So the big comic book news story this week (to me, anyway) is THE MEETING OF THE SPIDER-MEN. “Spider-MEN?” you may be asking right now. Yes, that’s right, there is more than one, due to the many, many Spidey-related books that Marvel is putting out at any given moment (although this is true of all superheroes, really).
Our traditional Spider-Man, Peter Parker, of course still exists, but we also have a new(ish) Spider-Man, Miles Morales, who appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books. (Marvel’s Ultimate line is kind of an alternate universe of Marvel, with different characters and backstories—like when Peter Parker was Spider-Man in Ultimate Comics, he went to high school with a bunch of other Marvel characters, and even dated the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde. Obviously none of that is true of the regular Spider-Man comics.)
Anyway, Miles Morales started as Spider-Man last year after Peter Parker died (probably not permanently). There was some controversy about this, since Miles is half-black and half-Latino, and some people weren’t into the idea of a brown Spidey, but remember that Peter Parker is still Spider-Man in the “real” Marvel Universe, and this is an alternate universe where the flaming guy from the Fantastic Four and the icy guy from the X-Men both live with Peter and Aunt May. Plus, it’s high time we had a brown Spidey [or other very mainstream superhero], and besides, I’m still mad that Donald Glover didn’t get the role in the new movie, which is coming way too soon for a reboot anyway.
And apparently, Miles Morales is going to have a crossover with the still-living Peter Parker from the regular Marvel Universe—which sounds pretty fun to me!
If you find any of this interesting, I really recommend the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man books. (Note: These are not the same as Ultimate Spider-Man, which ran for years and years and has many, many volumes, but to the rebooted series that started in 2009-2010.) The Ultimate Comics books focus a lot more on Peter’s high school travails (and ridiculous romances), which I find very entertaining. Technically, they’re rated for teens up, but younger teens and tweens should be fine with these stories as well.
And for those of you who aren’t really into superheroes, let me recommend Castle Waiting, which is pretty much as far away from superheroes as you can get. I was talking to a friend who’s just gotten into this series recently, and I was practically jumping up and down in excitement because I love it so much. It’s sort of a twisted take on fairy tales, but not twisted in a dark way, just in a humorous (and sometimes silly) way.
There is a fleeting reference to domestic violence early on in the series, but nothing graphic is shown and, otherwise, things tend toward the sweet (or bittersweet). Most of the action takes place in Sleeping Beauty’s castle decades after she’s run off with her prince; now, a motley assortment of residents and visitors live there, telling each other their stories and histories. It’s really great and I cannot possibly recommend it enough.
And if you don’t believe me, famous librarian Nancy Pearl likes it too!