In Ultimate Fallout #4, it was revealed that the new Spider-Man within the Ultimate universe is a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager named Miles Morales. This may not be the mainline version, but Spider-Man is nonetheless the most recognizable Marvel superhero to undergo such a major revision. Given how difficult it is to establish new characters/ideas within the traditional shared universe, this is a significant attempt to create a viable non-Caucasian superhero who already possesses the cachet of a core property.
Disappointingly, if not surprisingly, the move produced an eruption of fan backlash. Most accused Marvel of being unnecessarily "PC", or having a case of "killing of whitey". Dan Harmon characterized them as a "... previously unknown demographic of racist comic-book readers...” Rich Johnston noted some of the more negative commentary on the Web, including the infamous twitters of Larry Doherty, owner/manager of Larry’s Comics.
Kevin Melrose covers the impact of writer/actor Donald Glover's campaign to be cast as Spider-Man.
David Brothers expresses the most positive outlook on the news, seeing the creative possibilities of finally having a character not saddled with 50 years of Peter Parker's continuity:
I don’t necessarily think Marvel should be patted on the back, but this is a pretty cool move. No other major character–and the major characters these days are Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, make no mistake–have been replaced by a non-white. In this case, the one, true Spider-Man, or Ultimate Spider-Man, or whatever, is a black guy. What’s more, this’ll pull the Ultimate universe away from pantomiming the past, which is what the last murderfest and reboot was supposed to do. You can’t do a retread of Venom with Miles Morales. They don’t have the history, and there are no expectations.Heidi McDonald quotes the explanations of writer Brian Michael Bendis and editor-in-chief Alex Alonso, as well as the official Marvel PR on the relaunched Ultimate Spider-Man series.The comments section has the opinions of comics professionals like Kurt Busiek and Andrew Farago.
In another post, Heidi wonders if Marvel and DC are getting left behind by a changing market. She questions the old adage that non-white characters don't sell.
On the topic of minority representaions in superhero comics, J. Caleb Mozzocco points out the dubious portrayal of African-American charcters Cyborg and real-life president Barack Obama in DC's crossover event Flashpoint. Yeah, it's been a hell of a week for DC.