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S2017 E3 | CLIP

Author Jason Reynolds on His Miles Morales: Spider-Man Novel

Miles Morales is a Black Puerto Rican boy from Brooklyn who becomes Spider-Man. Though the character first appeared in 2011, Jason Reynolds wants to give him a richer back story in his new novel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

AIRED: July 26, 2017 | 0:03:11

>> Well, that sounds good enough

in and of itself, but you also

have two other books coming out

this year.

>> Yes. Whoo!

>> You have the Miles Morales

book, which is "Spider-Man."

>> Yeah.

>> I mean, which is pretty epic,


>> [ Laughs ] Yeah.

>> You know, I mean, I remember

when the comic book came out,

and it was Miles Morales,

and it was like,

"Wait, wait. There's a..."

>> "He's brown."

>> "There's a brown Spider-Man."

But now there's actually

like a book.

>> There's a novel.

>> A novel.

>> And it is going to

cause a lot of problems.

>> Problems? Why problems?

>> Well, look, there's gonna be

some love, there's gonna be some

feathers ruffled.

>> But isn't the whole thing

about these universes is that

they shift and change, and

there's nothing actually

that's wrong?

>> You know what,

that is the truth.

>> Right.

>> Right? That makes

a lot of sense, Lisa.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Unfortunately...

>> Right.

>> ...there are a lot of people

who aren't very comfortable

with change.

>> Right.

>> And my story...

Shout-out to Disney and

shout-out to Marvel because they

gave me free reign.

They let me do

what I wanted to do.

And so Miles is very brown


And before that, they sort of

were able to sort of, "Oh, we're

gonna paint his face brown, and

he's gonna be sort of he comes

from a certain family --

"family" -- but we're not gonna

give him too much texture."

>> Mm-hmm.

>> And that ain't really my

thing, right?

>> Right.

>> So for me, it was like,

"No, we're gonna really layer on

the texture."

>> [ Chuckles ] Right.

>> And his mom,

who is Puerto Rican,

there's gonna be --

I mean, the first page, I think

they're eating, like...

I thinkpasteles andchicharrón.

>> Right. Perfect.

>> You know, and, like,

his father is Black,

and is very Black,

and they're dealing with --

He's Black Dad, right?

Like, I mean, he's

really Black Dad.

And his neighborhood --

He's in Bed-Stuy.

Peter Parker was in

Queens, right?

>> Right.

>> Miles is in Bed-Stuy.

He's in Brooklyn.

It is very Brooklyn.

There's barber-shop scenes.

And there's questions.

The questions of,

"How can I be a superhero

without the privilege?"

>> Right.

>> If I were to tell my mother

that I had to save the world,

my mother would say,

"How you gonna save the world

before you save this family?"

>> Right.

>> "Before you save this block?

The community? The city?"

Like, "How you gonna

save the world?"

>> Right. It's a privilege to be

able to, like, focus on the

whole world's problems.

>> "I need you to get good

grades in school, 'cause you got

to get to college, kid.

College is your ticket out.

You need to go to school.

So you can't be out there saving

the world, 'cause when you gonna

have time to do your homework?"

>> Right. [ Laughs ]

>> Like, that's my mom, right?

And that's my Miles' --

like, that's where Miles

is coming from.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> And he's dealing with

inferiority complex, he's

dealing with, like, "Am I

allowed to be Spider-Man?"

>> Yeah.

>> "Is it okay for me

to do this?"

>> Right.

>> Right? Like all of those...

>> 'Cause nobody said,

"Obviously you're Spider-Man.

Maybe you're a secret


>> Exactly. Exactly.

>> The messaging is not that,

like, maybe you might actually

be super special.

It's like, "You're not

special at all."

>> "You're not special at all."

And then the bigger picture, on

top of all of those things,

which is the thing that I'm most

excited about, but also the

thing that's gonna get me in a

little bit of --

Is that I'm also telling the

school-to-prison pipeline story.

>> Mm-hmm. Yeah.

>> Using Spider-Man.


>> Good trouble, though.

>> It's good trouble.

Yeah, it's good trouble.

I mean, it's something --

Look, you get your opportunity,

you shoot your shot.

And I had an opportunity to tell

a story that meant the world to

me, and that means the world to

me, and it's something that's

affecting so many of us, and

we've yet to figure out how to

truly talk about it.

>> Yeah.

>> So I'm like, "Well, we'll

have Spider-Man talk about it."



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