The Pride is a Kickstarter funded series about a group of LGBTQ+ superheroes that strives to push diverse characters into the spotlight while making comics fun again. We spoke to the man behind the mission, Joe Glass, about how the project came to be and what it was like to work with an impressive list of creatives like Kris Anka (Captain Marvel, Runaways, Uncanny X-Men), Christian Wildgoose (Batgirl, Batman: Nightwalker) and Jamal Campbell (Supergirl) to name a few!
Briefly introduce yourself to our readers and how you got into creating comics!
So, I’ve been making comics now for around 8 years, all indie and self-published so far. I kind of knew I wanted to make comics but didn’t know how, so me and few friends and colleagues kinda fumbled our way into making comics to begin with on another series. They’re the ones who convinced me to make the jump and start making The Pride actually. And, well, that’s kind of how I got into creating comics…I just started making them. It’s a bit like that Shia Labeouf video…you just got to do it! Since I started, I’ve also worked as a comics reporter, reviewer and commentator, but my true love has always been making them.
When was the moment you realised you wanted to create The Pride?
You know, it’s weird. The Pride technically had a long gestation period. I knew I wanted to make comics from when I was about 14 years old, initially I wanted to be an artist, but I just don’t have the skill for that. But I started doodling and writing about some of the Pride characters from about that time. I think the first character to come into being was FabMan, who I created when I was 16 years old, quickly followed by Wolf. Basically two polar opposite representations of gay men; the flamboyant, bright stereotype (and personally, I don’t think stereotypes in themselves are inherently bad, it’s more how they’re used) and the more reserved, very masculine type.
The why of it? I loved comics, and like, at that time I was particularly obsessed with X-Men. But I was also dealing with my own burgeoning ideas of my sexuality and identity. X-Men provided a good analogy for the queer experience, but that’s all it was…subtext and metaphor. And unintended as it was, it kinda made me feel invisible. Not to mention what few queer characters there were, they couldn’t hope to represent every kind of queer person (and that’s when those characters weren’t totally invisible anyway). So I knew that I wanted to make a comic about openly queer characters that could be there for more people in an actively visible way.
What were you inspired by when creating the diverse superhero team?
As I say, X-Men was definitely a big inspiration. Even when it wasn’t doing perfect in some areas, it was still more representative and diverse than most comics, whether people chose to notice that or not. I’d also say the show Justice League Unlimited, for this idea of an expansive world of superheroes where it could feel like each entry brought someone or something new. A lot of my other inspirations came from what little queer media there was at the time I started, like Queer as Folk (UK and US) and Will & Grace, and queer cinema, like But I’m a Cheerleader.
ANOTHER THING I WANTED TO WAS TELL ACTION-PACKED SUPERHERO ADVENTURES THAT WEREN’T TOTALLY GRIM ‘N’ GRITTY AND DARK… I JUST WANTED THEM TO BE FUN AGAIN
Tell us about the collaborative process when working with the incredible list of creators.
Oh, man, I so lucked out with the people I got to work with. Each person has been slightly different to work with, of course, but I’ve always tried to adapt the series around what they want to bring to it. It’s been very much like a community project, which is awesome as it’s very much about a community and finding your community. There’s obviously been so many, I could be here all day talking about each and every one, but I always have to give a special shout out to Gavin Mitchell who started The Pride with me, who gave the characters their looks and substance, and really we wouldn’t have The Pride without him. And there have been so many creators I feel honoured to have had the chance to work with, so I’m blessed they felt so strongly to be a part of the series too.
Aside from a progressive list of characters, what does The Pride offer readers over other superhero titles?
Well, another thing I wanted to do was tell action-packed superhero adventures that weren’t totally grim ‘n’ gritty and dark…I just wanted them to be fun again. That’s not to say The Pride shies away from big issues or talking points, but generally we approach things from a brighter, more positive standpoint that tries to remember the crazy, zany fun of superheroes. Plus, hey, we have a giant talking bear in a leather harness! How many comics can say that?
Do have plans for the future of The Pride, if so, what can readers expect to see?
There’s definitely more to come! While we are running this current Kickstarter to fund a new paperback edition of the first volume of stories, we’re also just finishing up the first issue of new content since the end of that volume. The Pride Adventures #5 will collect another batch of short, self-contained adventures, including one written by the fabulous Sina Grace. Work is also underway on The Pride volume two. I’m still working out how it will come out, and I have some hopes, but yeah, The Pride is far from over, and we will be bringing even more diversity and representation to the series than ever before.
You can help fund the Kickstarter right here or show your support for Joe on Twitter! Looking for more LGBTQ+ friendly comics? You should read our interview with Kirsten Thompson, about modern day Witches in I AM HEXED…