DC and Marvel have made efforts to add LGBT characters to their titles, but if you want real diversity, you have to go to the independents: Take The Pride, an LGBT super-team that starred in nine issues of its own title.
Creator Joe Glass launched a Kickstarter to get a hardcover collection out, and almost doubled his goal—garnering more than 20,000 pounds (or about $30,000 dollars).
From the outside, the book is a team title with Justice League-style crusaders fighting villains bent on world domination. But FabMan, Muscle Mary, Bear, Angel and the rest also battle prejudice, poor media representation and other issues affecting the community.
“The Pride is the kind of book I always wanted to see as an LGBTQ+ comic fan,” Glass tells Newsarama. “And I wanted to tell it in such a way that is accessible to anyone and everyone—regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.”
But while some creators take pains to make sure their characters don’t read “too gay,” Glass says he’s not ashamed of trafficking in stereotypes.
“I don’t see ’stereotype’ as the dirty word that many seem to think it is,” he says. “[FabMan] is camp, enthusiastic and wears a punk Lycra supersuit with hot pants. Why would I go with such a blatant stereotype?… Because we deserve a voice and representation, too… Frankly, I can be pretty darn camp a lot of the time, as are many of my friends.
Queer representation in mainstream comics ebbs and flows, he says, pointing to DC’s Midnighter by Steve Orlando as a standout. Sadly, Midnighter was just canceled, removing the only LGBT-lead comic from either DC or Marvel Comics.
“A lot of those books are vanishing, and we don’t know if we’ll see that level of representation replaced by something else,” says Glass. “Other parts of the mainstream comics seem to be wanting to hide or unwilling to admit any connection to the LGBTQ+ community at all.”