Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Give Us A Black Spiderman!"

Those words were uttered by Reverend Al Sharpton in a first season episode of "Boston Legal".  He was making that statement in relation to a case in which a young black girl was turned down for the role of "Annie".  I thought at the time that I watched the show that it was a ridiculous statement because everyone knows that Spiderman is a young white All-American boy. 

Or so I thought.  I found this trailer on Joost.Com that comes by way of Marvel, the creators and owners of Spiderman.  Is this a video of a black Spiderman?  Of course not.  What it is, is a Japanese Spiderman TV show that comes across as a mix of Spiderman, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Godzilla, and Transformers.  Talk about originality (or lack thereof)!

At least the trailer is funny enough to watch for a couple of minutes.  Take a look:

<a href="http://www.joost.com/3aiv8ge/t/Japanese-Spider-Man-Series-Trailer">Japanese Spider-Man Series Trailer</a>
This version of the famous web-slinging hero was part of a deal that Marvel made with Toei, namely that for a four-year period, Toei could use Marvel's characters in any way they saw fit. So in 1978, a Spider-Man tokusatsu series was produced for Japanese television by Toei Company Ltd. While Spider-Man's costume was certainly based on the original, the storyline had nothing to do with the Marvel character. The series had a major impact on other Japanese live-action  shows, and in particular the Super Sentai series which would later be adapted for American viewers as the Power Rangers, by popularizing the use of piloted giant robots to destroy giant monsters.
So now, it seems to me that if there could be a Japanese Spiderman 30 years ago, certainly we could create a black Spiderman now.  If Marvel can place Barack Obama in an issue of Spiderman, certainly they could create an alternate Spiderman in which the character of Spiderman is an African-American.  What are your thoughts on this?
If you are interested in watching full length episodes, Marvel.Com is posting one new episode each week at their website.  You can go there by clicking here.
To get you started, here is episode one in it's entirety:

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