DC Comics Gets Political as Midnighter & Apollo Marry Again
Today sees the publication of DC Pride 2023, with an introduction by Phil Jimenez, and the marriage of Midnighter and Apollo (again),
Today sees the publication of DC Pride 2023, ahead of Pride Month starting this Thursday. An annual celebration of queer culture, including creators and comic book characters from DC Comics, it has been accused in the past of being rather… placid. Even as some online folk damn DC Comics for publishing anything like this at all, other see the book as not going far enough, being a sop to placate those who seek both further representation and an activist mindset.
Well, this year's DC Pride does indeed go a little further. It still has the tales of everyday queer life in the DC Universe, with hookups, meet ups, and general celebration of life. But it also has more. Firstly the introduction by Phil Jimenez is bolder than anything else DC Comics has published in this vein since the days of DC Vertigo, a political polemic, talking about recent legislative moves in the USA. He writes in the introduction about the very art of writing an introduction;
"It's being printed in a comic book anthology celebrating queer joy and achievement, published by a major studio with global reach, and yet the political landscape in which it exists has grown exponentially bleak. This has been a record year for anti-LGBTQ bills in the United States. Nearly 400 have been introduced in various state legislatures targeting gender identity, seeking to block health care for trans kids, and preventing young queer people from joining sports teams, among other issues. In some states, anti-drag legislation is so severe that violating the rules is punishable by up to six years in prison. Hate crimes are on the rise. An American politician has openly advocated for transgender people to be eradicated from existence. That language is not hyperbole."
"I work in a genre that speaks regularly and loudly about justice and heroism. Indeed, DC Comics' first great superhero team was called the Justice Society of America, and its premiere team in the modern age is the Justice League of America—appellations loaded with powerful expectations of the characters who are members and the creators who craft their tales. It is nearly impossible to write or draw heroes like the JLA or JSA—or any of the great heroes from DC's incredible library of characters—and not grapple daily with the very concept of justice and what it means to act heroically, especially in situations with two equally undesirable outcomes. What do these concepts mean to us, personally and through the lens of the characters we've been hired to shepherd, shape, and protect?"
"I often think about queer representation in comics, and what that looks like in-universe and out. Is Earth Prime of the DCU a more friendly place to queer people? Are there hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced in legislatures in a world with both a Superman and a Wonder Woman? What are the queer heroes and villains on that Earth doing to protect other LGBTQ people and their rights? Are they shaping the world they live in to be more queer friendly? Or have the Justice League and the Titans and the Green Lantern Corps and the Outsiders and the Global Guardians and so many others made that Earth a more friendly place to queer people just by being in it, and merely existing in that universe is enough? And would seeking justice for all seem like activism to the people of that Earth, or just the right thing to do?"
"And what does "queer" or "queer presenting" even mean in a genre that is decidedly queer already, despite attempts to minimize or hide those values over the years? Who is queer in a universe of colorfully costumed, bigger-than-life beings with outlandish names (like drag queens) in a universe that is defiantly hopeful and mind-bending and even absurd, and where "justice for all" holds such incredible weight? I pause again while writing this and my thoughts shift to my editors and publishers at DC Comics, who have not only championed this book about queer joy and queer pride for years, but put so much of their hearts and lives into it because they believe in making the world a better, kinder place—one more welcoming and open and representative of all people and their experiences. Their advocacy for such a world makes them heroes to me. Their belief in justice for all makes them heroes to me. Their support of me—their acknowledgement of all of me—has made my life infinitely better, and this makes them heroes to me."
And then the Midnighter and Apollo story by Josh Trujllo and Don Aguillo sees the husband and husband superheroic team, fighting street battles and standing up against anti-gay protests in the streets, only for Alan Scott to try and let calmer minds prevail.
And for Midnighter and Apollo to renew their marriage vows. Live streamed across the country – the world – including the DC Universe version of Fox, Patriot News.
The first time they did this, courtesy of Gary Erskine and Mark Millar in The Authority, it made headlines. Last time Ellen DeGeneres did the honours in 2002 (it was a different time). Now it is a new queer superhero Mother Boxxx, also introduced in this issue.
Some people decry politics in comic books, without understanding what that actually is. Well… this is that. Love it or hate it, this is what it actually is. Man, I miss Hellblazer.
DC PRIDE 2023 #1 (ONE SHOT)
Written by Grant Morrison, Nicole Maines, Christopher Cantwell, Nadia Shammas, and others! Art by Hayden Sherman, Paulina Ganucheau, Stephen Sadowski, Skylar Patridge, Mildred Louis, and others! DC Pride is back again with a brave and bold and all-new collection of stories starring DC's fan-favorite stable of LGBTQIA+ characters–many of whom will find themselves in thrilling team-ups the likes of which you've never seen before! Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy go to extreme measures to get a little alone time…but there's nowhere on the planet Crush can't crash! Jon Kent gets a comprehensive course in dark magic when John Constantine sics a golem on him. Tim Drake and Connor Hawke learn that there's nothing more awkward than reuniting with an old friend after you've both come out and one of you was indoctrinated by the League of Shadows for a while. Circuit Breaker struggles to stifle his powers after the Flash of Earth-11 leaps out of the time stream and knocks them both into another dimension. Just how far would Flashlight go to honor his lost love? All these stories and many more in DC Pride 2023! This year's anthology also includes: An introduction by Phil Jimenez! A 5-page preview of Dreamer's YA debut written by Nicole Maines and drawn by Rye Hickman! A parade of pinups by Babs Tarr, Maria Llovet, Brandt & Stein, Noah Dao, Travis G. Moore, and more!
Retail: $9.99 In-Store Date: 5/30/2023