OPINION

Spider-Man India

Marvel Comics has announced that it plans to license out Spider-Man, one of its flagship characters, to an Indian comic book company, for a re-made Indian version of the character. Newsarama did a nice write-up on the details that you can read here.

India Spider-Man The really important bits:
...the Indian version of Spider-Man, in the form of young Mumbai resident, Pavitr Prabhakar, gains his powers from ancient mystic instead of Peter Parker who got his powers from a radioactive spider. Green Goblin is also reinvented as Rakshasa, an Indian mythological demon.


This kinda bugs me.

Okay, I'll still read it, because that's what I do. It has the vibe of the old What If...? comics.

But superheroes' home towns aren't something you should mess with.

Superheroes, the really good ones, always have a city. Batman has his gothic, Dickensian-by-way-of-Dick Gotham City. Superman has the World's-Fair town of Metropolis.

Gotham City
Metropolis What happens when you take Spider-Man out of New York? Obviously there's a logistical problem -- he needs the tall buildings to swing from. But if he's not a geeky kid from Queens then from where does he get his neuroses, his rage, his drive to help the downtrodden? Sure, yeah, the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" thing will still be in effect. But comic book cities reflect the characters of the heroes that patrol them. Gotham City is the way it is because Batman works its streets. New York makes Spider-Man funny; Spider-Man makes New York funny.

I have no idea what Mumbai's personality is. Anyone want to help with that?

I guess it just strikes me as implausible. How can a different city create the same hero? I wouldn't be the same person if I hadn't grown up in Los Angeles...or lived in Manhattan (and Boston and DC and...well, you get the idea). These places make us who we are; that's why we care about how they're designed and maintained. A different city can't make the same guy.

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