When UK writer Joe Glass was growing up, he always felt there was a lack of openly gay superheroes he could relate to.
“Sure, there were one or two, but they lived in the background or were poorly represented,” says Glass.
So in 2012, he created The Pride—a new breed of superheroes that represent a diverse range of the LGBT+ community. The series features queer characters such as Bear, Twink, Muscle Mary and Glass’ personal favourite, FabMan.
“He's ridiculously over-the-top and camp as hell, and I love that about him, because camp, 'stereotypical' gay men are so rarely seen in comics these days, but hey, we exist and deserve to be heard,” Glass tells The Advocate.
The heroes find themselves in situations that the LGBT+ community regularly faces, and work together to fight the villainous Reverend.
Glass is a self-published creator and uses crowdfunding campaigns to pay for the production and distribution of his comics.
In 2016, he raised nearly $35,000 to print a hard-cover collection of the entire series.
Glass says that he created The Pride in an effort to show young LGBT+ readers that there is hope.
“We live in a world where young LGBT people sometimes feel their only option is to leave this world. By including LGBT characters in our fiction, in all mediums, we can help change the minds of those who know nothing about us. We can show the young reader or viewer that there is a future and there is hope. In a very real sense, representation saves lives.”