DC Pride 2021

By Vita Ayala, Sina Grace, Sam Johns, Danny Lore, Nicole Maines, Steve Orlando, Andrea Shea, Mariko Tamika, James Tynion IV, Andrew Wheeler, Stephen Byrne, Elena Casagrande, Klaus Janson, Nic Klein, Trung Le Nguyen, Amancay Nahuelpan, Slylar Patridge, Amy Reeder, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt, Lisa Sterle, Rachael Stott, Luciano Vecchio & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-88456-804-6 (HB/Digital edition)

Since the 1960s and the birth of the Civil Rights Movement, comics have always been at the forefront of the battle for equality. Maybe more so in terms of racial issues at the start and not so much on gender disparity or sexual complexity, but now most print and screen superheroes work towards greater diversity and inclusion. The most noticeable strides and breakthroughs have come from industry leaders DC and Marvel, but maybe it’s just that more is expected of them…

In 2021, the former celebrated accumulated personal freedoms by collecting one-shot DC Pride #1 and select material from similarly-themed specials New Years Evil #1, Mysteries of Love in Space #1 and Young Monsters in Love #1 (cumulatively spanning 2018-2021), celebrating the infinite variety of interpersonal relationships focusing on LGBTQIA+ characters in the DC catalogue as interpreted by creators equally all-embracing.

The compilation – variously lettered by Aditya Bidikar, Josh Reed, Arian Maher, Becca Carey, Steve Wands, Tom Napolitano and Dave Sharpe – opens with a fulsome Foreword from Out & Proud bestselling author and comics scribe Mark Andreyko before we plunge into assorted antics…

James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen begin the festivities with ‘The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass’ as Batwoman Kate Kane confronts memories of her twin sister/deranged arch nemesis Alice and how her enforced solitude after Beth Kane seemingly died may have affected her own life path, after which John Constantine meets magician Extraño in a pub and starts chatting. Gregorio de la Vega was officially DC’s first openly gay super-character, debuting in weekly megaseries Millennium #2 (January 1988) and latterly as a member of The New Guardians. For ‘Time in a Bottle’ creators Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne pit him in a tall tale contest co-starring Midnighter and featuring queer Nazi vampire cultist Count Berlin

Vita Ayala, Skylar Patridge and colourist José Villarrubia then set lesbian cop Renee Montoya and her alter ego The Question on the trail of a missing politician in ‘Try the Girl’ whilst Mariko Tamaki, Amy Reeder & Marissa Louise have Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy spectacularly and near-lethally address their unique relationship problems in ‘Another Word for a Truck to Move Your Furniture’.

After being in the closet since the 1930s, original Green Lantern Alan Scott shares the story of his first love with openly out son Todd AKA Obsidian. As related by Sam Johns, Klaus Janson & colourist Dave McCaig, ‘He’s the Light of My Life!’ is a sweet romantic interlude balanced by ‘Clothes Makeup Gift’ – by Danny Lore, Lisa Sterle & Enrica Angiolini – a female wherein future Flash multitasks prepping for a date with a new girlfriend and taking down a Mirror Master knockoff Reflek

The Flash connection continues with reformed Rogue Pied Piper foiling and then mentoring social activist outlaw Drummer Boy in wry caper ‘Be Gay, Do Crime’ by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt before DCTV superhero Dreamer makes their comic book debut in ‘Date Night’, courtesy of Nicole Maines, Rachael Stott and Angiolini.

Arch villains Monsieur Mallah and The Brain prove to gay cop Maggie Sawyer that love truly comes in all forms in Orlando & Nic Klein’s moving confrontation ‘Visibility’ after which Lobo’s troubled, long-abandoned daughter Crush learns some hard truths from the wrong role model in ‘Crushed’ by Andrea Shea and Amancay Nahuelpan Trish Mulvihill…

Harley Quinn offers her particular seasonal felicitations to Renee Montoya and Gotham City in Ayala, Elena Casagrande & Jordie Bellaire’s rendition of ‘Little Christmas Tree’ prior to a host of gay heroes attending a Pride March and forming a team of their own to battle Eclipso in ‘Love Life’ by Andrew Wheeler, Luciano Vecchio & Rez Lokus.

The combination of Aqualad Jackson Hyde, Aerie, Wink, Apollo & Midnighter, Bunker, Tasmanian Devil, The Ray, Shining Knight, Steel/Natasha Irons, Sylvan Ortega, Tremor, Traci 13, Extraño, Batwoman and Crush proved unbeatable and led to them proudly declaring themselves Justice League Queer

This award-winning collection also comes with a cover gallery including 17 variant covers for DC titles during Pride Month and featuring many other out stars, crafted by David Talaski, Brittney Williams, Kevin Wada, Kris Anka, Nick Robles, Sophie Campbell, Travis Moore & Alejandro Sánchez, Jen Bartel, Paulina Ganucheau, Stephen Byrne and Yoshi Yoshitani and closes with a screen-loaded fact feature.

‘DCTV: The Pride Profiles’ offers brief interviews, and Q-&-As of LGBTQ characters in The CW shows – including Batwoman/Ryan Wilder (played by Javicia Leslie), Dreamer (Nicole Maines), White Canary/Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), John Constantine (Matt Ryan), Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and Negative Man (Matt Bomer).

Forthright, fun, thrilling and fabulous, feel free to find and feast on these comics and stories.
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