Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott took a break from bullying random women on Twitter this week to demonstrate a new an improved way of showing how clownish and immature he could be — he painted anyone who thinks “Peter Parker is a white character who believes ‘With great power comes great responsibility,'” as racist.
This is the man who is Marvel’s ambassador to Spider-Man fans. This is the man who, ideally, would unite Peter Parker fans of all ages. This is the man whose argument (by his own admission) boils down to: “Would you go up to a [non-white child] and say ‘You can’t be Spider-Man’?”
When Dan Slott started this weird conversation Feb. 12, I put it this way:
I understand that it is the essence of a man that is important (e.g., “The Phantom” lives forever as different men who embody his noble spirit), but once you essentially start going down the, “Let’s just arbitrarily make Peter Parker black tomorrow and if you get annoyed, then you’re a racist” road, then that’s where you’ve lost me.
Marvel successfully pulled that off with Nick Fury. That makes sense because he was never a figure with national/world-wide recognition. It’s a different thing when basically the entire world has a vision of what “Peter Parker” looks like and guys like Dan Slott start screwing with it.
It would be like if Nintendo suddenly made Mario and Luigi black and said, “What? What? There are black Italians. What are you, racist?” to people who started rolling their eyes.
Well, no. I’m not racist, Nintendo executives, but I think you’re just taking the racial sensitivity thing to an absurd level.
If someone asked me to describe Blade, one of my “thousand” adjectives used to describe him would be “black.” The same goes for James Rhodes. Or “Robbie” Robertson. Or any number of black characters. But perhaps in Dan Slott’s world, Marvel fans are allowed to describe long-established black characters as black and that doesn’t have an effect of their understanding of the character.
As I said Feb. 14 in the comments section of a previous post (I was hoping Mr Slott wouldn’t continue to belabor this conversation and prompt me to expand it into a full-blown blog post):
I’m not sure if Dan Slott is just a giant troll, or a complete doofus. He starts a conversation that he knows is going to annoy people by insinuating that maybe it might be a good decision to arbitrarily make Peter Parker black or Hispanic or Asian — when generations of people associate Peter Parker with a very specific look — and then he acts incredulous when people start talking about doing the exact same thing to other characters.
If Charles M. Schulz were still alive and he randomly changed Snoopy from a beagle to a golden retriever, would it matter? A dog is a dog, right? Yes, it would matter for many Peanuts fans because the world fell in love with a very specific Snoopy.
I wouldn’t want Marvel randomly making Blade a white guy, and I wouldn’t want Marvel randomly making Peter Parker a black guy. In both instances, it would be a weird editorial move.
Sounds reasonable, right? Not to Dan Slott. Here is how he responds to other reasonable Spider-Man fans (great customer relations, Marvel): “My grandma knew Jim Crow laws. Didn’t make ’em right.”
Some random Peter Parker fan essentially says, “Even my grandma would be able to describe Peter Parker to forensic sketch artist, and he’d be white. That’s pretty iconic. I think it would probably be odd to randomly make Peter Parker black.”
Dan Slott’s reaction is to start talking about Jim Crow laws. Seriously. You, dear reader, are apparently the type of person who would tell a little black child he couldn’t be Spider-Man and you would probably admit to supporting Jim Crow laws if it was just you and Dan Slott drinking alone at the bar one night.
In his never-ending quest to fish for compliments in his Twitter feed while also putting himself up on a gigantic moral pedestal, Dan Slott is now resorting to needless race-baiting conversations with Peter Parker fans. Does it get any worse than this? Why does Marvel let him get away with acting like a petulant man-boy with a penchant for burning bridges? Since when did Marvel decide that its business model for attracting attention to Spider-Man comic books was to hire a writer who invents ways to slime customers?
The ironic thing about all of this is that if Dan Slott were to magically make Peter Parker black tomorrow, then he could very well be fending off racial conspiracy theory charges soon afterward — Peter Parker is a shell of the character he once was thanks to Dan Slott, so making him black at this stage in the game would actually be an insult to race-goggle wearing comic book readers everywhere.
One day a writer will take on Spider-Man who will bring together fans from a variety different backgrounds, ages, and political persuasions. He or she will do it without all the unnecessary antics, and when that happens Dan Slott’s legacy will sink even lower than it already has up to now.
Update: No amount of race-baiting would be complete without Dan Slott referring to “white history months.” This is the man who writes The Amazing Spider-Man, ladies and gentlemen. Pathetic.
Related: Check out Hube’s take over at Colossus of Rhodey.