Are you seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend? (You should, because if the opening half hour shown at New York Comic-Con is any indication, this will be The Greatest Spider-Movie.) We’re even more excited for the film than before, because we’ve just learned just learned that Miles Morales’ first big screen adventure contains a fabulous literary Easter egg: a new fictional book by Black Leopard, Red Wolf author Marlon James!
We here at Tor.com were already ecstatic about Marlon James’s upcoming fantasy novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf (check out Alex Brown’s glowing review) and now we’ve learned that we have the same taste in books as Spider-Man??! This is too much. Ads for a new (fictional) book by James, Babylon Blood Cloth, can be spotted throughout the film—and they indicate a pretty sizable publicity campaign since one pops up on the roof of a taxi:
You can see a better shot of it here, if you’re not distracted by Miles flipping over the cab’s hood:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales as he attempts to adjust to life as a webslinger, while also learning about the existence of the “Spider-Verse,” many, many other Spider-People, and a nefarious plot by the Kingpin that might collapse all of the Verses into nothingness. But like all teen Spider-People, he has to balance his superhero life with life as a student, which leads to the book’s prominent cameo in Miles’ dorm room:
And yes, this is only the film’s second-best cameo, as Stan Lee’s appearance is as heartwarming as you’re hoping it will be.
The running appearances of Babylon Blood Cloth are especially fun because the book’s title seems to be a riff on James’ previous novel, the Man Booker Award-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, which revolved around a conspiracy to murder Bob Marley. Since “Babylon” is a popular phrase for Western culture in the Rastafari religion that Marley practiced, this could be a clever way to include some of James’ past work, and makes for a nice deep-cut reference for all the lit and fantasy fans in the audience.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters this very weekend, and Marlon James’ epic African-inspired fantasy Black Leopard, Red Wolf hits shelves on February 5, 2019!