March 20, 2014

A nice (comics) change of pace

While perusing some of my favorite comics blogs and news sites, I came across an article about an all-gay super-team called The Pride. Writer Joe Glass wanted to do what hasn't been done in the medium before -- take on issues surrounding the gay community head-on, and his team is assembled "in order to improve the image of gay people worldwide." Hannah Means Shannon at Bleeding Cool says that

Going in, I expected another product along the lines of Spandex, which combines infectious enthusiasm with amateurish execution. The Pride surprised me by being nothing of the sort, instead produced very much in the style of a traditional superhero comic, with a strong sense of structure, solid pacing and polished visuals.

The Pride may play it straight but it has its humorous moments as well moments where you can laugh with the characters rather than at them. I suppose it speaks to my own prejudices that my inner Mary Whitehouse was pleasantly surprised to find that the content was clean of offensive swearing, explicit sex references or graphic violence. This family-friendly approach could make it a great educational tool in tackling homophobia in the future.

That last sentence is significant as too often in the media we see caricatures of gay people (in TV, movies, and even in news media). Anyone who knows and/or is friends with someone who is gay knows this is ridiculous. Most gay people are just like you and me. They get up in the morning, go to work, come home and relax, eat dinner, watch a little tube and then go to bed. It looks like writer Glass wants to portray just this, and correct many of the misconceptions ... not to mention, assist those who face bullies, the worst of whom are young teens as shown in these heartfelt panels.

One thing that struck me, however, about the premiere issue's synopsis was the apparent too-easy approach to the villain of the story -- "a cabal of Bible-bashing villains." I was a bit confused by the term "Bible-bashing;" was it someone trashing the Bible, or, as I thought, religious zealots using the Bible to attack homosexuals? I took to Twitter to ask author Glass about it, and to my surprise, he responded quickly, and best of all, cordially. (I say "surprised" because most of my experiences with comics creators on Twitter and elsewhere haven't been exactly enlightening or friendly despite my attempts to keep them so.) I asked about going with the "easy" villain, a Fred Phelps-like baddie who everyone despises, not just the gay community. Guys like Phelps are like Nazis, after all, when it comes to entertainment: They're the obvious choice because, again, no one likes them. I went further, asking why the religious bigots couldn't have been, say, Muslim fundies, especially since their views towards homosexuality (and even those of non-fundies) are much less ... "enlightened" than those of the majority of Western Christian religions. Glass replied:

You can be the judge as to whether Glass's reason for his villain choice is still too easy; for me, at least, it looks like he's just utilizing something deeply personal for him, which can often make for some good storytelling. And, best of all, he was open about all this, (again) quick to reply, and thankfully didn't sink to the usual P.C. accusations and epithets that too many in his profession go right to in an instant. (Yeah, I'm talking to you Ron Marz, Gail Simone and Tom Brevoort, among others.)

Posted by Hube at March 20, 2014 07:42 PM | TrackBack

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