Why Miguel O'Hara Is Marvel's Most Important Hispanic Character
Fighting crime (and stereotypes) since 2099.
There has arguably never been a better time than the present to be a Hispanic/Latino comic book fan.
These days, Marvel Comics alone has numerous heroes running around their pages that readers from a Hispanic background can admire and feel represented by. Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider, America Chavez/Ms. America and even the biracial Miles Morales/Spider-Man are just a few examples.
However, while this shift is certainly a welcome one, the recent influx of high-profile Hispanic Marvel characters has resulted in an incredibly important forerunner often being overlooked by modern audiences: Miguel O'Hara.
Created by writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi, Miguel O'Hara was introduced in 1992 as Spider-Man 2099, a distant successor to Peter Parker who assumes the Spider-Man mantle in a world where most of the heroes we know and love have been forgotten by time.
One of Marvel's first major characters of Hispanic descent, Miguel is undeniably a trailblazer who helped open the door for many other Latino crime fighters. However, this is a bit of a double-edged sword since, as previously mentioned, modern Marvel readers tend to overlook Miguel's significance, effectively turning him into the publisher's unsung hero of Hispanic representation.
This is a shame too, as Miguel is not only one of the most unique and complex Marvel heroes out there, but is also arguably the New York-based publisher's single-most important Hispanic character of all time. Here's a deep dive into exactly why.
7. His Place In The Cultural Zeitgeist
Miguel O'Hara is a character who was ahead of his time in more ways than one. Years before Hispanic superheroes rose to the prominence seen today, Miguel was mixing it up on the pages of Spider-Man 2099 in the early 1990s.
Of course, Miguel wasn't the first Marvel hero from a Latino background, as a couple others do predate him, most notably Bobby da Costa/Sunspot. However, Miggy was the first Hispanic hero to star in his own major solo series at the House of Ideas.
The original Spider-Man 2099 title was the crux of Marvel's 2099 imprint and ran for a total of 46 issues, plus an annual, a special and even a crossover with the original Spidey thrown into the mix for good measure. And it could have lasted even longer, had editorial drama not led to Peter David prematurely stepping down from the book.
What's more, Miguel was the first person of Hispanic descent to take up the mantle of Spider-Man, or any Spider-hero for that matter, predating Anya Corazon by over a decade and Miles Morales by nearly two. Speaking of beating Miles to the punch, Miguel was also the first biracial Spider-Man, being half-Mexican and half-Irish.
In recent years, Miles has rightfully become one of Marvel's most celebrated champions of diversity. And his star has only risen thanks to the Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. However, it should be remembered that, at least to an extent, it was Miguel who walked so that Miles could run.
If you want an example of Miguel being an unsung hero, just consider the fact that Miles was the lead character of Into the Spider-Verse, whereas Miggy was relegated to a post-credits scene (albeit a hilariously great one.)