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New Spider-Man is half black, half Latino nerd

By Ray Sanchez

New York (Reuters) - Marvel Comics on Wednesday unveiled a new Spider-Man for the Obama-age -- a half-black, half-Latino nerd named Miles Morales.

The new Spidey, who lives in Brooklyn, was revealed in Marvel Comics' Ultimate Fallout Issue 4. He replaces longtime comic-book favorite Peter Parker, who was white, hailed from Queens and was killed in Ultimate Spider-Man Issue 160 in June.

"Going into this we knew we wanted to make a statement about the 21st century," said Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso.

"I'm mixed race. My mom is from England; my dad is from Mexico. When Obama was elected I cried -- partly because he was African American but largely because of the fact that he was mixed race," Alonso said.

"I remember what it was like to grow up mixed race. This is more and more prevalent in the United States and it speaks to our rich cultural heritage."

Like Parker, Miles is a nerdy, awkward working-class kid from the outer boroughs of New York. But Parker was an orphan raised by his aunt and uncle in a traditionally white section of Queens.

Miles' parents -- his mother is black, his father Latino -- are still alive, live in more racially diverse Brooklyn and play key roles in his story.

"Spider-Man is arguably the most recognizable superhero on the planet and little kids like my son Tito can relate to him because of the red-and-blue tights," Alonso said.

"But when he peels off his mask now, he's going to have a very different look and he's going to resonate emotionally with all sorts of new readers.".

The new Ultimate Spider-Man series and Wednesday's Ultimate Fallout issue are available digitally and in stores.

"I have no doubt that people will fall in love with Miles the way they did with Peter Parker regardless of what race or class or creed they are," Alonso said.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

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