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.
Pride Profile: Mallah and the Brain. The duo, the original members of the Brotherhood of Evil, debuted in the unparalleled Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani’s Silver Age Doom Patrol in issue #86. The Brain begins as a fully human scientist who “took a superior ape—stronger than any human… more agile than the best athlete! Through secret teaching methods and shock treatments, I gave it an I.Q. of 178! Genius status!” Sagotaged by Niles Caulder, Brain’s body is destroyed in a lab explosion, but his brain is rescued by the faithful Mallah and placed into a computer. The pair play leader and servant for decades until Grant Morrison places the Brain’s body into Robotman. Now capable of demonstrating affection, the Brain and Mallah confess their love for one another and kiss. Although the Brain is eventually put back into glass, their romance endures. Despite appearing in multiple animated series after their romance is established, it is not mentioned in any.
Pride Profile: Sir Tristan, Camelot 3000. Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland’s Camelot 3000 broke a lot of barriers in comics. It was DC’s first maxi-series, the first printed on higher grade paper, and it presented the first truly transgender character by a major comic publisher. Sure, you could find some Silver Age cross-dressing (looking at you master of disguise Jimmy Olsen), but this series dives full-force into the issues surrounding gender dysphoria in a surprisingly complex and compassionate way. Awakened with the rest of King Arthur’s court in the year 3000 to once again save England, Sir Tristan finds himself born into the body of a woman. Tristan struggles with his identity, his love for Isolde and what ‘evil’ he must have done to deserve this fate. The word ‘transgender’ never appears and the story resolves differently than it might if written today but, none of that takes away from the historical significance of Sir Tristan’s depiction. On top of that, Camelot 3000 is a heck of a good read.
Pride Profile: Starfire. Introduced in DC Comics Presents #26 (along with Raven and Cyborg) and created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Koriand’r has been difficult to label from the beginning, though surely she would reject any label as unnecessary. Starfire has explicitly stated that she does not feel bound by the rules of monogamy and more than once has demonstrated it physically. This is a theme present from her earlier stories in New Teen Titans to more recent Red Hood and the Outlaws. Many of her fans read the logical extension of this believing Starfire to be pansexual as well as polyamorous. Whether shown or hinted, clearly the powerhouse warrior believes in the power of love and acceptance of everyone.
Pride Profile: Joe Phillips. An artist whose style was inspired by his heroes Norman Rockwell and J. C. Leyendecker, Joe Phillips is probably not a household name for most, but his art with DC in the 1980s and '90s has certainly left its mark. Most notably, his run on the 1988 Mister Miracle series, starting with issue #7. He has since moved on to other projects, including creating the art for the fictional comic book Rage featured on the Showtime drama series Queer as Folk, and his own gay-themed books. Phillips “had always felt there were not enough positive gay imagery in the art and magazines as [he] was growing up,” something he’s helping to fix.
Profile authored by @Mae
I’ve mentioned before, but cannot say enough that the Pride Profiles and the larger Pride Month activities are a total team effort. Not only did @Mae author the profile of Joe Phillips, they suggested that we post the rest of the profiles on Black characters and creators today June 19th, the first official federal Juneteenth holiday. Fantastic and fitting idea, so here they are.
Pride Profile: Natasha (Steel) Irons. Brains, courage, good looks, and wielding a mean hammer run in the Irons family. In this Natasha, despite some reckless turns along the way, takes far more after her uncle Henry than her super-villain father. From the beginning in Steel #1 by Louise Simonson and Chris Batista, Nat exhibited all the qualities that would make her a hero. Her first turn as Steel was ended by John Henry himself, but Nat is not the kind of girl to stay down long. After turns with different names and powers, she returned as Steel in Superwoman with armor that put the original Steel to shame. Nat hasn’t had a lot of time for a personal life along the way, but she managed a romance with Traci 13 for a while, and here’s hoping she’ll find love again soon.
Pride Profile: Thunder and Grace. Maybe it’s a case of opposites attracting, but if you were reading The Outsiders in 2003, you may have seen this coming. Anissa Pierce is something of a professional hero, following in her father’s footsteps and treating the family business of helping and protecting people seriously. Thunder’s ability to alter her density provides a level of super strength and invulnerability, plus her medical training made her an effective member of the team. While Anissa came from a stable, loving family, Grace Choi bounced from one foster home to another, before ending up on the street where her half-Amazon physiology finally kicked in. Grace used her new strength as a bouncer and fighter before being recruited by Red Arrow to join the Outsiders.
Thunder and Grace’s different attitudes toward being a superhero generated tensions at first, but as they grew to respect one another, they also grew to love one another. Together with the Outsiders, they took on threats ranging from child human trafficking, military dictatorships to an invasion of Amazons.
Anissa would go on to star in Black Lightning on the CW as a superhero with the heart of an activist. A slightly altered version of Grace Choi also appears in the show, where once again Anissa and Grace fall in love.
Pride Profile: Sojourner “Jo” Mullein, Green Lantern. Did we really need another human Green Lantern? N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell answer that question emphatically in Far Sector with a yes, because we haven’t had Jo Mullein. This military veteran and former police officer is still learning the ropes of being a Lantern, all while being challenged by a uniquely powered ring, in a territory far from the Corps, with an ex-girlfriend for a roommate and romantic interest with a man who isn’t accustomed to emotions. This beautifully rendered series is infused by its creators with Black culture and identity, from Jo’s personal history, the people of the planet she’s protecting, to the quotes of great Black writers woven throughout the story.
Pride Profile: Masquerade. Milestone was built to knock down barriers, and they knocked it down in a big way Blood Syndicate member Masquerade. Created by the powerhouse team of Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez, Jr., and Trevor von Eeden, Masquerade debuts in Blood Syndicate #1 in 1993. Masquerade is a powerhouse himself with the ability to morph into any living or non-living thing he wants. When fellow Syndicate member Fade discovers Masquerade unconscious after a battle, he finds Masq in his original physical form revealing that he is transgender. There’s no allegories or hidden meanings at play when Masquerade defends his right to be himself.
Pride Profile: Hooded Justice. The first costumed crime fighter in the Watchmen universe, Hooded Justice debuted in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen #1. The appearance of the hyper-violent vigilante sparked an explosion of superheroes and the generations of broken heroes to follow. In Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Darwyn Cooke expanded on this origin story revealing that Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis had been involved in sexual relationship, despite Metropolis never knowing Hooded Justice’s real identity. HBO’s Watchmen series added depth to this by revealing that Hooded Justice is an African-America survivor of the real-world Tulsa race massacre of 1921. That version of Captain Metropolis treats Hooded Justice as more of guilty pleasure than a fully equal partner. This backstory turns Hooded Justice from being just another ultra-violent take on the traditional vigilante to a damaged, angry man striking out against injustice the only way he knows.
Pride Profile: The Aerie: Created by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, Aerie debuted in Suicide Squad #1 where they were kidnapped and eventually turned over for illegal experiments to create metahumans. As a result, Aerie developed wings and the ability to fly. Injured by Killer Croc, Aerie was nursed back to health by Wink and the two would fall in love. The gender nonbinary Airie and their lover Wink also play a prominent role in Taylor’s DCeased: Hope at World’s End.
Pride Profile: Devin Grayson. Best known for her DC work on Catwoman, Nightwing and The Titans, Grayson is also the first female to create and writing an ongoing Batman title with Gotham Knights in 2000. She has also written the DC novels Smallville: City, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu and DC Universe: Inheritance. Devin describes herself as openly bisexual, a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, a committed environmentalist, and an advocate for T1 Diabetes awareness and Diabetic Alert Dogs.
Pride Profile: Jack Larson. For one hundred and one episodes, Jack Larson played Superman’s best pal opposite George Reeves with a style and enthusiasm that elevated the role of Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman. But Larson was so much more than America’s most famous cub reporter. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Larson was looking toward Broadway when he was offered the Olsen part. Like many actors who become widely popular and famous for an iconic role, Larson struggled with separating himself and his work from Jimmy. It was also during this time that Larson came to embrace his sexuality with other closeted Hollywood figures such as Montgomery Clift and his eventual life partner director James Bridges (The China Syndrome).
A talented writer, Larson wrote a poem to accompany a gay-themed Joffery Ballet production and the libretto for the opera Lord Byron. Eventually, like many other actors in his position, Larson began to embrace his iconic role later in life, appearing on television’s Superboy and Lois and Clark, and in Superman Returns on the big screen.
Jack Larson is not Jimmy Olsen’s only connection to the LGBTQ community. The comic book character famously appeared in drag in four stories from 1963 to ‘73. While these adventures are born out of Jimmy’s need to ‘get the story,’ he is depicted as an attractive woman and not exactly uncomfortable presenting in the new gender. Despite the limited number of these appearances, they struck a chord with some readers, including Grant Morrison who nodded in that direction with his Jimmy Olsen-focused issue of All-Star Superman.
I am really enjoying Tamaki’s run on DETECTIVE COMICS right now.
I also rvemqlty came across the first issue of her SUPERGIRL so I need to read that as well.