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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse shows us that anyone can be a hero

My spidersona wears a gray and blue suit, and uses her silk to knit scarves. I haven’t thought much farther past that, one, because I’m afraid of being bitten by any spider, regardless of radioactive tendencies or not.

However, the latest joint venture between Sony and Marvel Studios has many comic book fans asking themselves, “What is my Spidersona?”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse released on December 14, 2018 and swept the box office. The movie sought to connect Spider-people from across the Marvel multi-verse, from the original Peter Parker to Gwen Stacy of Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales from the Ultimate Marvel series.

The movie did what no other Marvel movie has done to date – truly introduced the rich and diverse history of one of the most long-standing comic book characters to the masses.

Spider-Man was released to comic book fans in 1962 co-created by the late Stan Lee, and since then has had many iterations, only seven of which are introduced in the Spider-Verse movie. In that 56-year run, Spider-Man has been constant in only two ways: they are a young adult, and they have the powers of a spider.

Incredibly there there are over 80 spin-offs of the original Spider-Man. That allows for the creators to run away with the cannonical history of the character, including a wide range of people, mechanical objects, and animals (believe it or not, there is in fact a Spider-Cat, a Spider-Wolf, and a Spider-Monkey).

But aside from the species inclusion, the true power of Spider-Man is that he is relatable, in one series or another, to nearly everyone on the planet. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has harnessed that inclusion, and that acceptance has taken the world by storm. 

Spidersona is a mash-up of the combination between the words “Spider” and “persona.” It’s the suit that fans opt to wear in their own Spider-verse. Suddenly, a world where comics are dominated by thin, white people has been turned upside down by masked webslingers of all backgrounds, showing the hunger for inclusivity that comic book designers have been ignoring all this time.

Fans and artists are creating superheroes that represent them, like this veiled spider-person.

This Anansi spider-human shows incredible detail, and brings an African identity to the defender of Brooklyn.

This Spidersona is showing the need for LGBTQ+ inclusivity in comics, and owning their identity.

And in a world where bigger bodies are usually reserved for villains and the Hulk, this body-positive spidersona has the venom of a pink-toed tarantula wrapped in a cozy hoodie.

This outpouring of support and affection comes from a movie that has deliberately turned the comic book industry on its head. The main character Miles Morales is a mixed race hero with a Latin mother and Black father. His mentor is Jewish, and his friend is a woman with intelligence superior to his own.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse boldly puts its month where its mouth is. While the comic book world has told its audience that anyone can be a hero, Spider-Man shows that. It doesn’t matter if you’re super rich, intelligent, athletic, or white.

All you have to do is stand up, every time you get knocked down.

By Meg Leach

Meg is a creative based on the East End of Long Island. They have a passion for using movement as a tool to empower women and LGBT+ people, with a focus on strength and team sports. When they're not working, Meg can be found walking their dog, writing, or playing roller derby under the pseudonym "Boston Scream."