“DC Pride Through the Years”
Writers: William Messner-Loebs, Greg Rucka, Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala, Tim Sheridan
Artists: Greg LaRoque, José Marzan Jr, J.H. Williams III, Jamal Campbell, Cian Tormey
Color Artists: Glenn Whitmore, Dave Stewart, Matt Herms
Letterers: Tim Harkins, Todd Klein, Carlos M Mangual, Lucas Gattoni
Review by Adam Ray
DC Pride 2023 gave us a powerful and hopeful collection of vignettes across the DC Universe showing the pride these heroes feel for themselves. Now we have DC Pride Through The Years, showing that the publisher has been an inclusive one for longer than most people would think.
It’s easy to get swept up in the many specials, or businesses slapping rainbows on everything to think that Pride is a new movement. The movement was originally a protest in the late 1960s, and has only recently taken on a far more, mostly positive public opinion.
The storytellers at DC are well aware of this, and have been for a distinctly long time. The heartfelt opening statement by Benjamin Le Clear outlines DC’s queer history going all the way back to trans characters in the 1940s. DC Pride Through the Years lovingly contains a collection from across DC’s recent history showing off these important messages.
This is a fun and action packed story with The Flash and Superman taking down corrupt officials. The artwork is dynamic and the colors pop, as is the way with comics from the 90s.
My reviewing focus here (and in the issue’s other chapters) will be on the LGBTIA+ side of the story. This moment largely feels tacked on and strangely handled. This is DC acknowledging and openly stating the Pied Piper as a gay character. It can easily be read that the Flash is supportive but has to see to another mission, or that the Flash is understanding but needs to immediately leave to process handling things. Either way, a story like this shows the awareness that DC creators had but there was still progress to be made back then, that has been mostly achieved now.
Elegy Part One: Agitato
A definitive Batwoman story here, with rich artwork that shows off true emotion and gives us beautiful, artistic moments highlighting Kate Kane’s vulnerability.
It’s that side of the character that works so well in this story. The moments where Kate’s relationship is strained by being Batwoman all feel sincere and realistic. The important note is that it doesn’t matter that it’s a romance between two women. Two men, a heterosexual couple, and people all along the gender spectrum can feel and suffer in this way. While it doesn’t make for a fun or uplifting story, it’s important to get the representation in there for all kinds of readers to see.
During a storyline where there was a lot of doubt about Supergirl’s integrity, we get a heartfelt conversation where she works to the hope for a charming nonbinary friend. The artwork is stylized and sleek, so truly fits the hopeful look at National city.
The story is a personal one, and one I can relate to. The uncertainty around one’s gender identity often requires a lot of sympathetic ears, which works to be the perfect proof to hopefully exonerate Supergirl.
One little take away from this story. I know DC has fun little reworked names for things that are common in our world, but I honestly think that ViewTube is a name that makes much more sense than the actual one.
DC Pride Through the Years ends with a new story that I’m eager to see followed up. Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, has been openly gay for quite some time, but this story, and the mini series coming in October, look to bring a lot of context to his history as queer and a hero.
The issue plays a lot with the fun of the Golden Age period but also the real danger of being queer at that time. It stays hopeful and we want to root for the characters as their love flourishes.
DC Pride Through the Years shows how entrenched LGBTQ narratives have been in DC’s history. They’ve ranged from plot points, character details, or the entire motivation for crucial storylines. It even feels natural for a character that’s existed for decades to be reimagined as queer. Just like the main DC Pride release, this story has left my queer heart full of hope, peace, and joy.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment