Julie Hinds Detroit Free Press
Published 10:11 AM EST Dec 11, 2018
Expect a surge of Spidey synergy this week when the animated movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” hits theaters Friday. It arrives on a wave of ecstatic reviews, like GQ’s take that it’s “among the best superhero films released in this or any year.”
Two days before the film opens, “Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1” will make its debut. Like the movie, the all-new comic book series centers on the teenage character from Brooklyn whose dad is African-American and mom is Puerto Rican.
In the new series, Miles must learn to juggle his special powers with his regular life as he faces protecting his New York City neighborhood from a group of criminals that includes a supervillain.
Vault of Midnight’s downtown Detroit location will host a launch party/book signing Wednesday with guest Saladin Ahmed, the metro Detroit author who’s writing the series (which features illustrations by Javier Garron of Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and #1 cover art by Brian Stelfreeze).
Ahmed, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, has branched successfully into comics. This year, he won an Eisner Award this year for best new series for Marvel’s “Black Bolt” and introduced the indie series “Abbott” about a 1970s female detective in Detroit.
He spoke to the Free Press this week about his new assignment and the new-millennium superhero that has Spidey fan senses tingling.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is getting fantastic reviews. Did you know Miles Morales would be making such a big impression when you signed on for the comic series?
Actually, I hoped. The film isn’t even out yet, but they’ve done advance screenings, and I think every indication is this is going to be even bigger than I hoped, which is wonderful to see.
What do you like best about Miles as a character?
I’m really loving writing him because he’s a sort of update to everything that I loved as a kid about Peter Parker as Spider-Man. The mixing of teenage angst and the superhero fisticuffs. His incredibly decent heart at the core of everything, in an age where a lot of times our heroes are often anti-heroes or tough guys.
I love Miles because he speaks to everything about that, but he’s also a more modern character in some ways. He looks different. He has a different kind of last name. (He) kind of reflects maybe the way that America is recognizing its differences…It’s never really put other kinds of people at the center of these stories, so it’s wonderful to see that with Miles. But aside from the identity stuff, he’s a modern teenager in a way we don’t quite see with Peter, who’s a little bit of a square, maybe.
What’s something top secret you can tell us about the #1 issue? Or in lieu of that, just a hint of what’s ahead?
It’s not so much top secret, but I can say that the first issue really shows that Miles — and the book, by extension — is going to be taking on some very contemporary issues. Still in a very entertaining, super-heroic way, but this is very much a comic book set in our present time. The challenges that Miles is going to deal with starting right away in issue #1 are going to reflect that.
With Miles Morales and the new series, how do you feel these days about representation and inclusivity in the comic book world?
I think, as with this stuff in our culture in general, due to the hard work of a lot of people who’ll never get named like they should, we’ve made progress. But when you’re in certain situations, especially on the other side of it as a professional, and you just kind of see what the field looks like, there’s still a long way to go. It’s (a matter of) keeping both things in mind, I guess.
Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or [email protected]
“Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1” release event/signing by author Saladin Ahmed
4:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesday
Vault of Midnight’s Detroit location
1226 Library St.
Free (two-hour parking at the Z parking garage validated with any purchase)
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