Stan Lee: Spider-Man should never be gay

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Legendary comic book creator Stan Lee has spoken out to defend Marvel – after leaked documents revealed all film versions of superhero Spider-Man are contractually banned from having gay storylines.

It was revealed earlier this month via a document leaked from Sony Pictures, which has produced five Spider-Man films since 2002, that a contract with rights-owners Marvel bans the character from being gay.

The contract states: “Mandatory Spider-Man Character Traits. Spider-Man (whether Peter Parker or an alternative Spider-Man character) must always strictly conform to the following ‘Mandatory Character Traits’.”

In addition to being male, not smoking, and not taking drugs, Spider-Man must be “not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as homosexual)”.

Of Peter Parker, who is the only Spider-Man variant to have been portrayed so far in film, the mandatory traits include: “He is Caucasian and heterosexual”.

In the comic universe, Peter Parker is just one of the people to take up the Spider-Man mantle. In recent years, Marvel introduced an alternate universe Spider-Man, Miles Morales, who is of African-American and Hispanic descent.

However, the contract appears to ban any character who takes on the Spider-Man identity from being gay – and not just Peter Parker.

Speaking to Newsarama, Spider-Man’s original creator Stan Lee said he would disagree with any gay or black Spider-Man.

He said: “I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way. But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.

“I think the world has a place for gay superheroes, certainly, but again, I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established.

He continued: “I have no problem with creating new, homosexual superheroes… it has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that.

“Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss.

“I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.”