The two largest comic book publishers in America will publish a pair of anthologies celebrating queer characters and talent for Pride month.
Hitting stores June 8, “DC Pride” will include the out crimefighters Batwoman, Aqualad, Midnighter and Apollo, Harley Quinn and John Constantine in stories crafted by LGBTQ and ally creators.
The 80-page book will also offer full-page pinups and profiles of LGBTQ characters from DC TV shows, like “Green Arrow” and “The Flash.” It will also include the first comic-book appearance of the trans superhero Dreamer, in a story written by trans actress Nicole Maines, who plays the character on the CW’s “Supergirl.”
DC will also release two LGBTQ-focused books on June 1: “Poison Ivy: Thorns,” which reimagines the Batman foe as a troubled queer teen, and Mariko Tamaki’s six-issue miniseries “Crush & Lobo,” in which Crush, daughter of the Czarnian bounty hunter Lobo, “is in full-on self-destruct mode,” DC said in a press release, “after rage-quitting the Teen Titans and blowing up her relationship with her girlfriend, Katie.”
Leading queer artists Jen Bartel, Kris Anka, Travis G. Moore and Paulina Ganucheau designed Pride-themed variant covers for some of DC’s top titles, including “Batman,” “Harley Quinn,” “Nightwing,” and “Wonder Woman.” Those will debut throughout June.
Then, on June 23, Marvel Comics will release its own LGBTQ special, “Marvel’s Voices: Pride,” the latest installment in an inclusive imprint from the company that spotlights minority characters and talent.
Some of the same artists and writers from “DC Pride” are also contributing to “Marvel’s Voices: Pride,” including Tamaki and Anka, who join industry powerhouses like Kieron Gillen, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard and Olivier Coipel.
“When I was a very closeted, very lonely kid, these characters saved my life,” Oliveira said in a statement. “It's an honor to tell stories about them and to see the kind of stories queer people can tell about queer people deepen and grow.”
“Marvel’s Voices: Pride” will include LGBTQ characters from across the Marvel universe, including X-Men characters Iceman, Northstar and Mystique, The Runaways’ Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean, and Young Avengers’ Wiccan and Hulkling.
In a statement, the company said the one-off issue would also “revisit some of Marvel’s groundbreaking moments and explore the history of LGBTQ+ inclusion and storytelling at Marvel Comics.”
Out writer James Tynion IV, best known for his work on Batman titles, will be contributing a Batwoman story for “DC Pride” with artist Trung Le Nguyen. On Thursday, Tynion tweeted praise for the anthology, saying it was important “for people to see characters they look up to, creators they look up to, and companies they look up to championing their interests.”
“In the very, VERY recent past a book like this would have been impossible,” he added. “So it's all the more special that it's here. I'm not going to pretend that it's some huge daring political act, but it still matters.”
In 2019, DC introduced The Aerie, a nonbinary antihero, in the pages of “Suicide Squad.” And in January, Jess Chambers, a nonbinary version of the Flash, debuted in a companywide crossover called “Future State,” which saw possible futures for some of their favorite characters.
Gay characters have appeared regularly in “The Flash,” “Teen Titans,” “Harley Quinn,” “The Legion of Superheroes” and other DC comic books.