If you know Brian Michael Bendis‘ work, then you know he’s been huge in helping making comics more diverse. He gave us a super cool and hardcore real women in Jinx and Jessica Jones, he made Luke Cage a major player in the New Avengers before hooking him up in an interracial relationship with Jessica Jones, and he even started his own creater-owned comic Takio with sister superheroines one of whom was adopted and of Asian-descent.
But his biggest win for heroic diversity in comics was when he killed Spider-man and made him a mixed Black and Puerto Rican kid, Miles Morales!
It was a insanely dope move on his part, and bold as hell. And as far as I know, Ultimate Comics Spider-man isn’t going anywhere. That said, Miles Morales is an alternate universe Spider-man. Alternate universes have been used to make changes in race and sexual orientation for several superheroes at this point, like Earth 2‘s gay Green Lantern and Filipino Captain Steel. And though Spider-man is a big win, the majority of heroes of color or LGBT heroes are part of teams or relegated to the sidelines, like Reptil and White Tiger (who’ll soon be joining the new Mighty Avengers) in the recently cancelled Avengers Academy, and Hulkling and Wiccan in Young Avengers.
The tide is definitely changing and it seems to be most prevalent with the kids.
And Miles Morales isn’t the only kid hero of color with his own comic. In 2011, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness introduced half-Latino Sam Alexander as the son of the superhero Nova (Jessie Alexander) when Sam briefly appeared in Marvel Point One. But two years later Sam Alexander is the punchy kid lead of his own all ages comic Nova, where he’s taken up the helm as Nova .
If you’re not reading this comic, go get it now, because it’s really good. After 5 issues, Loeb and McGuinness are handing the story over to writer Zeb Wells and artist Paco Medina. Whether or not Sam’s story is in capable hands, I don’t know, but, according to Marvel the plan is to bring this new Nova more exposure in the rest of the Marvel Universe, including some face time with the Avengers. So… a major iconic superhero, who is now Latino, not in an alternate universe, and they’re gonna basically tour him around the rest of the universe so folk get to know him?
With LGBTQ weddings and comic book characters coming out and with new diverse titles like the upcoming Mighty Avengers to look forward to, it seems in general comics are making slow steps towards progress. However, the trend with younger superheroes and in all-ages comics is particularly exciting, because these will be the heroes that the new generation of geeks grows up on! Just imagine it, a whole bunch of comic book nerds who’ll be used to seeing LGBT and diverse heroes in tights and capes! Maybe future castings of non-white actors in white superhero roles won’t blow up the internet with trolls and haterade! How ever will we get page hits then?