Meet Joe Glass, the creator of LGBTQ+ superhero comic The Pride

Joe Glass, creator of LGBTQ+ superhero comic series The Pride, talked about the need for more diverse queer representation in comics.

The book cover shows four superheroes sunbathing on a beach. Joe is wearing glasses and Pride coloured face paint. He is giving the peace sign with his hand.
Image: @josephglass/@joeglass via Twitter/Instagram

David Ferguson spoke to Joe Glass, creator of the LGBTQ+ superhero comic series The Pride. He found out why queer representation is important and how you can support the Kickstarter campaign for The Pride Summer Special.

When I first read The Pride, I was really impressed with the diverse cast you created. Was it a difficult balance trying to represent so many different parts of our community while trying to show their personalities too?

It can be. Obviously, you don’t want to give anyone the shortest straw on purpose, and it can be difficult with such a large cast of characters, but it was important to me to show as much of the community as possible. 

When I started the series, this was an area in which mainstream superhero comics was [sic] failing, with only a handful of characters and them so often having very similar personalities so as to make them interchangeable, sometimes making them interchangeable with their straight contemporaries. 

For me, this has never been my experience of the LGBTQ+ community, or in fact of life as a whole. The easiest way to do that is to just have as broad and diverse a cast as possible, and also understand that diversity can be cross-sectional.

Take Miles Morales for a timely example. He’s so often lauded as Black representation, but he’s also of Puerto Rican descent, making him Latinx representation too. People are made of layers and multitudes, and characters that reflect that are more interesting. 

I particularly like how you did that with Frost. Can you tell us more about that?

It’s funny you should mention Frost, as her story, or more specifically her backstory, is one of the ones that went through the most changes as I developed the series and her as a character. 

Initially, I feared that my plans with her fell into some tropes for the trans community that are tired and stale, and largely came from how little media representation there is for that community out there. 

So I took my plans to several sensitivity readers who are part of that community, understanding that while I may have the best intentions in the world, I am not myself trans and can be missing things by not having that lived experience. 

It was through this dialogue with them I realised we could do right by Frost, and better by the trans community, and hopefully she serves as a better example of positive trans representation in the superhero genre as a result. 

The LGBTQ+ comics community and representation in comics have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Are there things that you would like to see go away and things you’d like to see more of?

I’ll start with ‘see more of’, as I generally prefer to focus on the positive. I’d love to see a wider range of POC queer representation. For example, in gay male representation, there is relatively little Black or other POC rep out there, so many characters are white. 

So I’d love to see that mixed up a bit, along with a broader range of body types, ability, gender expression and some more femme/gay rep too. We need to show that we don’t all look one way, no matter how much some people may wish we did. 

As for what needs to ‘go away’? Hmm, I’m not sure. I love all rep to some extent, and while, say, coming-out stories are a dime a dozen, there are still interesting ways to do them. I suppose I’d like to see this kind of chaste representation of queer relationships go away. Like, if you can show Scott and Jean naked in bed in a mainline X-Men book, why the hell are queer characters forever covering up their bodies and intimacy?



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A post shared by Joe Glass (@joeglass)

The Pride comic issues are now available in The Pride Omnibus (a lovely-looking book and a recommended read). No pun intended but that being released must have been a moment of pride. Could you tell us about that?

Yeah, it genuinely was. Having the series finally be accessible in comic stores and book shops everywhere really felt like a massive achievement, and it’s always nice to see it on the shelves. 

It was, and is, a huge chunk of my life now, so it’s nice to know that it’s all in one place for people to find. Of course, makes me want to fill up another Omnibus worth of stories now too.

For the Kickstarter, there are some X-men vibes with the swimsuit stuff. What else can readers expect from the book/campaign?

There’s definitely a bit of that. Aside from the obvious inspiration from the classic Marvel Swimsuit Specials of old – they really should bring those back – I was also always a fan of when we had X-Men stories of the team taking some downtime, playing baseball or something like that. So there’s definitely a bit of that in The Pride Summer Special‘s DNA. 

In fact, the book won’t just be a series of pin-ups by amazing artistic talent: there’s also brand new stories as part of it, the first since The Pride Omnibus. And one definitely has that sporty vibe to it – though it’s also stylistically inspired by epic sports manga and how they show over-the-top depictions of athletic action. That story is being handled by The Pride‘s original artist and co-creator, too, Gavin Mitchell, so I’m really excited for that. 

Many of the stories also tease characters and events that are to come in future series’ of The Pride too, so long-term fans may want to get their mitts on a copy to get a clue as to where things are going. 

While I have you here and it is Pride Month, I have to get some recommendations from you. So, what is your favourite queer comic and what is your favourite queer thing in another medium?

There are a lot of really obvious ones I could say, but recent additions would be The Sins of the Black Flamingo from Image Comics. It was just superb, and so thirsty, I loved it. Also, Chef’s Kiss, which was written by Jarrett Melendez who I worked with on Young Men in Love, and was just nominated for an Eisner, I believe. I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult novels atm, as part of research into something I’m working on, and I’ll say I absolutely fell head over heels for T J Klune’s The Extraordinaries series.

To support The Pride Summer Special Kickstarter campaign, click here.

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