WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, comic books have been in color, but now they truly reflect all the hues of American society.
The new Captain America is black. A Superman who is suspiciously similar to President Barack Obama recently headlined a comic book. Thor is a woman, Spider-Man is part-Puerto Rican and Ms. Marvel is Muslim.
Mainstream comic book superheroes — America’s modern mythology — have been redrawn from the stereotypical brown-haired, blue-eyed white male into a world of multicolored, multireligious and multigendered crusaders to reflect a greater diversity in their audience.
Society has changed, so superheroes have to as well, said Axel Alonso, editor in chief at Marvel Comics, who in November debuted Captain America No. 1 with Samuel Wilson, the first African American superhero taking over Captain America’s red, white and blue uniform and shield.
“Roles in society aren’t what they used to be. There’s far more diversity,” said Alonso, who has also shepherded a gay wedding in the X-Men, a gender change from male to female in Thor and the first mainstream female Muslim hero in Ms. Marvel.
The change to a black Captain America is already having an impact outside of comics.