The DC Book of Pride

The DC Book of Pride cover

The DC Book of Pride is subtitled “A Celebration of DC’s LGBTQIA+ Characters”, and it is. However, for those who want more than a pretty volume for a coffee table that shows they appreciate queer superheroes, the book isn’t nearly as useful as it could be.

The short character descriptions are written by Jadzia Axelrod. I assume the introduction, which gives a short history of how the Comics Code Authority banned queer characters and how since then there’s been a lot more, was too. Each of the over 50 characters gets a profile with their pronouns, a quote, their first appearance, their likes and dislikes (which makes this feel like a manga or a teen magazine), and a description of their powers and origin.

There’s one illustration of the character, which I believe is clip art, picked up from a previous comic appearance. I can’t tell for sure because none of the art is specifically credited. (The cover is credited to Paulina Ganucheau.) There is one page of “Artist Acknowledgements” that lists 139 names, several of which are writers, in one giant block. There’s no way to tell who’s responsible for which character. I would have also liked to see more images of the characters, since none are shown with partners.

In contrast, there are three Glossary pages that explain such terms as “aromantic” and “Green Lantern”. No, really, gender and orientation terms are mixed in with “Speed Force” and “Themyscira”.

The DC Book of Pride cover

The characters included are bi, trans, non-binary, asexual, lesbian, and gay. I didn’t recognize many of them, especially those that have debuted in the last five years or so. That’s my fault — I’ve pretty much stopped reading superhero comics. But if I was interested enough in any of them to want to read more, I have absolutely no idea where to start. There is no indication of where they’re currently appearing (probably because most of them don’t appear regularly) or where the incidents described in their capsule bios were portrayed.

I’m not sure the audience for this book will care, as I suspect most of them are already familiar with several of these characters and have no issue using it as a guide for future searches. I’m glad DC authorized this book; I’m disappointed that most of the characters included are so little known and little used. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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