It's been a week. Donald Glover's desire to be Spider-Man came and went, a sad and typical burnout for an Internet meme. But this meme was one that raised some prickly, uncomfortable questions that I don't think should be swept away so cleanly. As we get close to officially casting Spider-Man, and assembling the Avengers, I think it's worth wondering just when superheroes will begin to reflect our world a bit better.
I think it's legitimate to ask, as Drew McWeeny and Devin Faraci did, why Spider-Man is white. There's nothing in his origin story that's racially specific. As Faraci pointed out, Spidey comes from Queens where whites are becoming a minority. It would currently make more sense for him to be of a more diverse background. But I also understand where fans are coming from. Peter Parker has always looked a certain way, and they want their tried-and-true continuity and accuracy. I recognize my own biases this way as well, believe me.
But this is the day and age of the reboot, and it happens in comics and movies with alarming regularity. Oh, let's go back and tell that origin story again. And again. And again. No character is allowed to mature, change, or suffer the consequences of life because we simply make a deal with the Devil and put Parker back at Aunt May's house. That's the Spidey fans liked best, so that's what they want to see again. And this is despite Marvel starting up Ultimate versions that did reboot the stories of X-Men, Spider-Man, and other assorted superfellows so fans could hear it all again with a slightly different tune.