- June 9, 2021
DC Pride #1: DC Series to Greenlight
Spoilers for DC Pride #1.
A lot like DC Festival of Heroes, DC Pride is a book dedicated to representing people not represented enough in media. The LGBTQ+ community is underrepresented in superhero comics in particular. There are only two DC series out with a LGBT character in the lead, Harley Quinn and Crush & Lobo. Harley Quinn is one of the best series out right now, and Crush & Lobo is on my list. Being the only two doesn’t detract from them, but having more wouldn’t either. So first and foremost, this book is the perfect way preview series and creative teams that should be getting greenlit within the next year.
I wish I had said this about DC Festival of Heroes; anthology books should be the jumping off point for new DC series going forward. Every story in DC Pride hits, and I have a few I would especially like to see turned into series especially.
“He’s the Light of My Life,” by Sam Johns, Klaus Janson, Dave McCaig, Tom Napolitano, Amedeo Turturro
Alan Scott has been one of my favorite heroes and Green Lanterns for a long time. He’s a pinnacle of hope and responsibility, a light whose leaving was felt when he retired from Gotham and left it in Batman’s hands. It felt so fitting to learn that he’s gay. Alan isn’t a pinnacle of hope and responsibility to me because he just succeeds in having both. Alan Scott is a pinnacle of hope and responsibility because he struggles to achieve them. Whether it be his responsibility to the heroes he mentors, or the relationships with his children, Alan struggles his way to the top of the mountain.
Then he goes and climbs to the next highest peak.
DC Pride’s He’s the Light of My Life captures exactly what I love about Alan Scott. There’s a lot of sad and violent history between the first Green Lantern and his son, Obsidian. Obsidian has been portrayed as mentally unstable before, but has suffered to overcome it. In his effort to overcome, Alan has had to fight his son on numerous occasions. There’s this haunting pain to Alan’s first meeting with his son’s partner. It illuminates how Alan has failed his responsibility to Obsidian before, and must climb the mountain again.
The way father and son find the moment to reconcile doesn’t treat anything with kiddy gloves, and this isn’t melodrama. It’s an honest push and pull.
More than just representing underrepresented people on the page, you have a creative team using this father-son conversation to show why you need diverse voices making books too. The way Obsidian uses his powers not to consume and blind, but to allow his father to speak his truth, is something I’ve never scene before. The way Alan uses his ring together with his son’s power, told a story better than any construct I’ve seen before. Alan illustrated his history and his emotions, helping his son and us to understand his life’s climb in a way words could never.
This tale may be one of the more self-contained, but that doesn’t convince me that I don’t want a series dedicated to Alan Scott and his family. The only thing missing from this story is Alan saying goodbye to his son’s partner. Leaving just like that at the end was more than a little rude, Mr. Scott.
The Flash in “Clothes Makeup Gift”, by Danny Lore, Lisa Sterle, Enrica Angiolini, Becca Carey, and Michael McCalister
One complaint common with stories about minorites of race, sexuality, and gender identity is how rare it is for our stories to just be about us doing regular things. (I say “our” and “us” as being part of a racial minority, I’m not of the LGBTQ+ community). Not every story about a black person, a gay person, a trans person, an asian person, etc, has to be about a depressing experience we’ve shared. A story can just be about a minority doing the same superhero stuff a non-minority would be doing.
Most of the stories in DC Pride do this, but this one is my favorite. It takes the classic, “Don’t be late,” trope of superheroes and uses Jess Chamber’s Flash to give it new life. Seeing them prepare for their date as they solve crime is fun, first and foremost. Jess adds different facets to the same problems other superheroes have, but it just gives me this fulfilling feeling to see a different person solve them.
There’s only so many times I can see the same straight white guy try to prepare for a date he’ll be late for. There’s only so many times I can watch those same bland hero men be late.
Not to mention, the chemistry between Jess Chambers and Andy Curry is off the charts. There are pairings in comics that have been together for decades who have never fit together as perfectly as these two do. With this creative team, I believe even a series of just run-of-the-mill adventures would be an amazing series.
Jess Chambers is never late, DC is late to giving them their own Flash series though.
“Be Gay, Do Crime,” by Sina Grace, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Aditya Bidikar, and Andrea Shea
The other great thing about anthologies like DC Pride, is that they introduce people to new heroes. Did I know who the Pied Piper was? Eh, kind of. Did I care? I’ll admit it, I did not.
I do now.
It’s amazing what stories can be told with even the smallest of characters. The Pied Piper using his abilities to do something other than beat people up shows what superheroes can do. An underrated thing in this book is how so many of the resolutions don’t devolve to violence. This one does it best with the Pied Piper saving whole buildings worth of families from being evicted. It comes off as sincere, and two characters, the Pied Piper and Drummer Boy, come off as clever and earnest.
Heroes can save the day without hurting people, and mind-control powers don’t have to be so questionable.
And I want it to be remembered that this story was about the Pied Piper. I’m not trying to be insulting. I’m pointing out that he’s such an old character that’s been barely a footnote in DC’s history. He’s had this potential for so long, and now it’s no longer a secret how DC has wasted his potential.
Honestly, this whole book showcases how DC has wasted the potential of a whole lot of heroes. They can still fix that.
“Date Night,” by Nicole Maines, Rachael Stott, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Steve Wands, Diego Lopez
Come on? Of course I want Dreamer to have a solo. Her story felt like the first chapter to kick off an ongoing series. More than any of the other chapters, this one set up her past, a villain, side characters and dynamics between Dreamer and them.
And guess what? It was all really good.
The only thing about this chapter that made me upset is that it didn’t end with, “To be continued in Dreamer #1!” I have heard that this might be canon to the CW and not the main universe, though that’s unconfirmed. I would be disappointed, though there’s no reason an ongoing wouldn’t work in any universe. A President Superman series would be great in Calvin’s home universe, so I’m not terribly miffed about Dreamer being the CWverse. I do want to know other people’s opinion on this. I’m not a part of the group that Dreamer, I want their opinions on where she should be.
But that aside, DC Pride has a chapter with real action and intrigue here. Dreamer’s ability to see the future makes her feel unstoppable, but not unbeatable. The stakes are there and perfect for a ongoing series.
I want to see what Dreamer is up against with the League of Shadows. I want to know why she lied to Kara about it. Most importantly, how many times has she brought criminals handcuffed to her arm on dates before? Brainy made it pretty clear this chapter wasn’t the first time.
Bleeding DC Pride
This comic was the first of its kind, an anthology celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and DC characters a part of it. It’ll be one of the best comics of the year no doubt, but it should be a platform too.
It would be one of the year’s greatest disappointments if more of these characters don’t continue on. They all deserve it, all of they’re stories are as valid as the twenty Batman books we don’t need. DC, right the wrong here.
Here are a few you can start with. DC Pride shows that Harley Quinn and Crush & Lobo deserve company.