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.
Really like her Detective, which is very different from Supergirl Being Super. She’s made Bruce’s move into the city feel very natural
I agree 100%. I dropped Tynion’s BATMAN at 106 and one of the things I hated was how much each issue would reference “how much money Batman lost” and “how hard it is to work without the Batcave.”
DETECTIVE on the other hand started showing him working and not just referencing it, while also dropping the money talk and started showing how valuable his name is in high society.
I can relate to social circles, but once money goes over a certain number it becomes unrelatable. So every time Batman whines about how he no longer has “unlimited” funds I roll my eyes because there really isn’t a difference it millions and billions of dollars to me.
Also, Tamaki writing Bruce Wayne into the story and giving him some focus is way more relatable than just Batman and his Bat problems.
Pride Profile, Tremor: Roshanna Chatterji is an Indian-American capable of generating shockwaves in the earth. Created by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore and introduced in The Movement #1 in July 2013, Tremor was forced to let a team member know that a romantic relationship between them wouldn’t work because she is asexual.
Pride Profile: Lilah Sturges. Currently working on the popular Lumberjanes series for Boom! Studios, Lilah made a huge splash with DC’s Vertigo imprint co-writing Jack of Fables, then solo helming forty-two issues of House of Mystery. Add to that, work on Shadowpact, Salvation Run, Blue Beetle and more made Sturges a DC powerhouse. In 2016, Sturges announced she was a transgender women and was changing her first name to Lilah.
Pride Profile: Nightmare Nurse. Asa was a demon who decided the best way to save her dying human mistress was to take over her body. Having sworn the Hippocratic Oath to Apollo and Panacea, Asa became the Nightmare Nurse. Created by Dan DiDio, J.M. Dematteis, and Philip Tan, Nigthmare Nurse debuted in The Phantom Stranger #8 where she worked with Zatanna to heal the injured Stranger. When she’s not enjoying the company of dryads and sylphs, or John Constantine, this naughty nurse sometimes helps out the Justice League Dark with her abilities to heal and wield magic.
Pride Profile: Comet. Warning if you haven’t read Peter David’s Supergirl this is spoiler city. And, the entire series is really, really worth the read. Andrea Martinez struggled coming to terms with her sexual identity leading to a failed marriage, rejection by her parents, substance abuse, and life risking behavior. Facing death on the slopes of Mt Everest, Andrea was saved by superpowered human-horse hybrid Comet/Andy Jones. Merging into a single being, Comet and Andrea became friends with Supergirl and eventually found true love. David Peter introduced Comet/Andrea in Supergirl vol. 4 #10 and explored issues of sexual and gender identity throughout this 1990s series.
Pride Profile: Phil Jimenez. The incredibly talented artist Jimenez was hired right out of college by DC Comics where he met and fell in love with Neal Pozner. Following the DC Comic Creative Director’s passing several years later from HIV related complications, Jimenez wrote and illustrated a Tempest miniseries that he dedicated to Pozner and used to come out as a gay man himself. Jimenez’s other DC works include Wonder Woman, Superwoman, and much more.
Pride Profile: Midnight Rider & Seafarer. Before there was the Midnighter, there was the Midnight Rider. A costumed adventurer in the ‘40s, her relationship with her fellow heroine Seafarer was caught on film and printed in the papers. From there, they ended up in suspended animation, a Winter Soldier like program, and eventually squared off against their successors and the Authority. Created by Scott Beatty and Chris Sprouse, Midnight Rider and Seafarer are another great reason for Pride fans to dig into the Wildstorm Universe.
Pride Profile: Allan Heinberg. Heinberg is the definition of a multi-talented threat. He launched a Wonder Woman series as a writer with the Dodsons, co-wrote a JLA arc with Geoff Johns, co-wrote the screenplay for Gadot/Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, as well as wrote and produced television programs from Party of Five, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming Sandman series. Over at the House of Ideas, Heinberg, a gay man himself, created the teen gay characters Wiccan and Hulking.
Pride Profile: Ghost-Maker. James Tynion and Jorge Jimenez have created a new rival for Batman that shows us who Bruce Wayne might have been without Alfred’s influence. Ghost-Maker, introduced in Batman vol. 3 #100, considers himself a hero with all of Batman’s training, money and skill. He also has a taste for the high-life, including the pleasures of men and women, that Bruce only pretends to have. He’s also willing to kill. If you want to know more about this new entry into the Batman mythos, you’ll have to keep reading DC Comics because he’s just gotten started.