DC has a long and storied history with queer characters, but in the new DC Pride anthology ten queer creators take on LGBTQ+ heroes in a series of stories that center them in a way we’ve rarely seen. The impressive roster includes some of the publishers biggest names – in regards to both the people making the stories and the characters they focus on. To celebrate the release of the groundbreaking title, Den of Geek spoke with Danny Lore and Sina Grace, who are both taking on exciting stories that feature two very different heroes.
The Flash of Earth-11
Lore’s Flash story plays on one of the more fun traits of the hero: their inability to be on time. As a non-binary creator with ADHD, Lore says creating a story about the non-binary Flash of Earth-11, Jess Chambers being late was incredibly relatable.
“I always seem to be running late, but I’m running at like 1000 miles per hour so why am I late to this thing?” Lore laughs.
While Jess doesn’t think that they’re like those other late Flashes, their prep for date night shows that they might have a little more in common than they thought. It’s a cute slice-of-life story with gorgeous art by Lisa Sterle. And it also introduces a radical new villain in the form of Reflek, a new Mirror Master. From the outset, Lore knew that if they were doing a Flash story they wanted to feature a Mirror Master, so they created a new foe from the future.
“I wanted a Black lady. I think the exact words I used were, ‘Cool, mirror, dope, darker skinned black lady. Lisa [Sterle], is there a way we can do kind of disco-inspired?’ Because disco balls and mirrors are awesome.”
It was also the chance for Lore to tell a story about a non-binary hero who wasn’t defined by their appearance. That was something Lore could relate to as a non-binary person who loves makeup and colors but was worried about not being percieved as non-binary due to the connotation of those things being “femme.”
“This ended up being super personal for a funny slice-of-life thing,” Lore says. “There’s a lot of discussion about what being non-binary means visually. That was actually something that I struggled with for a very long time. So it was important for me to write Jess as non-binary, as someone who is not restricted by being more or less femme or more or less masculine, more or less androgynous. Sometimes it’s just, ‘Oh, I feel like this today,’ and that was the fun and the secret seriousness of doing a day in the life for Jess.”
Sina Grace was given the task of writing for the villain-turned-hero known as the Pied Piper. The story follows Pied Piper as he comes across a young copycat vigilante (and new character), Drummer Boy. Just like Lore, Grace saw the superhero trappings as a way of exploring a personal journey that he’d gone on himself.
“I was able to talk about two different generations, with two different approaches for how to get things done,” Grace explains. “I really wanted to use a character like Pied Piper – who was once a bad guy and is now a good guy – against Drummer Boy, who is like Gen Z to a fault, and have them really get into what it means to be responsible for your community.”
That thread was one that deeply resonated with Grace, who connected it to the conversations that he had with himself about his ideals as a young person and the way that he felt that younger version of himself might view him now.
“I think that’s the vibe that’s going on between these two because Drummer Boy grew up seeing Pied Piper on TV and was like, ‘Whoa, it’s me but grown up,'” Grace says. “Then as he grows up and sees Pied Piper sort of evolving in a different direction than what he wanted, he’s not too impressed.”
Creating the new character alongside artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt was clearly a process that the writer was ecstatic about. Based on Grace’s own sketches, Drummer Boy was a passion project.
“I got instantly enamored with the idea of someone being a copycat of Pied Piper,” Grace says. “I just made him this adorable chunky boy with empowered electronic drum pads. It came from a place of love and I showed my editor, Andrea Shea, and she was super excited about it. I think we all just sort of followed that bliss of being excited to put a new character on the page and for this character to have real motivations that we can all relate to.”
DC Pride hits shelves on June 8.