The web is buzzing with the news that Marvel Comics has teamed up with Gotham Comics -- the leading South Asian comic book publisher -- to create an Indian version of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man India interweaves the local customs, culture and mystery of modern India, with an eye to making Spider-Mans mythology more relevant to this particular audience. Readers of this series will not see the familiar Peter Parker of Queens under the classic Spider-Man mask, but rather a new hero a young, Indian boy named Pavitr Prabhakar. As Spider-Man, Pavitr leaps around rickshaws and scooters in Indian streets, while swinging from monuments such as the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal.
A "mashup" is a digitally re-edited piece of music which interweaves two (or more) disparate songs into a new work. They can be amusing or fun to dance to, but occasionally, the combined work tells us something about the world of the moment that neither of the component works could. Spider-Man India has that kind of potential: by taking an icon of Americana and mixing it with the cultural touchstones of India, the result could be something far more interesting and compelling than either the umpteenth Spider-Man American title/movie or an entirely local South Asian superhero.
It says something about the world we live in now that the newest Indian hero is one who lives by the motto: "With great power comes great responsibility."
This is really too cool. I will have to scout around for stores in NYC carrying Gotham Comics...seems likely.
Maybe the Bollywood Spiderman is not far behind!
Anyone remember Captain Britain (or whatever he was called), the attempt to transplant Captain America to the UK a few decades ago?
Perhaps we should be looking to localize a superhero for the Islamic world.