Heroes come in all colors, genders, and sexual identities. If you’re human, you have the potential to defend the innocent and fight the good fight. The Pride is a series where LGBTQ+ people are superheroes, giving the diversity of the real world a spotlight in meaningful ways, and including the traditionally marginalized in heroic roles. Fabman, Wolf, Muscle Mary, Twink, The Stand, Frost, Angel, Bear, and Cub all unite in the first volume, The Pride Season 1 available right now at ComiXology or in print available at here.
As of Wednesday, June 5, 2019, writer Joe Glass and artist Cem Iroz kicked off Season 2 of this series as a part of ComiXology Originals, ComiXology’s program to release creator-owned comic books and graphic novels digitally. I got the opportunity to speak with Glass about The Pride, their beginnings in Season 1, as well as what’s to come in Season 2.
James Portis: The Pride is an LGBT+ team with no shame in showing off their gender, and sexual identities. What inspired you to create this world, and why was this level of representation important to you?
Joe Glass: I just felt that there wasn’t much authentic representation of my community out there in mainstream superhero comics, despite there being in fact a large queer fandom for the genre. There’s plenty of allegory and metaphor, but that can only go so far, and doesn’t legitimately lead to people feeling seen. I felt it was about time we open, positive representation and that also shows parts of the community that the mainstream steers clear of.
JP: Season 2 has returned The Pride to us, launching in Pride month. Was this planned, or just a happy coincidence? Additionally, would this season’s events, and the return of The Pride itself be as impactful had it not launched during Pride Month?
JG: I mean, I would hope the story would be impactful, no matter when it was released. I think it’s a fun coincidence to relaunch the series in Pride Month, and an idea that I wish that I’d come up with before! Though I have to say, this wasn’t my idea so much as the brilliant people at ComiXology’s.
JP: In the first issue, we see the consequences of outing someone’s sexual identity without their consent. This has been a major issue in LGBT+ spaces, as well as being controversially handled in mainstream comics. Why was this issue important to you to bring to the forefront when opening this new season?
JG: Well, it was a coming out experience that I hadn’t seen much of in comics yet, and one we hadn’t tackled in The Pride. I felt it also spoke a lot to FabMan’s character too, as someone who means well but often puts his foot in it. I think sometimes, in modern cancel culture, in a world where there is a lot of concerning stuff aimed at our community, there’s a habit to get explosive over someone who makes a mistake. I felt that scene maybe presents with a time when someone can be wanting to do good but accidentally muck it up, and also highlights just how damaging having your personal agency removed in such a decision. This is a theme we’ll be coming back to in the series too.
JP: Season 1 ended with the acceptance of The Pride, by the community at large, and within the team. They defeated the evil of bigotry in season 1, what sort of things can we look forward to in Season 2? Are you planning to tackle additional timely issues facing the LGBT+ community now?
JG: Well, for one, the fact you said the series ended with acceptance is an important thing to note. Are they accepted? Does acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, or perceived acceptance, mean that the fight is over? Or will the mainstream culture turn on them? I think that’s a timely issue right now, especially in Pride Month, and when we see people arguing for a ‘Straight Pride’ or that there is no need for LGBTQ+ Pride events anymore, etc.
But yeah, with The Pride, I also hope to raise issues that are not often covered in comics, or that get viewed as just ‘gay issues’ when, yes, they might primarily involve or affect queer people, but anyone can understand them if presented with the point of view. And this isn’t new in comics. It regularly happens! It’s just with The Pride I will try and present issues like HIV awareness, our trans siblings and the way the media reacts to the LGBTQ+ community.
JP: You’ve just revealed the new costumes for the characters. With these new threads being more reflective of who they’ve become during Season 1, what kind of character growth can we expect to see as these characters come more into their own, and move out of the mainstream parallels you’ve drawn in the first season?
JG: Mainly I hope we’ll be showing the team stepping up a bit as a globally recognized group of heroes, but they also have their own lessons to learn. We’ll see some of the team see a growing appreciation for patience, acceptance and also being their true, authentic selves. We’ll also be having some major revelations and changes for the main cast going ahead too, so readers should be ready for a few twists and turns.
JP: You bring up the idea of expanding The Pride to include non-LGBT members, and this becomes a major point of conflict within the team. In the course of the discussion, you suggest that The Pride should be fully inclusive and accept straight heroes, thereby being more accepting than the general public was to the LGBT+ heroes in Season 1. Is that inclusion an important message of acceptance? Do you worry that this will turn off readers looking for explicitly LGBT+ representation?
JG: I would hope that it doesn’t as The Pride has never been about presenting LGBTQ+ superheroes in an exclusionary or segregation kinda way. Hell, Cub is a team member who generally identifies as straight, so we’ve always had straight, ally members. The importance is that the allies don’t become more important than the community they are trying to help. The Pride will never become a book where the core team is primarily straight allies, it simply never will; but also, I don’t believe separating us from our brothers and sisters outside of the community is going to help. We all need to work together to make this world a better place, and that’s something I hope comes across with The Pride.
JP: The Pride is now available through ComiXology Originals, congratulations! That is awesome news. Does this new territory for the comic mean that we can hope for additional expansion in this series, and can you give us any hints about that?
JG: Well, the future obviously all depends on this season doing well! So if people would like to see more, they’ve really got to show it by checking out the series now. I certainly hope to do more. I have many ideas for seasons to come, and other things I’d like to do with The Pride, so all things being equal, I would love to keep The Pride coming through ComiXology Originals well into the years to come.
JP: One last question for you, and it’s kind of a fun one. As the Creator of The Pride, do you have a favorite character to write? Do you ever find that these characters influence your decisions in real life?
JG: FabMan. I love writing him because I think he’s a lot like me, and lot like some friends of mine, and I think he’s the kind of voice that gets shot down or derided a lot, by those within the queer community as much as outside of it. There’s a really sad and sometimes aggressive push back to camp, flamboyant voices and presentation, and it stems from a lot of misogyny and toxic masculinity that is a major problem in the gay community and beyond. To have a character who fights back against that so clearly, it’s always a joy to write. Plus, I have a habit of putting my foot in it just as much as Fabs does, so he can be very therapeutic.
And influence me? Well, anyone who’s seen me at a show has seen my increasingly flamboyant lewks I serve from behind the table, so I’d say that’s a bit of FabMan’s unashamed and unabashed pride leaking out from the page and into my life too.
Thanks so much to Joe Glass for taking some time to talk with me about his series The Pride. You can buy Season 1 of The Pride, Season 1 of The Pride Adventures, as well as issue #1 of The Pride Season 2 right now as a part of ComiXology Originals.