Marvel comic book author Yehudi Mercado has apologized for a recent comic book he wrote that has received harsh criticism for what many readers are calling out as stereotypical content.
What If…? Miles Morales Became Thor features a storyline where Morales, an Afro-Latine version of Spider-Man in the Marvel franchise, is reimagined as the superhero, Thor. Disapproval of Mercado’s comic stemmed from some of the problematic and stereotypical text that perpetuates harmful Black stereotypes. For example, in one panel of the comic, Mercado, who is Mexican-Jewish, refers to Asgard, Thor’s home (or, in this case, Morales as Thor’s home), as “his hood.”
In another panel, Morales as Thor is seen using his powers to summon his hammer (Mjölnir). When he catches it in his hand, Morales as Thor says, “Hammer time,” referencing rapper M.C. Hammer’s 1990 song “U Can’t Touch This.” The Mjölnir is also covered with graffiti. Some critics wondered why a Black writer wasn’t hired for the project to tell an authentic story.
Eventually, Mercado apologized for failing to write an authentic character and thanked some of his colleagues for helping him realize how he came up short. He also wrote that he would be donating the money he earned from Marvel to the Brooklyn Book Bodega, an organization that focuses on child literacy.
“I’ve taken the last few days to step back and listen, and I acknowledge your criticism for my recent issue of What If…Miles Morales [Became] Thor,” Mercado wrote. “While I’ve lived a different experience through my own Jewish and Mexican background, I still know inauthenticity hurts, and I’m sorry this failed on that front. I’ve appreciated hearing and learning from my Black and Puerto Rican comics peers and hope to use this moment to help promote better authenticity.”