March 18, 2012

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Single Minded: The Pride #1

It's time once more to get Single Minded and look at a comic that isn't part of a trade paper back--but just might be someday.  Today we're going all the way across the pond to England for a team-up comic with a strong agenda.

The Pride #1.  Written by Joe Glass.  Illustrated by Gavin Mitchell.  Dead Star Publishing.


Fabman is a great hero--and about the gayest thing on Planet Earth.  He's trying to save the world--and show it that it's okay to be queer, too.  Watch as he circles the globe looking for other LGBT heroes to join him as they work to save the world together, as the crime-fighting, homophobe-trashing Pride!

I was really hoping to like this one because I think the premise is a cool idea.  Gather together heroes who are LGBT and show them making the world a better place, fighting both physical crime and the prejudicial treatment that queers receive all over the world.  The problem is that that writer Glass just lays the gay angle on so often and so thick that it drags the story down completely.  Just about everything the characters face relates back to a problem that a queer person in real life might have.  If this were spread out across a graphic novel of 100 or so pages, that wouldn't be a problem.  Instead, it's cramped into 20, leaving the reader feeling overwhelmed.  Think about a person who has just learned that there is a major societal wrong.  You know how they hammer that wrong home to anyone who listens and how that can be difficult to deal with, no matter how well-meaning that person is?

That's my feeling after reading this first issue.  Glass and Mitchell have a clever idea here, but right now it's buried under a mass of public awareness that I don't quite understand.  Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I have a feeling that just about anyone who picks up a comic about gay superheroes is already going to feel sympathy towards LGBT issues.  Why they felt the need to make the first issue a laundry list of persecution is a mystery to me.  Only one or two episodes would be needed to demonstrate why Fabman wants to put the team together.  The rest are overkill and, unfortunately, off-putting.

It's a shame the story here is not as good as it could have been, because Mitchell's artwork is solid, providing bright and colorful costume designs that evoke familiar heroic themes without being blatant copies. The action scenes we get are drawn well, and I think he'll do solid job on a team book such as this one.

Overall, however, I don't think I can recommend this one to others unless the heavy-handed writing takes a turn towards putting story first and (admitted admirable) agenda second.  If you want to write about a cause, write about a cause--it does your feelings and the fiction a disservice to write a thinly-veiled opinion piece as a comic book.  The Pride needs to move more towards telling a good story that happens to address issues faced by LGBT people instead of trying to talk about queer issues and forming superhero battles around it.  When it does that, The Pride could be an indie comic to watch.  For now, it's better to watch from the sidelines.