Will Ultimate Spider-Man Push An Anti-Union Agenda?

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, starring the new Miles Morales under the costume, comes out in September, from Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli.

Joe Quesada has talked about Brian Bendis being inspired by the documentary, Waiting For Superman.

“Now while I don’t want to give too much away, over the years I’ve been really intrigued by the revolutionary work being done by educator Geoffrey Canada, and as we looked deeper into Miles’ character, I suggested to Brian that he watch the documentary, “Waiting For Superman” (ironic, I know!). Bri loved it, and the wheels started turning.”

The film follows students through the American educational system as they apply for a lottery to get into more desirable charter schools. Geoffrey Canada is interviewed, where he remembers his mother telling him Superman was not real and he was scared because that meant no one would save him.

And certainly the preview pages we’ve seen seem to show that exact same lottery in as seen in Waiting For Superman.

The film has been criticised as being anti-union, pro-corporate propaganda, however, overly selective in its statistics, and right-wing biased. Rick Ayers wrote for the Huffington Post;

“On one side are those who hope to use the charter option to operate effective small schools that are autonomous from districts. On the other side are the corporate powerhouses and the ideological opponents of all things public who see this as a chance to break the teacher’s unions and to privatize education. Superman is a shill for the latter. Caring, thoughtful teachers are working hard in both types of schools. But their efforts are being framed and defined, even undermined, by powerful forces that have seized the mantle of “reform”…

“After dismissing funding as a factor, Superman rolls out the drum-beat of attacks on teachers as the first and really the only problem. Except for a few patronizing pats on the head for educators, the film describes school failure as boiling down to bad teachers. Relying on old clichés that single out the handful of loser teachers anyone could dig up, Waiting for Superman asserts that the unions are the boogey man. In his perfect world, there would be no unions — we could drive teacher wages even lower, run schools like little corporations, and race to the bottom just as we have in the manufacturing sector. Imagining that the profit motive works best, the privatizers propose merit pay for teachers whose students test well. Such a scheme would only lead to adult cheating (which has already started), to well-connected teachers packing their classes with privileged kids, and to an undermining of the very essence of effective schools — collaboration between teachers, generous community building with students.”

Indeed, it’s the 616 Peter Parker, working as he did as a high school science teacher, is the kind of individual and institution under fire. Will the comic book be going the same way as some fear? As one site admits “it would be pretty weird to see a comic book where Morales fights a teachers’ union that’s secretly entirely made up of Skrulls or something.”

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