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Olivier Coipel’s Marvel’s Voices: Pride Cover Revealed

Marvel celebrates Pride Month this year with a monumental giant-sized one-shot showcasing some of comics’ most iconic LGBTQAI+ heroes in an incredible range of stories by LGBTQAI+ superstars and emerging talent! Get a look at a brand-new variant cover for 2022’s Marvel’s Voices: Pride drawn by superstar artist Olivier Coipel. Once again lending his acclaimed talents to Marvel’s Pride Month celebration, Coipel’s extraordinary cover showcases three of Marvel’s most prominent LGBTQAI+ heroes: The mutant speedster and first openly gay Marvel hero Northstar, divine warrior Angela, and breakout Young Avenger and star of the upcoming Defenders Beyond, America Chavez.

Check out Coipel’s uplifting piece below and stay tuned for a sneak peek at Marvel’s Voices: Pride, including the reveal of the new hero debuting in its pages! 

Marvel's Voices: Pride Olivier Coipel variant cover

Preview: Archer & Armstrong Forever #1

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

Written by STEVE FOXE
Art by MARCIO FIORITO
Colors by ALEX GUIMARAES
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by BERNARD CHANG
Cover B by DAVID TALASKI
Cover C by DAN HIPP
Pre-order Cover by RO STEIN/TED BRANDT
On sale MAY 4th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties!

When Armstrong seemingly loses his immortality, Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible. Archer & Armstrong’s globetrotting quest for (more) immortality begins here!

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

Preview: Archer & Armstrong Forever #1

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

Written by STEVE FOXE
Art by MARCIO FIORITO
Colors by ALEX GUIMARAES
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by BERNARD CHANG
Cover B by DAVID TALASKI
Cover C by DAN HIPP
Pre-order Cover by RO STEIN/TED BRANDT
On sale MAY 4th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties!

When Armstrong seemingly loses his immortality, Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible. Archer & Armstrong’s globetrotting quest for (more) immortality begins here!

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

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!

Exclusive: Executive Editor Rob Levin Discusses Archer & Armstrong’s Triumphant Return!

Archer & Armstrong Forever #1 Bernard Chang cover
cover by Bernard Chang

It’s the triumphant return of Valiant‘s best friends, Archer and Armstrong! When the hard-drinking immortal Armstrong seemingly loses his ability to heal, the young and optimistic Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible…

Archer & Armstrong Forever is out May 4 written by Steve Fox, art by Marcio Fiorito, colors by Alex Guimarães, and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Covers for the first issue are by Bernard Chang, David Talaski, Dan Hipp, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, a black variant, and special 1:250 Burnt Wood variant that is yet to be revealed!

For longtime fans, this is a continuation of the duo’s adventures. For new fans, this is a perfect jumping-on point – no previous knowledge required!

Even better, the series will feature two brand-new villains!

We got a chance to take to the series’ executive Rob Levin about what we can look forward to.

Graphic Policy: Hi Rob, how’re you doing?

ROB LEVIN: I believe it was the poet, Pitbull, who said, “Every day above ground is a great day.” Happy to be talking with you today.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #1 cover by David Talakski
cover by David Talaski

GP: What can you tell us about the series that hasn’t been teased?

RL: I feel like there’s a habit, and depending on your perspective, a problem, of people trying to book various books in very specific boxes. And I think ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER is a book that a lot of people might think of in recent years as a comedy book, and assume they’re not getting anything other than jokes. But for me, A&AF has always been a book about this fantastic and unexpected friendship first, an action-adventure series second, and then a fun (and often funny) book third. I think what Steve Foxe, Marcio Fiorito, Alex Guimarães, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou are doing really emphasizes of all of the title’s strengths and even pushes in some new, hopefully unexpected directions.

And if you think you have the book figured out after issue #1, the end of the first arc is going to pull the rug right out from under you.

GP: When it comes to editing books, what does your process look like? Can you take us through a day in the life?

RL: Editing is a mixture of herding cats, scheduling wizardry, moral supportive, and creative prodding to get the right mix of elements to come out the right way, and make sure it happens on times. There isn’t a day that goes by where something isn’t on fire or there aren’t 19 things you wanted to get to but didn’t have the chance because the moving of comics never stops.

My days are both similar and widely divergent, but between each book’s unique identity, books, calls, meetings, development, and more, it’s hard to really break down a single day. I live in my inbox and my calendar, and I’m always trying to be as available and responsive as I can to people inside and outside the company. Which is a struggle because some of the best parts of the job — like reading scripts and reviewing art — require a degree of focus that you can’t deliver if you’re constantly looking at emails or responding to messages. I couldn’t live without my to-do list app (I’ve been using Things since 2008), and that and some nimble email management are the only ways I can stay on top of things.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #1 cover by Dan Hipp
cover by Dan Hipp

GP: What do you feel sets Archer and Armstrong apart from other buddy comics?

RL: It’s the odd couple pairing taken to the extreme. One is a guy who’s been around for millennia and either encountered or inspired so many myths from our past, and the other is a sheltered, naïve young man — who just happens to be one of the well-trained, highly skilled, and dangerous people in the Valiant Universe — with a giant heart. I love a Riggs & Murtaugh (or a March & Healy if you’re looking for a more recent) pairing as much as the next guy, but what I think sets A&A apart is that they really do care about each other. They’re the best of friends, and no matter how different they are, the core of their relationship is that they care about each other, not that they’re oil and water together. My love for them comes from their love for each other.

Steve’s pitch for the series had that front and center, and it tests, bends, and maybe breaks that bond, and I can’t wait for readers to experience it. If you’ve never read the book, I think you’ll find a lot to like. If you’ve read every issue, I’m confident we’re going to cover some new ground and remind you why they’re such a fantastic pairing.

GP: Archer & Armstrong has featured crazy cults and conspiracy theories, usually with a lot of humor about it all since it’s so exaggerated. Considering our reality, how can you pull that off today? Do you even try?

RL: We’re always cognizant of real-world events and how that changes how our content is viewed, but that wasn’t really something that entered into my thinking when developing this book. It’s always been like comfort food for me, a book I can read when I’m feeling down and just want to lose myself in an adventure. But while I love an exciting adventure, I don’t usually find myself reminiscing about the big set pieces or over the top action when I think back on a story. I go back to how it made me feel, and what the characters did, learned, or overcame. And that’s what draws me to A&A in the first place. I want to see how they react to the situations they end up in, but the situations aren’t what get me in the door. It’s their relationship, their interplay, and what we learn about them as a result. So while I’m super happy with the story here, I’m very invested in seeing these specific characters go through these specific events.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #1 preorder cover by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt
cover by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt

GP: Part of the magic about Archer and Armstrong is the vast difference in age between the two; we often see Armstrong at least half drunk – do you think this was a way for him to cope with the knowledge that his friends will all leave him eventually?

RL: Almost certainly. When you’ve lived as long as Armstrong has and the only people that seem to be there century after century are your brother and a number of enemies you’ve made along the way, that has to take a toll. Armstrong has the soul of a poet, and that means he’s very much in touch with his feelings and emotions. But I don’t recall ever seeing Armstrong talk about those emotions with a therapist, so I imagine he’s spent more time hiding from those emotions than processing them in a healthy way. All I’m going to say for the moment is that the Forever in the title has a number of meanings in the series, so you’ll see plenty of drinking and plenty of emotions.

GP: Armstrong’s lack of healing is bound to shift the dynamic between the duo; did you help guide [writer] Steve Foxe with the new status quo?

RL: I’d love to take more credit for this, but Steve’s pitch came in extremely well-formed. The status quo shift provided the inciting incident and a story engine for where things go from there. Having those very general things were likely part of our initial discussions, but the rest came from his brain and his love of the characters.

To bring it back to something I said earlier, the status quo shift is just the high-concept. Everything else that supported the pitch came from character and choosing the right things to explore that shift and see how that affects their relationship.

GP: Valiant has had some interesting marketing ploys over the years; the Eternal Warrior axe, Dr. Tomorrow’s Baseball, the odd beer… if you had a choice, what would you do for this series?

RL: One man’s ploy is another man’s must-have collectible. Valiant has definitely been at the forefront of innovative marketing and promotions — from chromium covers to Valiant Vision and beyond — and that’s something that remains part of the company’s DNA to this day. We’ve got some very cool promotional items planned for the series, including a 1:250 Burnt Wood variant by Marcio that might be a not-so-subtle nod to something you just mentioned… I hope we have your ear as more gets revealed.

GP: If you had to pick just one, Archer or Armstrong, which would it be?

RL: I should probably hem and haw over this, but I did an earlier interview where I tipped my hand. I’m happiest when these two are together, because like chocolate and peanut butter, it’s a perfect combo. They really do play so well off each other, and they provide such different energies and experiences. But…

I have to go with Archer. There’s something about his perspective on the world, his gentle nature, and his ability to, you know, hurt people… There’s a lot to like, with or without Armstrong. But given my druthers, I’m choosing them as a duo.

GP: Are there other characters in the Valiant pantheon you’d like to get your hands on?

RL: I think the better question is whether there are any characters I don’t want to explore at some point. I think it was our Publisher, Fred Pierce, who once referred to the Universe as “a wonderful forest,” and I think it’s an apt metaphor. You can go for a walk in the woods and take in all kinds of different scenery, plants, etc. And that’s one of the benefits of the Valiant Universe, we have so many different characters that are either built around different genres or tones, or can easily fit into them.

So yes, there are a couple dozen characters I want to tell new stories with, from heavy hitters like X-O Manowar (who I’d like to do more with) and Bloodshot to characters whose potential has yet to be fully tapped including Doctor Mirage, Divinity, and more. I also want to see us create new characters and let them explore this forest and play off the characters people already know and love. 2022 is The Year of Valiant, and so I think it’s safe to say you’ll see a number of things we’re itching to do, and we definitely have plans well beyond that.

Review: DC Pride #1

DC Pride #1

In honor of Pride Month, DC Comics dropped DC Pride #1, an 80 page anthology featuring short stories with LGBTQ+ characters by mainly LGBTQ+ creators. In addition to the stories, there’s an introduction by prominent gay comics writer Marc Andreyko (Manhunter, Love is Love) and pinups by some of the best LGBTQ+ artists (and artists period) like Sophie Campbell, Nick Robles, and Kevin Wada. The overall tone of the anthology is celebratory, but one story definitely made me tear up. I really enjoyed how DC Pride touched all corners of the LGBTQ umbrella and its exploration of how our differences make us stronger and really hope that one day all the characters featured in the book can have their own comic.

After the aforementioned introduction by Andreyko and a vibrant pinup of queer Teen Titans Aqualad, Bunker, Traci-13, and Crush from Travis Moore, DC Pride #1 leads off with a Batwoman story from James Tynion and Trung Le Nguyen. It starts with a look back at Kate Kane’s childhood, and how she didn’t conform to traditional gender roles and desires beginning with the games she would play with her sister Beth (Now the supervillain Alice) where they would pretend to be dolls complete with makeup, frilly dresses, and the accoutrements of traditional femininity. There’s almost a fairy tale cadence to both Tynion’s writing and Nguyen’s art as Kate grows up, finds love in the arms of a variety of women, and forges an identity as the superhero, Batwoman. Trung Le Nguyen’s flat reds and blacks punctuate these changes while James Tynion’s script takes a macro-level to the theme of pride as they show a montage of various queer heroes in the DC Universe fighting their battles and being themselves. This opening story is a fine encapsulation of Batwoman’s character journey and also is an ode to embracing queerness and gender conformity in a heteronormative world. Plus Nguyen’s story book style applied to superhero comics is a real visual treat.

estrano and midnighter

The next story was one of my favorites as Steve Orlando returns to Midnighter (kind of) and Extraño as the magician regales John Constantine with a tale of a night out with the violent vigilante. Orlando and artist Stephen Byrne’s story is pure fanservice and adventure in the best way with iconic visual and verbal moments like Midnighter punching a Nazi vampire’s head off and John Constantine flirting with Extraño at a bar and totally being open to a threesome with Extraño and his werewolf husband. This story is mostly made up of fun things like one-liners, magic, and mayhem. However, Steve Orlando digs a little deeper with his script and commentates on how queer history is rewritten by bigoted historians with lovers becoming relatives (Like in the original Sailor Moon English dub) or “pals” as Midnighter and Extraño fight the aforementioned vampire to stop him from casting a spell that makes people think the mythological heroes Achilles and Patroclus were cousins, not lovers. This is a very real issue, and it’s vindicating to watch Midnighter and Extraño kick the asses of those who would straight-wash history in a thrilling, beautiful way thanks to Orlando’s witty script and Byrne’s power-packed visuals.

The third story in DC Pride is a noir-tinged saga of dark alleys, fisticuffs, and political activism starring Renee Montoya aka The Question from Vita Ayala, Skylar Partridge, and Jose Villarrubia. The plot is fairly straightforward with the Question tracking down missing defense attorney and city council candidate Valeria Johnson. Partridge and Villarrubia bring the dark shadows, atmosphere, and flat background colors when Montoya puts the fear of her into some loutishly heterosexual goons. I love how Skylar Partridge uses inset panels to show Montoya’s speed and skill and match Ayala’s snappy narrative captions. The whole story looks gorgeous, and there’s also a hint of budding romance between Renee Montoya and Valeria Johnson as the latter isn’t just a do-gooder damsel in distress. It definitely feels like a backdoor pilot for a Renee Montoya Question series, and I would love to see more of this creative team fleshing her and her relationship with Valeria out.

The Question story is followed by a hilarious and touching Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy story from Mariko Tamaki, Amy Reeder, and Marissa Louise. Basically, this anti-heroic duo stop a plant monster from going on a rampage (After giving it several cute pet names.) and talk about their relationship. Underneath Louise’s candy-meets-body horror palette and Reeder’s memorable facial expressions and high-wire layouts, they chat about going from the “will they, won’t they” stage to the moving in and starting a life stage. Tamaki’s script is peppered with jokes (Including a classic lesbian U-Haul one.), but she also once and for all shows that Harley and Ivy are a well-matched, occasionally wacky queer couple, and that they’ve brought a lot of support and laughs into each other’s lives. Also, Harley’s hammer should always have a Kirby face on it.

Alan Scott and Obsidian

Full disclosure: Sam Johns, Klaus Janson, and Dave McCaig’s Alan Scott and Obsidian story was the one that made me cry. At brunch with Obsidian and his partner, the Golden Age Green Lantern opens up to his estranged son and tells him that Obsidian’s confidence to live as an out gay man encouraged him to finally come out and be his full, true self to the world. Janson uses nine panel grids, Ben-Day dots, and a command of 1940s fashion to show Alan’s secret romance with a train conductor named Jimmy and also walk down memory lane when being gay was a crime and gay bars were shuttered and didn’t have liquor licenses. As well as expanding on Alan Scott coming out in the main DC continuity in Infinite Frontier, this story is an homage to queer elders and their struggles in a world where they could be jailed or even killed holding someone of the same gender’s hand in public. It’s a beautiful intergenerational story and really made me fall in love with Alan Scott as a character even more. He’s the queer grandpa I never had.

The sixth story in DC Pride #1is a fast-moving, romantic story from Danny Lore, Lisa Sterle, and Enrica Erin Angiolini about Jess Chambers (Future State Flash) getting ready for their date with Andy Curry aka Aquawoman. This pair had fantastic chemistry in Future State: Justice League, and it’s nice to see a story centered around their relationship that also riffs on the classic Flash tropes of lateness, Rogues, and legacy. As Jess faces off against Reflek, who was trained by Mirror Master, Sterle and Angiolini get play with different panel shapes simulating the speedster trying to break free from a hall of mirrors while trying to get their outfit, makeup, and gift together. Also, it’s refreshing to see a story featuring a nonbinary character not be all about their gender identity, but focus on action and relationships like any other Flash story. Andy and Jess have a nice thing going, and like many of the other characters who appear in this anthology, I hope to see more of them, their impeccable fashion senses, and cool superpowers in future DC titles.

DC Pride #1 returns to the intergenerational queerness well in a Pied Piper story from Sina Grace, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt. They introduce a new character, Drummer Boy, who is inspired by Pied Piper to create mind-controlling beats so that he can take money from rich fat cats and save Central City’s gayborhood from gentrification, which is a very real problem in real life today. Drummer Boy calling out Pied Piper’s photo ops and not taking direct action since he’s been rich and famous is something that could be directed at many LGBTQ+ celebrities like Ru Paul, who literally uses his wealth to destroy the Earth. This issue creates a real fantasy in which LGBTQ+ celebrities help their community instead of palling around with war criminals at NFL games while Grace gets in some licks about being smart with one’s direct action and abilities when Pied Piper points out that if Drummer Boy steals money off rich people’s credit cards that they’ll just contest the charges. Drummer Boy has a real activist streak as a hero, and I love the energy that Stein and Brandt visually bring to his powers as well as not making him look like the average Ken-doll superhero body type.

The penultimate story in DC Pride #1introduces the transgender superhero Dreamer, who first appeared in the Supergirl television show, to the comics in a story written by Nicole Maines (Who played Dreamer in the show) and with art by Rachael Stott and Enrica Erin Angolini. Dreamer’s debut is a slice of story as she rushes to clean up a League of Shadows cell before rushing off to date night with Brainiac 5. Maines’ script has a cheery, humorous tone with a hilarious final panel, and Dreamer makes a lot of quips to go with Stott’s acrobatic fight choreography that is still good at showing motion even though her art style is more photorealistic. There’s a big feeling of wanting to get the fights over with so that Dreamer can spend time with the man she loves, and this story could honestly be one big metaphor for work/life balance. Dreamer makes her mark with charm and wholesomeness in the story, and her oneiromantic abilities have real visual flair.

Jackson Hyde

DC Pride #1 wraps up with a superhero spin on a big damn Pride parade with Andrew Wheeler, Luciano Vecchio, and Rex Lokus chronicling Aqualad’s first Pride since coming out with his new friend (and Extraño’s apprentice) Syl. Lokus’ colors match the tone of the story from bright and triumphant to dark and dreary as Eclipso has everyone at Pride airing out their worst thoughts and finally triumphant again with a group of DC’s LGBTQ+ superheroes led by Extraño saving the day and being the true, queer selves in the process. This story is a true victory lap, but Wheeler spends a little time in Aqualad’s head as he takes in the sights and sounds of Pride and also grapples with not wanting to be like his father, the villainous Black Manta. Even though everyone feels isolated and alone when targeted by Eclipso, there is actually a large, vibrant LGBTQ+ community of heroes in the DC Universe and hopefully they show up in stories beyond this anthology, which has honestly been a recurring theme as I read through the stories in DC Pride #1.

DC Pride #1 is a fantastic showcase not just for DC Comics’ LGBTQ+ characters, but the company’s LGBTQ+ creators too as they capture a range of relationships, feelings, sexualities, and gender identities. There’s a lot of focus on established romantic relationships, but some of the stories explore activism, community, and the Midnighter/Extrano/John Constantine is a straight up adventure yarn. I enjoyed seeing myself and my queer siblings uplifted in this comic and hope DC can do something more ongoing with these characters, situations, and especially creators.

Story: James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala, Mariko Tamaki
Sam Johns, Danny Lore, Sina Grace, Nicole Maines, Andrew Wheeler
Art: Trung Le Nguyen, Stephen Byrne, Skylar Partridge, Amy Reeder, Klaus Janson
Lisa Sterle, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, Rachael Stott, Luciano Vecchio
Colors: Jose Villarrubia, Marissa Louise, Dave McCaig, Enrica Erin Angiolini, Rex Lokus
Letters: Aditya Bidikar, Josh Reed, Ariana Maher, Tom Napolitano, Becca Carey, Steve Wands
Story: 9.8 Art: 10 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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DC Announces DC Pride Anthology and Crush & Lobo

DC has announced new releases coming to store shelves in June. DC Pride is an 80-page anthology comic featuring LGBTQIA+ characters from across the DC Universe. Crush & Lobo is a new eight-issue miniseries written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Amancay NahuelpanCrush & Lobo will launch on June 1 and DC Pride will publish on June 8. DC will also publish a series of nine Pride-themed variant covers in June, showcasing DC’s top characters as realized by the comic book industry’s leading artists.

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DCPride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

  • Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen
  • Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder
  • Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne
  • Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle
  • Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson
  • Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio
  • Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachel Stott
  • Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge
  • Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles, and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come! The DC Pride #1 cover is by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Tamra Bonvillain.

DC Pride #1

DC will also release a series of Pride themed variant covers showcasing DC’s leading characters through the month of June, giving fans the opportunity to purchase comics featuring covers with Batman, Harley, Ivy, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more, all by cutting-edge comic book artists!

  • Batman #109 Pride variant cover by Jen Bartel
  • Crush & Lobo #1 Pride variant cover by Yoshi Yoshitani
  • DC Pride #1 Pride variant cover by Jen Bartel
  • Harley Quinn #4 Pride variant cover by Kris Anka
  • Nightwing #81 Pride variant cover by Travis G. Moore
  • Superman #32 Pride variant cover by David Talaski
  • Teen Titans Academy #4 Pride variant cover by Stephen Byrne
  • Wonder Girl #2 Pride variant cover by Kevin Wada
  • Wonder Woman #774 Pride variant cover by Paulina Ganucheau

Crush & Lobo spins out of the pages of Teen Titans Academy, and will debut with a cover by Kris Anka, a Pride variant cover by Yoshi Yoshitani, a 1:25 ratio variant by Christian Ward, plus an exclusive Dan Hipp team variant for participating retailers. In this new eight-issue miniseries publishing between June 2021 and January 2022, Crush, daughter of the Czarnian bounty hunter Lobo, is in full-on self-destruct mode! After rage-quitting the Teen Titans and blowing up her relationship with her girlfriend Katie, Crush decides it’s time to finally confront her father in space jail and get her baggage sorted before she wrecks everything. Like father, like daughter?

DC will also publish GLAAD Media Award-nominated Suicide Squad: Bad Blood by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo on April 27, DC’s gothic LGBTQIA+ romance Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin on June 1, and Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani’s highly anticipated YA graphic novel, I Am Not Starfirewill publish on July 27 as part of the publisher’s overall Pride plans in 2021. Lois Lane by Greg Rucka and Mike PerkinsFar Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell and You Brought Me The Ocean by Alex Sánchez and Julie Maroh have also been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards in 2021!

AfterShock Sends Out an S.O.S. with Support Our Shops

Comic shops have been seeing added pressure, challenges, and obstacles over the past three months with COVID-19 and a downturn economy. Publisher AfterShock Comics, has announced the release of Support Our Shops (S.O.S.), a 48-page comic featuring seven stories from top creators, to be distributed at no cost to comic shops through Diamond Comic Distributors. 

S.O.S.features from some of the industry’s most celebrated creators emphasizing that fundamentally irreplaceable role played by comic shops in their lives and in the lives of fans. The title includes exclusive stories from Cullen Bunn, Stephanie Phillips, Zac Thompson, Steve Orlando, Jamie McKelvie, Jerry Ordway, and Aaron Douglas, with art from Leila Leiz, Don Kramer, Szymon Kudranski, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt, Gordon Purcell and Cliff Richards, with cover conceived and executed by David Mack.

S.O.S. will be distributed to Diamond’s top-ranked 200 AfterShock accounts, which will each receive 20 free copies (per storefront) with their 6/24 on-sale books. The next 300 highest ranked stores will each receive 10 free copies. Stores not included in this ranking may receive a number of copies upon request or through their AfterShock Ambassador.

AfterShock’s S.O.S. was created so that each comic shop can leverage the title to best suit their individual needs and goals. It can be given away free, used as a purchase incentive, put into the pull boxes of AfterShock readers, or sold directly to consumers at a suggested price to help recoup losses that may have been sustained through pandemic-related closures and events.

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