Yesterday’s announcement that the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Miles Morales is a half-black, half-Latino teenager (see “Marvel Unveils New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man”) triggered a maelstrom of mainstream media coverage, and though the majority of major outlets like USA Today, The New York Times, Forbes, and The Washington Post appear to have gotten the story more or less right, others such as the London Daily Mail, the Drudge Report, and Glenn Beck reported that the biracial Miles Morales was gay.  A spokesperson for Marvel Comics confirmed to ICv2 unequivocally that “Miles Morales isn’t gay.”
Britain’s conservative Daily Mail may have been the first to comment on the sexuality of the new character in an article by Daniel Bates: “But another surprise could be in the pipeline after his creators said in the future they would not rule out making him gay,” while Drudge reported, “Marvel kills off Spider-Man, replaces with half-black, half-Hispanic reincarnation… could be gay.” On his radio show Glenn Beck said the new Spidey, “looks just like Obama… Do I care if he’s half-Hispanic, all Hispanic?  Half-black, half—I really don’t care. Half-gay, all gay, I don’t really care, I don’t care, it’s a stupid comic book.”   Beck also associated the new Spider-Man with Michelle Obama.

This conclusion about Miles Morales’ sexuality appears to have come from a comment by Ultimate Spider-Man artist Sara Pichelli, who told USA Today, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay—or both—hero will be considered something absolutely normal.”  It makes more sense to this observer to interpret Pichelli’s remarks as a plea for a more tolerant and colorblind society where the color of a person’s skin or their sexuality wouldn’t exclude them from high profile endeavors—a society in which a fine actor like Laurence Fishburne could land a juicy character role like Perry White in the new Superman film (see “Laurence Fishburne to Play Perry White”) or a Blatino teenager could take up the mantle of Spider-Man with arousing comment.
It doesn’t appear that we’ve gotten there yet.