has a big influence.
It doesn't just shape how they view people of other races; it influences how they view themselves. Imagine growing up and rarely seeing people who look like you on TV or in books, and when they do appear, they're doing bad things.
The fact that one of the most recognizable (good) characters in the world is multi-ethnic will help children of color feel good about themselves in a world that offers so few positive portrayals of people that look like them.
That's why this latest move by Marvel is so great.
We're officially living in a world that has a black Captain America, a female Thor, and a multi-ethnic Spider-Man.
How cool is that?
Here's hoping we'll see a live-action version of the new Spider-Man in the near future. My spidey senses tell me it'll only be a matter of time.