Pride Profile: Marc Andreyko. In 2004, DC Comics relaunched Manhunter with a new hero and a writer that would prove capable of creating complex, entertaining, modern comic book super hero stories. If Marc Andreyko had stopped with creating Kate Spencer and an openly gay relationship for Obsidian he would have done enough to earn his spot in DC History as a prominent gay writer. But, he wasn’t done. He would go on to helm titles staring Batwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman as well as organizing DC and IDW Comics celebration of the LGBTQ community Love is Love created in answer to the horrific attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Pride Profile: The Ray. The son of the Golden Age Ray, Raymond Terrill was literally kept in the dark to prevent his light-based powers from activating when he was too young to handle them. And, it is an impressive array of powers from light rays, hard light constructs, invisibility, light healing, and law breaking faster than light speed flight. Created by Jack Harris and Joe Quesada for The Ray #1 in 1992, the hero would appear as a member of the Justice League, Young Justice, the JSA, and naturally Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. The Ray’s Justice League Rebirth issue highlights some of his struggles as a young gay man isolated from society.
The Ray has also appeared in the CW’s Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Earth-X,” where he is married to an alternate earth version of Captain Cold, Len Snart. Russel Tovey reprises his role as The Ray in CW Seed’s animated show Freedom Fighters: The Ray which pits the gay superhero against Nazis.
When it comes to mixing Pride representation with a cracking good story, Gail Simone’s three volumes of Secret Six is tough to beat. Let’s give this writer some love for these characters.
Pride Profile: Scandal Savage. Retractable claws, able to regrow organs, considers a sometimes dysfunctional team a family, of course we’re talking about Scandal Savage. A Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham creation for 2005’s Villains United, Scandal is best known as a mercenary often at odds with her immortal father Vandal Savage. Scandal organizes the third iteration of the DC team the Secret Six in three highly entertaining comic series. Not completely villains, but certainly not heroes, the Secret Six are just trying to make a buck in the gray space between. Scandal displayed her skills as a ruthless strategist when she used her girlfriend, Knockout, to infiltrate the Secret Society of Supervillians.
Living dangerously finally caught up to Knockout, who was killed by an unknown assailant. After climbing into, and eventually out, of a bottle Scandal found love with Liana Kerzner, a Knockout look alike. Which could have been a problem when Knockout returned from the dead, if the women hadn’t decided that all three could be in love.
Pride Profile: Catman. Gail Simone just wouldn’t admit that Catman was a gimmick character that had no business in more serious modern comics. Created as a big game hunter and thief by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney for Detective Comics #311, Blake had been used and abused and left for dead over the decades. That is until Simone and Dale Eaglesham brought him back as a bad, buff, bisexual friend of big cats. Thomas Blake immediately jumped off the pages of Villians United as a new and exciting version of this once played out character. Catman would go on to become pillar of Gail Simone’s fantastic Secret Six series. In the course of his work with this team of mercenary misfits, Blake would come to fully inhabit the role of the anti-hero operating by his own moral code.
Pride Profile: Jeannette. Born into poor Hungarian nobility centuries ago, Jeannette was sent to live with a countess who was a serial killer, things actually go down from there. Eventually, this Gail Simone and Nicola Scott creation would become a banshee with superhuman strength, the ability to sense the presence of death, and a death wail. Introduced in Secret Six #3, Jeannette and Deadshot had a tumultuous affair that caused Simone to say “Jeannette was so busy doing Deadshot all the time, people forgot she’s bi!”
Pride Profile: Porcelain. So, what’s Gail Simone’s secret agenda? I’m pretty sure it’s telling awesome comic stories that depict a broad spectrum of humanity. She is sneaky that way. And, she did it again with Porcelain in Secret Six #1 (2015). Introduced looking feminine as Kani, Porcelain is trapped with Catman and the rest of a newly reconstituted Six at the beginning of the series. The same character dramatically changes their appearance to a more masculine look in issue #4 forcing ‘Kevin’ to reintroduce themselves. Porcelain explains to Catman “Look….Some days I feel like a girl…other days, not so much.” Porcelain has the ability to make things brittle, and takes advantage of it with a sledge hammer. This gener-fluid character has expressed attraction to both Catman and Jeannette.
Pride Profile: Savant. This Gail Simone and Ed Benes creation debuted in Birds of Prey #56 as a one-time vigilante, turned to crime, turned back to vigilantism under Oracle’s direction. Genius, martial arts master, computer whiz with a facility for languages, Savant also has a chemical imbalance in his brain that effects how he processes information. That included the fact that his confident and bodyguard Creote was in love with him. Babs convinced Creote to tell Savant, and when he does they’re both surprised that Savant reciprocates. For more Savant, check out the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie.
Pride Profile: Neal Pozner. Comic fans are well aware of the names of artists and writers, but the other creative talents that build our favorite universes often go unrecognized. Pozner worked for DC Comics first as a design direct and later as a Group Editor, Creative Services. In the latter role, Neal hired such talents as Stuart Immonen, Travis Charest, Gene Ha, and Phil Jimenez who would later become his partner. Neal also wrote the 1985 Aquaman miniserties and designed the character’s famous blue camouflage costume. But, Pozner’s impact goes well beyond DC Comics. He designed the first gay-themed bus ads for New York City, posters for Lincoln Center, and incorporated DC Comics characters into a series of AIDS awareness ads. When Neal Pozner passed away from complications from AIDS in 1994, he left the world a better place than he found it.
Thank you for putting this together. Loved learning about the creators all in one place. I’m going to go back and watch some videos that you linked.
Absolutely in agreement with this. I understand the value and desire of researching the creator’s intentions and learning about their influences, life, and environment. Some of the things I like are 80-100+ years old, the times have changed and we shouldn’t take things out of historical context. That being said, everyone does have a different mindset and art strikes every person differently. If an artistic interpretation helps me better conceptualize my life in a meaningful way, it doesn’t bother me if that wasn’t the artist’s intention. I think the purpose of art and creation is to help us express or feel, and for enjoyment.
100% agree, like the “better conceptualize my life” that’s a very nice way of putting it.
As an artist, what better compliment than someone taking what you created and drawing from it for their life, whether that’s exactly what you meant or not.
Hey, msgtv! This is a great thread btw!
Anyway, I’ve watched and/or read quite a bit but here’s this stuff.
Ps. I haven’t looked too hard, but I can’t find this yet and would like to watch it.
Sure, just two guys under sun lamps
Pride Profile: Dr. Victoria October. “I’m probably the foremost expert in post-human bioweaponry on the planet. Welcome to my evil lair.” The brilliant Dr. October was created by James Tynion, Marguerite Bennet and Ben Oliver for Detective Comics #948 and the Night of the Monster Men story arc. A consultant for A.R.G.U.S., Dr. October keeps a lid on Monstertown and worked with Clayface attempting to find a cure. On the personal side, she dealt with depression, self-doubt and a prickly personality before announcing she was a transgender woman. Transitioning didn’t exactly solve all her problems but it did give her a new sense of confidence. She did however get a congratulations card from Batman. Tynion and Bennet use Dr. October’s work with monsters and her being transgender to explore issues surrounding identity. You can also find a Russian version of Dr. Oktober in D.C. Bombshells.
Pride Profile: Ivan Velez Jr. When asked what made him want to be an artist, Velez gave the answer those of us who are old enough can relate to: “My mom, if I was good, would buy us ten comics for a dollar… One time, she even got two huge garbage bags full of comics, and basically I spend that summer reading comics book on the floor.” Growing up gay and Puerto Rican in the Bronx in the ‘60s and ‘70s wasn’t easy for Velez, particularly when he couldn’t see people like himself in his favorite comics. Out of this grew a desire to create a broader representation in comics that has helped drive his career. After creating Tales of the Closet in the ‘80s, he went on to become a co-creator of Blood Syndicate. He’s also been successful bring kid centered comics alive including Power Puff Girls, Scooby Doo, and Ben 10.
Pride Profile: Cheetah, Barbara Ann Minerva. From Cheetah’s Golden Age inception as Priscilla Rich, the character at her best has been about conflicting dual natures and how that struggle results in Cheetah striking out against Wonder Woman. This conflict was renewed by George Perez introducing archeologist Barbara Minerva as a new Cheetah. Minerva’s inner conflict is even more primal as the brilliant evil heiress is literally turned into a bloodthirsty were-cheetah. Minerva, updated and provided more nuance by later writers, would become less the all-out villain and more the victim of her own flawed attempts to cure painful physical conditions and breakout from the confines she finds herself in. Added to this subtext of Barbara’s inability to come to terms with herself is a romantic relationship with Etta Candy that makes her descent into animal bloodlust more tragic. In spite of this, Wonder Woman, no matter the era, never gives up on trying to help Cheetah find peace.
Pride Profile: Greg Berlanti. There are super producers and there’s The Super Producer. On Pride representation, he not only includes LGTB characters and actors across his shows, but has them captain ships, dream of the future, wield magic, grow homicidal plants and keep us coming back for more. The producer of the Arrowverse family of shows, Harley Quinn, Riverdale and more, also directed Love Simon the first major teen gay romantic comedy released by a studio. Just prior to COVID-19 shutting down television and movie filming across the U.S., Berlanti had 17 series in production. The producer showed his true colors when he set up a $600,000 fund to support the more than 5,000 workers on his shows and donated another $400,000 to support others in the entertainment industry impacted by the pandemic. Married to LA Galaxy soccer star Robbie Rogers, Berlanti continues to break new ground in front of and behind the camera.