THIS WEEK: We celebrate the kick-off of Pride Month with DC Pride 2023!
Note: the review below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
DC Pride 2023 #1
Writers: Grant Morrison, Leah Williams, Nadia Shammas, A.L. Kaplan, Josh Trujillo, Jeremy Holt, Mildred Louis, Rex Ogle, Christopher Cantwell, Nicole Maines
Artists: Hayden Sherman, Paulina Ganucheau, Bruka Jones, A.L. Kaplan, Don Aguillo, Andrew Drilon, Mildred Louis, Stephen Sadowski, Skylar Patridge, Rye Hickman
Colorists: Marissa Louise, Tamra Bonvillain, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Dearbhla Kelly, Bex Glendining
Letterers: Aditya Bidikar, Frank Cvetkovic, Lucas Gattoni, Ariana Maher, Morgan Martinez, Rusty Gladd
Cover: Mateus Manhanini
This year, more than in previous years, DC Pride is important. This year the LGBT community has been under constant, unrelenting attack across the country, with state legislators taking away our rights and freedoms while the rest of the country looks on barely noticing. We’ve seen bigots force companies to drop their support of LGBT people. Target, a company long holding to supporting the LGBT cause has decided that acquiescing to the threats of bigots is more important than offering support to the community. I fear this type of reaction will set off dominoes and the little support the community has is going to start evaporating.
This is again why DC Pride 2023 is so important. It’s an act of defiance in the face of a world that is actively hostile. The previous two DC Pride issues have been celebrations, this book is more rebellious. From the introduction by Phil Jimenez to the tribute at the end to Rachel Pollack every page of this book is about being visible, being loud, and just being here in the face of adversity. As Jimenez notes in the introduction, from a conversation he had with Kelly Sue DeConnick being queer is about a refusal to be small.
One thing that DC Pride 2023 does is to continue the trend of these issues of making sure to highlight different queer talents than the year previous. This is a nice way to showcase that there are more queer writers and artists than people think, and really highlights our role in the industry.
Notably, this year’s issue leads off with a story from Grant Morrison, Hayden Sherman, Marissa Louise, and Aditya Bidikar. It’s nice to see Morrison included in one of these specials, because while they’ve been out as nonbinary for a few years now, they haven’t really been vocal about it. The story itself is set in the wider multiverse, Earth 36, where the universe’s Flash and Green Lantern analogs (Flashlight and Red Racer) are in a relationship. It was a story of overcoming grief with the power of love and made all the better by Marissa Louise’s vibrant color palette.
Josh Trujillo, Don Aguillo, and Lucas Gattoni provide a Midnighter and Appolo story that is all about the ways you can fight the rising tide of hatred, and boldly, on the page, makes clear that the deck is being stacked against us right now. “Protests aren’t working, the lawmakers are against us. They think we’re weak,” Midnighter declares as they face off against sign-wielding homophobes. And while Midnighter wants to fight violence with violence, Alan Scott makes an appearance to emphasize that it’s not the only way to fight. That the most important form of rebellion is to be visible, to be happy, to inspire those around us. The most powerful act of defiance is to be loud and unerasable even as they try to get rid of us.
On a less serious note, the Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Crush story by Leah Williams, Paulina Ganucheau, and Frank Cvetkovic was a lighter romp that was funny and full of heart. Harley and Ivy playing mothers to a young queer is not the kind of story I expected, and yet, it’s one that felt at home here, even with the more somber feel of the rest of the issue. A big difference between my generation and previous generations of queer people, is that my generation is the first one that is starting to see a generation of queer elders. We’re just old enough that we weathered the losses of the AIDS epidemic, and now are able to see more people living their best lives into their golden years. And with that comes the ability to provide guidance for the younger generations in a way that we were never able to have ourselves. And that’s really what this Harley and Ivy story is about, it’s about finding people like you that can help you navigate through tumultuous waters. I hope everyone can find their Harley and Ivy to guide them.
Please show DC that these stories are important to keep making and buy this comic.
- It was a lighter week for DC releases, with the only other stand-out issue being the Power Girl Special by Leah Williams, Marguerite Sauvage, Marissa Louise, and Becca Carey. This is the lead-in to the upcoming ongoing series for Power Girl, and I felt like it worked fantastically as such. Most importantly though, this issue gave me back something that I have been missing for a very long time. This issue reintroduced everyone’s favorite little ball of orange terror, Streaky, the Supercat. I am so very excited to see more of that little furry tornado, I’m happy he’s along for the ride.
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