LGBTQI characters have long been present in the comic book canon, but one group of writers are bringing them squarely into the spotlight with their new series The Pride.
Aiming to defy misrepresentation, the series features a cast of empowered queer superheros headed-up by ultra-muscular, superman-like protagonist, FabMan.
The series’ Facebook page sets the scene: “In a world populated by superpowers, the superhero is common. Sadly for FabMan (Tomorrow’s Fabulous Man, Today), he feels a deep schism in the representation of his community, his own heroic exploits being presented as just big jokes in the news. Wanting to fight for change, he forms PRIDE, the world’s premier LGBTQ supergroup."
Lead writer Joe Glass tells SBS Sexuality, "In terms of why it's important to have visible LGBTQ+ presence in the media, without it, it makes LGBTQ+ individual feels like they're being hidden or shouldn't be seen or heard.
"It's damaging to confidence and happiness, ultimately. Even if there are stories that are metaphors for the LGBTQ+ community, only talking about it in metaphors again implies it's something that shouldn't be talked about.
"What we all want, need and deserve is open, honest discussion and inclusion in all aspects of life, including fiction," he adds.
FabMan is joined by a host of characters including Wolf, Muscle Mary, Frost, Twink, Bear, Angel and White Trash in the six-part collection which is being self-published by Mr Glass and his team of creatives.
The series - which was crowdfunded by a Kickstarter campaign - is available on their website with a hardcover collection edition coming later in the year.
While they rarely hold a lead role, LGBTQI characters have been a regular feature in comics in recent years.
Northstar in the X-Men series was their first openly gay character while shapeshifter Mystique and Wolverine’s son Darken are bisexual.
Elsewhere in the Marvel universe, Moondragon is bisexual in Guardians of the Galaxy and Young Avengers' Hulkling and Wiccan are a couple.