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Ace Arrow! DC Comics Pride Month with artists/writers Brandt & Stein

DC Comics Pride Month anthology features an all ace creative team telling a story of now canonically ace Green Arrow, Connor Hawke! Artists/Writers Ro Stein and Ted Brandt join me to discuss their work. Also, for Marvel Voices Pride they’ve co-created Shela Sexton (Escapade) and Morgan Red, Marvel’s newest trans woman and transmasc nb mutants respectively.

We’ll hear about Ted and Ro’s background as artists as well as their work creating and interpretting queer characters at the big two publishers. 

Keep up with Ted on twitter at — https://twitter.com/ten_bandits and Ro https://twitter.com/RoStein404

Happy pride! 

Preview: DC Pride 2022

DC Pride 2022

(W) Danny Lore, Ivan Cohen, Devin Grayson, Greg Lockard, Stephanie Williams, Stephanie Phillips, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Travis F. Moore, Jadzia Axelrod, Dani Fernandez, Alyssa Wong, Tini Howard, Kevin Conroy, (A) Nick Robles, Giulo Macaione, Meghan Hetrick, Samantha Dodge, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Travis G. Moore, Lynne Yoshii, Zoe Thorogood, W. Scott Forbes, Brittney Williams, Evan Cagle, J. Bone
In Shops: Jun 07, 2022
SRP: $9.99

DC’s 2022 celebration kicks off with more stories, more characters, and more pride than ever before! This anthology features 13 all-new stories spotlighting LGBTQIA+ fan-favorites new and old including Superman (Jon Kent), Nubia, Tim Drake, Kid Quick, Aquaman (Jackson Hyde), Green Lantern (Jo Mullein), Alysia Yeoh, the Ray, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batwoman, and more! This special also includes:
o A Multiversity: Teen Justice kickoff story spotlighting Kid Quick and written by the miniseries team, Danny Lore and Ivan Cohen!
o An introduction by activist, actress, and real-life superhero Nicole Maines that will include a teaser for her upcoming Dreamer project!
o Pinups by P. Craig Russell, J.J. Kirby, and more!

DC Pride 2022

DC announces a partnership with PFLAG to distribute copies of DC Pride 2022

With a new Pride Month underway, DC has announced a bunch of initiatives of how they’re celebrating the month and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. DC has announced that it’s partnering with PFLAG National, the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, their parents and families, and allies, to distribute 10,000 copies of DC Pride 2022, an anthology comic featuring stories from LGBTQIA+ creators and focusing on queer characters from the DC universe, to libraries across the U.S. The partnership will give readers even more opportunities to see their stories and experiences reflected in DC’s incredible Super Heroes and Super-Villains.

Beginning on June 7, fans can pick up DC Pride 2022 comes to comic shops on June 7. Subscribers will be able to read it as part of their premium subscription to DC Universe Infinite, DC’s digital comic subscription platform. Also releasing in June are multiple new comic books featuring DC’s characters such as Poison Ivy, Jess Chambers aka Kid Quick, Nubia, DC’s new Queen of the Amazons, and Tim Drake, the third RobinYoung Adult Graphic Novel Galaxy The Prettiest Star, published on May 17, features a brand-new character to DC’s roster of queer characters, and rounds out the set of brand-new publishing titles from DC.

Free to read with registration on DC Universe Infinite beginning June 1 is a selection of DC’s award-winning and fan-favorite titles. The first issue of DC’s GLAAD Media Award-winning Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepus Chronicles along with the first three issues of 2022’s GLAAD Award-winning Crush & Lobo miniseries, DC’s 2021 Pride Anthology, Midnighter & Apollo #1, Far Sector #1 and Aquaman: The Becoming #1.

DC Shop will be offering exclusive and first-to-market tees for Pride 2022. Launching with four designs, including Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn sharing a kiss in artwork by Jen Bartel, the DC Pride hub on DC Shop will continue to roll out fun, celebratory designs all month long!

Funko, the fan-favorite collectibles company, is also celebrating Pride bringing back their Pops! With Purpose initiative releasing three rainbow Pop! editions of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Robin. In celebration of Pride, a donation has been made to the It Gets Better Project, an organization that uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the globe, as a part of the Pops! With Purpose program. Show your support and pride with the special edition rainbow collectible of DC’s Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Robin, available at collectibles stores and Walmart.

Retailer Hot Topic has dozens of DC Pride-themed graphic tees to choose from, featuring numerous DC characters including Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Midnighter, Apollo, Batwoman Kate Kane, Dreamer, Renee Montoya, Green Lantern Alan Scott and Kid Quick. The collection is currently 30% off.

And as part of its Pride Month curations, HBO Max will partner with DC to host a Super Hero Pride tray, consisting of titles from the DC Multiverse that feature characters in the LGBTQ+ community such as Naomi (premieres on 6/1), Batwoman, Harley Quinn The Animated Series, Young Justice, Constantine: City of Demons, Doom Patrol, and Peacemaker.

DC is also working in partnership with LGBTQIA+ organizations such as The Trevor ProjectFamily EqualityHuman Rights CampaignAthlete AllyMermaids (UK), Inside Out (Canada), and more, to celebrate Pride in 2022.

In June, DC Community will be hosting DC Pride Book Club discussions on stories featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. Whether you’re LGBTQIA+, an ally, or just interested in the stories and characters, everyone is welcome! DC Pride Book Club aims to be an inclusive place for all DC fans and you’ll get a cool flair when you join!

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

ICv2 – Virginia Beach Politician Files Suit to Restrict Barnes & Noble Sales of ‘Gender Queer’ – Sigh. The idiot was also busted for impersonating a judge, so quality individual.

Kotaku – New Marvel Card Game From Ex-Hearthstone Devs Plays Fast As Hell – Who’s going to play?

Review

Collected Editions – DC Pride 2021

Gender Queer

DC Pride 2022 Expands to a Fourth Cover!

DC is expanding DC Pride 2022! A new open-to-order card stock variant cover by Jen Bartel has been added to the DC Pride 2022 print run. The new Jen Bartel cover will feature a minimal trade dress version of Bartel’s highly collectible DC Pride 2022 foil variant cover featuring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. These stunning covers are in addition to a main cover by Phil Jimenez and Arif Prianto and an open-to-order wraparound variant cover by Joshua “Sway” Swaby. Local comic shops will continue taking DC Pride 2022 preorders until Sunday May 8 and all copies of the 104-page Prestige format comic will now publish in print and on digital platforms on Tuesday June 7.

With over 100 pages of original stories and content, DC Pride 2022 celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a DC Super Hero.

DC Pride 2022  Jen Bartel variant cover

Get a Sneak Peek at DC Pride 2022

DC Pride 2022’s storytellers have ambitious goals: to deliver new stories, highlight DC’s fan-favorite LGBTQIA+ characters, and show fans more pride than ever before. DC has released more details about DC Pride 2022, including an excerpt from Nicole Maines’ introduction, the addition of Kevin Conroy (the iconic voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series), J. Bone and Aditya Bidikar to an already packed roster of talent, a first look at some of the artwork coming in from the creative teams, and more. Local comic shops are taking preorders through May 1 and the 104-page Prestige format comic will publish in print and on digital platforms on May 31.

So, what’s inside DC Pride 2022? Will there be a Harley and Ivy story? Will there be a Tim Drake story? What other characters are getting a spotlight? The answers are “yes, yes, and wait and see!” but before DC reveals of the full list of talent contributing to DC Pride 2022, please take a moment to read a passage from Nicole Maines’ introduction. The author, actress and real-life superhero is on the front lines of activism and has an important message for readers:

“Representation is something that so many take for granted. But as queer people, we have always understood not only its necessity, but its power. Seeing yourself in the media you consume is validating in a way that says, “You are not alone.”

Seeing yourself in comic books, though, in your favorite superheroes, is especially powerful. It tells us that not only are there other people like us out there (something that this young trans girl growing up in rural Maine desperately needed), but that they stand alongside the very best of us.

They are the best of us.

Superheroes set the bar and they set it high. Because if you can be a superhero, you can be anything. And superheroes are categorized as such not due to their superhuman abilities, extraterrestrial origins, or truly fabulous fashion choices. They are superheroes because they stand up for what is right against any odds.

It is their courage that sets them apart.” —Nicole Maines, DC Pride 2022

DC Pride 2022

Check out all the incredible stories that DC Pride 2022 will include and the talent behind them, then scroll down for a few sneak-peek previews and more!

The DC Pride 2022 creative teams will include:

  • “Super Pride” by Devin Grayson, Nick Robles, Triona Farrell and Aditya Bidikar
  • “Confessions” by Stephanie Williams, Meghan Hetrick, Marissa Louise and Ariana Maher
  • “Special Delivery” by Travis Moore, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
  • “Are You Ready for This?” by Danny Lore & Ivan Cohen, Brittney Williams, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
  • “A World Kept Just For Me” by Alyssa Wong, W. Scott Forbes and Ariana Maher
  • “The Gumshoe in Green” by Tini Howard, Evan Cagle and Lucas Gattoni
  • “Think of Me” by Ted Brandt & Ro Stein and Frank Cvetkovic
  • “Public Display of the Electromagnetic Spectrum” by Greg Lockard, Giulio Macaione and Aditya Bidikar
  • “The Hunt” by Dani Fernandez, Zoe Thorogood, Jeremy Lawson and Aditya Bidikar
  • “Bat’s in the Cradle” by Stephanie Philips, Samantha Dodge, Marissa Louise and Lucas Gattoni
  • “Up at Bat” by Jadzia Axelrod, Lynne Yoshii, Tamra Bonvillain and Ariana Maher
  • and “Finding Batman,” a personal story by Kevin Conroy with art by J. Bone and Aditya Bidikar

With over 100 pages of original stories and content, DC Pride 2022 celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a DC Super Hero. Here’s a sneak peek into what a few of the teams will be delivering:

“Confessions” by Stephanie Williams, Meghan Hetrick, Marissa Louise and Ariana Maher
“Public Display of the Electromagnetic Spectrum” by Greg Lockard, Giulio Macaione and Aditya Bidikar
“Special Delivery” by Travis Moore, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
“Up at Bat” by Jadzia Axelrod, Lynne Yoshii, Tamra Bonvillain and Ariana Maher
“Are You Ready for This?” by Danny Lore & Ivan Cohen, Brittney Williams, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
“Think of Me” by Ted Brandt & Ro Stein and Frank Cvetkovic

DC Reveals the Joshua “Sway” Swaby DC’s Pride 2022 Wraparound Variant Cover

DC Comics‘ is celebrating Pride with a lot of releases and the publisher has revealed Joshua “Sway” Swaby‘s variant cover for DC Pride 2022.

DC Pride 2022containing all-new stories spotlighting LGBTQIA+ fan-favorites, is DC’s annual Pride-themed anthology comic. The 104-page Prestige format comic, publishing on May 31, will have an introduction by activist, actress, and real-life superhero Nicole Maines (including a teaser for her upcoming DC project!) and will feature a main cover by Phil Jimenez and Arif Prianto, an open-to-order wraparound variant cover by Joshua “Sway” Swaby, and a 1:25 variant cover by Jen Bartel. The DC Pride 2022 creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, include:

  • Alysia Yeoh and Batgirl by Jadzia Axelrod and Lynne Yoshii
  • Aquaman/Jackson Hyde by Alyssa Wong and W. Scott Forbes
  • Green Lantern/Jo Mullein by Tini Howard and Evan Cagle
  • Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy by Dani Fernandez and Zoe Thorogood
  • The Ray by Greg Lockard and Giulio Macaione
  • Superman/Jon Kent by Devin Grayson and Nick Robles
  • Tim Drake by Travis G. Moore
  • and more to come!

DC’s Pride anthology comic will also include contributions from J. Bone, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, Samantha Dodge, Brittney Williams, and others; and new pinups by P. Craig Russell, J.J. Kirby, and more. With over 100 pages of original stories and content, DC Pride 2022 celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a DC Super Hero.

DC Reveals its Pride Month Plans

DC is celebrating Pride Month in June with new releases, new trades, and more. The celebration will be available at local comics shops, bookstores, libraries, and beyond this June with more stories, more characters, and more pride than ever. In addition to DC Pride 2022, a new 100+ page Prestige format annual anthology comic, in the coming months DC will also publish a new young adult graphic novel, launch three new comic book series, publish a new Tim Drake special, feature DC Pride variant covers on multiple series, deliver a new slate of books to readers everywhere, and turn a spotlight (the Bat-Signal, too!) on the World’s Greatest Super Heroes.

In the book market and available everywhere books are sold, Galaxy: The Prettiest Star from writer Jadzia Axelrod and artist Jess Taylor will publish on May 17 to introduce entirely new characters to DC’s pantheon of heroes. DC can’t wait for you to meet Taylor, the Galaxy Crowned, and so is delivering Galaxy: The Prettiest Star FCBD Special Edition 2022 #1, a free preview on Free Comic Book Day of the young adult graphic novel about gender identity, romance, and shining as bright as the stars, to your local comics shop on May 7. It takes strength to live as your true self, and one alien princess disguised as a human boy is about to test her power!

DC Pride 2022containing all-new stories spotlighting LGBTQIA+ fan-favorites, is DC’s annual Pride-themed anthology comic. The 104-page Prestige format comic, publishing on May 31, will have an introduction by activist, actress, and real-life superhero Nicole Maines (including a teaser for her upcoming DC project!) and will feature a main cover by Phil Jimenez and Arif Prianto, an open-to-order wraparound variant cover by Joshua “Sway” Swaby, and a 1:25 variant cover by Jen Bartel. The DC Pride 2022 creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, include:

  • Alysia Yeoh and Batgirl by Jadzia Axelrod and Lynne Yoshii
  • Aquaman/Jackson Hyde by Alyssa Wong and W. Scott Forbes
  • Green Lantern/Jo Mullein by Tini Howard and Evan Cagle
  • Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy by Dani Fernandez and Zoe Thorogood
  • The Ray by Greg Lockard and Giulio Macaione
  • Superman/Jon Kent by Devin Grayson and Nick Robles
  • Tim Drake by Travis G. Moore
  • and more to come!

DC’s Pride anthology comic will also include contributions from J. Bone, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, Samantha Dodge, Brittney Williams, and others; and new pinups by P. Craig Russell, J.J. Kirby, and more. With over 100 pages of original stories and content, DC Pride 2022 celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a DC Super Hero.

But DC’s Pride plans aren’t limited to June! In addition to DC Pride 2022, the following comics will launch during Pride Month and continue through the year:

Poison Ivy, by G. Willow Wilson and Marcio Takara, with covers by Jessica Fong (main), Warren Louw (open-to-order variant and 1:100 foil variant), Nick Robles (1:25 variant), Frank Cho (1:50 variant), and Dan Mora (team variant), launches on June 7. In her new series, Ivy leaves Gotham City and sets out to complete her greatest work—a gift to the world that will heal the damage humanity has dealt to it! DC is proud to present the unbelievable next chapter in Poison Ivy’s ever-growing library in a six-issue story arc by the incredible creative team of G. Willow Wilson and Marcio Takara.

Poison Ivy

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons, a new series by Stephanie Williams, Alitha Martinez, and Mark Morales, with covers by Khary Randolph (main), Jae Lee (open-to-order variant), and Alitha Martinez (1:25 variant), debuts on June 7. Taking place right after the Nubia: Coronation Special, a second miniseries for the fan-favorite Amazon begins! You won’t want to miss the exciting new adventures of the one true queen, brought to you by the creative team behind Nubia & the Amazons—writer Stephanie Williams and artist Alitha Martinez! Williams, Martinez, and Morales’s new series is planned for four issues.

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons

DC Pride: Tim Drake Special, by Meghan Fitzmartin, Belén Ortega, and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, with covers by Ortega (main) and Travis Moore (open-to-order variant), collects the breakout story from Batman: Urban Legends in one volume for the very first time! This 64-page one-shot comic arriving on June 14 also features a brand-new story that sees Tim teaming up with his former Young Justice teammates and the Batgirls! Tim Drake’s 2022 path starts here!

Multiversity: Teen Justice by Ivan Cohen, Danny Lore, Marco Failla, and Enrica Eren Angiolini, with covers by Robbi Rodriguez (main), Stephanie Hans (open-to-order variant), Bengal (1:25 variant), and Failla (1:50 variant), features Kid Quick—the Future State Flash—and the other young heroes of Earth-11. Launching on June 7, the secrets of Earth-11’s newest heroes and villains unfold in DC’s most exciting new team title! And what role will the mysterious Raven—the brooding hero who has refused to join the team in the past—play in the brand-new series? Cohen, Lore, Failla, and Angiolini’s new series is planned for six issues.

Multiversity: Teen Justice

Throughout DC’s line of monthly comics, DC’s 2022 Pride-themed variant covers will feature artwork by Amy Reeder (Batman #124), David Talaski (Superman: Son of Kal-El #12), Derek Charm (Action Comics #1044), Joe Phillips (Aquamen #5), Kevin Wada (Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #1), Kris Anka (Poison Ivy #1), Nick Robles (Nightwing #93), Nicole Goux (Wonder Woman #788), Olivier Coipel (Harley Quinn #16), Stephen Byrne (Multiversity: Teen Justice #1), and more.

New DC books arriving in the coming months to add to your TBR piles, pull lists, DC Pride book clubs, in-store Pride displays, and to share with friends on TikTok will include:

  • DC Pride 2021 (4/26)
  • Galaxy: The Prettiest Star (5/17)
  • Crush & Lobo (5/17)
  • Midnighter: The Complete Collection (5/24)
  • Aquaman: The Becoming (5/24)
  • Batman: Urban Legends Vol. 2 (5/24)
  • Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth (5/31)
  • DC Poster Portfolio: DC Pride (5/31)
  • Doom Patrol by Rachel Pollack Omnibus (7/5)
  • Harley Quinn: The Animated Series – The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour Vol. 1 (8/30)

DC’s award-winning backlist of bestselling titles featuring LGBTQIA+ characters can be purchased everywhere books are sold:

  • Batwoman: Elegy
  • Batwoman: Haunted Tides
  • DC Comics: Bombshells
  • Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles
  • Gotham Central Omnibus
  • Harley and Ivy: The Deluxe Edition
  • Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
  • I Am Not Starfire
  • Poison Ivy: Thorns
  • Suicide Squad: Bad Blood
  • The Low, Low Woods
  • You Brought Me the Ocean
  • and more!

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2021

Even though it was a shitty year overall, I found some great comics to enjoy in 2021, both old and new. Beginning with its “Future State” event, DC easily shot up to become my favorite mainstream publisher thanks to its renewed focus on different visual styles instead of a Jim Lee-esque art style and its emphasis on LGBTQ+ characters even after Pride Month. Vault and Image continued to be the homes of both my favorite creators and SF stories, and AWA, Dark Horse and even Black Mask and Archie had titles that surprised me even if they didn’t make the cut on this list. Finally, continuing a trend that I jumped on in 2020, I continued to read or revisit classic comics (Both old and new) in 2021, like Copra, Invincible, The Umbrella Academy, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman: True Amazon, The Invisibles, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Force, Hawkeye, and Black Bolt among others.

So, without further ado, here are my ten favorite comics of 2021

10. Alice in Leatherland (Black Mask)

Alice in Leatherland is a wholesome, sexy, and hyper-stylized slice of life romance comic from the creative team of Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli. The book is about Alice, a children’s book writer, who leaves her small town for San Francisco when her girlfriend cheats on her and captures the fear and adrenaline of taking a big step in your life. The series explores sex and love through an expansive cast of LGBTQ+ characters that I wanted to spend more than five issues with. Romboli uses fairy tale style visuals as a metaphor to examine Alice’s feelings and self-growth throughout the series, and she excels at depicting both the hilarious and erotic. Alice in Leatherland is an emotional, funny read with well-developed queer characters and made me immediately add Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli to the list of creators I’ll read anything by.

9. The Autumnal (Vault)

The Autumnal by Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, and Jason Wordie was the most unsettling comic I read in 2021. The book follows Kat Somerville and her daughter Sybil as they leave Chicago for the town of Comfort Notch, New Hampshire. However, this town isn’t a rural oasis, but incredibly creepy. Kraus’ script unravels the foundation of blood that the town is built on while Shehan and Wordie create tension with the fall of the leaf or a crackle of a branch. I also love how fleshed out Kat is as she deals with being an outsider in what turns out to be an unfriendly space with her parenting style and approach to life being critiqued by her neighbors. Finally, The Autumnal is the finest of slow burns beginning with NIMBY/Karen-like behavior and then going full-on death cult. It’s a must read for anyone who has lived or experienced a place where time seems to stand still, or who thinks a NextDoor app post could be the basis of a good horror story.

8. The Joker (DC)

Contrary to its title, James Tynion, Guillem March, Steffano Rafaele, Arif Prianto, and others’ The Joker isn’t a comic looking at the Clown Prince of Crime’s inner psyche, but is a globe-trotting P.I. type story featuring Jim Gordon trying to capture the Joker for some folks that looks shadier and shadier as the story progresses. Tynion and (predominantly) March show the effect Joker has had on Gordon’s life and his family while also showing him discover himself outside the bounds of Gotham and its police department. As the series progresses, The Joker shows the impact that Batman and his rogue’s gallery have had on the rest of the world, and the ways governments, intelligence agencies, and more nefarious organizations deal with threats of their ilk. Along with a crime novel set in present time, James Tynion, Matthew Rosenberg, and the virtuosic Francesco Francavilla created several flashback comics showing the development of Jim Gordon’s relationship with the Joker over the years, and how it effected his family life and career almost acting as a “Year One” for Gordon as Francavilla’s art style shifts based on the era the story is set in. Plus most issues of Joker feature colorful backup stories with Harper Row trying to bring Joker’s newest ally Punchline to justice in and out of prison from Tynion, Sam Johns, Sweeney Boo, Rosi Kampe, and others.

7. Kane and Able (Image)

Kane and Able is a dual-cartoonist anthology featuring work by British cartoonists Shaky Kane and Krent Able. Kane’s stories flow together in a Jack Kirby-meets-David Lynch kind of way blurring the lines between fiction and metafiction, reality and unreality while also acting as an opportunity for him to draw cool things like dinosaurs, space women, aliens, the King of Comics, and even himself. Able’s stories have more of a grindhouse, body horror quality to him as a chainsaw-wielding Bear Fur battles a boom box wielding cockroach woman, who flesh bonds everyone in a listless, major city. Both creators have delightful, distinctive styles and put their own spin on genres like sci-fi, exploitation, and superhero. Kane and Able is free-flowing, clever, and most of all, fun and is tailor made for the larger page format of treasury editions.

6. Static Season One (DC/Milestone)

As far as pure visuals go, Static Season One by Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and ChrisCross was easily one of the best looking books on the stands in 2021. This was in addition to reinventing the iconic Black superhero through the lens of contemporary social movements, like Black Lives Matter and protests against police brutality in summer of 2020. Static Season One doesn’t merely pay homage to the classic Milestone series, but brings it into 2021 with fight sequences straight out of the best shonen manga and a three dimensional supporting cast that holistically explore the Black experience in the United States while also being a coming of age and superhero origin tale. Draper-Ivey’s character designs are sleek as hell, and his high energy approach to color palette adds intensity to fight and chase scenes. I’m excited to see what the talented creative duo of Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey bring to Static’s journey as Season One wraps up and Season Two (hopefully) begins in 2022.

5. Renegade Rule (Dark Horse)

Renegade Rule is an original graphic novel from Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck that is a perfect fusion of a sports manga and a queer romance story set in the world of competitive video games. Even if you’re like me and have only attempted to play Overwatch a single time, Renegade Rule and its world are quite accessible via things like hypercompetitiveness, sexual tension, and breathtaking fight choreography. The in-game sequences are almost like musical numbers and use shooting, sniping, and various acrobatics to make characters’ unspoken thoughts real. Renegade Rule is like if your favorite sports movie and romantic comedy had a gay baby who loved kicking ass at video games, and I pumped my fist every time the Manhattan Mist overcame adversity or overwhelming odds and smiled when certain characters ended up with each other…

4. Echolands (Image)

After a four year absence from interior art, co-writer/artist J.H. Williams III didn’t mess around with Echolands, a love letter to both genre fiction and double page spreads. Done in collaboration with co-writer Haden Blackman and colorist Dave Stewart, Echolands is an epic fantasy quest loaded up with all kinds of genres and art styles leaking off the page and was one of the most immersive comics I read in 2021. It has a sprawling cast and world, but Blackman and Williams know when to slow down and dig into Hope Redhood and her allies and antagonists’ motivations and when to drop in a multi-page underwater or underground chase sequence. With its unique landscape layouts and all the details in J.H. Williams and Stewart’s visuals, Echolands is definitely a book worth picking up in physical format and has backmatter that both humorously and seriously adds to the worldbuilding.

3. DC Pride (DC)

In honor of Pride Month, DC Comics put some of its most talented LGBTQ+ creators on its most iconic LGBTQ+ characters in a super-sized celebration of overcoming adversity, being yourself, and loving whoever you want to love. DC Pride covered a spectrum of sexual and gender identities from a fast-paced date night story featuring the non-binary Flash, Jess Chambers, to James Tynion and Trung Le Nguyen’s fairy tale influenced story of Batwoman’s younger days and even the first appearance of transgender superhero Dreamer (From the Supergirl TV show) in the comics. Depending on the character or creative team, the different stories could be adventurous and flirtatious, heartfelt and emotional, or a bit of both. This book shows that superhero comics have come a long way since the stereotypes of the 1980s and 1990s, but there’s still room for improvement as many of the characters featured in this anthology are relegated to backup stories or are supporting cast members of cisgender, heterosexual heroes.

2. Barbalien: Red Planet (Dark Horse)

Barbalien: Red Planet is a masterfully crafted, queer rage infused superhero/sci-fi comic from Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire. It understands subtext is for cowards and draws parallels between Barbalien coming out as gay and a Martian with his new friend/potential lover Miguel, who is a Latino activist fighting for the US government to do something about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Barbalien: Red Planet pays homage to the Black and Latinx activists who fought for queer liberation and is also an emotionally honest character study for Barbalien, who is easily my favorite character in the Black Hammer universe. Lemire, Brombal, and Walta use the superhero and sword and planet genres to explore the conflict between queer folks and power structures as Barbalien struggles with trying to fit into Spiral City as a white cop or being his true, gay Martian self. And to get personal for a second, Barbalien: Red Planet inspired me to speak out against my city’s Pride organization’s open support of police even though it led to me resigning as chairperson of my work’s LGBTQ+ employee affinity group. It’s both a damn good superhero book and a story that had a huge impact on my life in 2020-2021.

1. Die (Image)

My favorite comic of 2021 was Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans that wrapped up with the mother of all quest arcs. But beyond having cool fantasy landscapes and wrapping up each party member’s arc, Die nailed the importance of stories, whether games, comics, films, prose, TV shows etc., to change how we view and interact with the world in both a heightened and realistic manner. Most of the realism came in Die #20 where the main characters escape the world of the game into our reality with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing and have emotional reunions with loved ones or just hang out by themselves. However, the final arc of Die also is full of existential nightmares courtesy of Hans’ visuals as well as awakenings and self-realization, especially in Die #19 where Ash comes out as non-binary and discusses how games and fiction shaped their identity. The final issues of Die is a double-edged look at the power of narrative and games to shape us done in both glorious and surprisingly intimate fashion, and I felt I really knew Ash, Matt, Angela, Isabelle, Matt, Chuck, and Sol in the end.

Honorable Mentions: Casual Fling (AWA), Nightwing (DC), Made in Korea (Image), Barbaric (Vault), Superman and the Authority (DC), Catwoman: Lonely City (DC/Black Label)

Around the Tubes

Batman #108

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing as things open up? Sound off in the comments below!

The Seattle Times – The Washingtonians behind ‘We Hereby Refuse’ take us inside this story of Japanese American resilience – Not sure if this graphic novel was on our radar. Might need to check it out.

The Comichron – Batman #108 leads May 2021 projected rankings; December 2020 also added – For those that enjoy the race.

Book Riot – 4 YA and Middle Grade Graphic Novels Featuring Some of Your Favorite Heroes – What suggestions do you all have?

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Excavate GIRLS DON’T LIKE DINOSAURS now! – Free comics!

Review

Geek Dad – Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries #1-3
Batman News – DC Pride #1
Geek Dad – The Delicacy
The Beat – The Good Asian #2

Zeismic
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