June is Pride month, and Marvel Comics is set to celebrate this in style with Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1, a comic billed as their first-ever queer-centered special, which will put their growing collection of LGBTQ+ characters front and center. The issue will consist of several short stories with themes of “inspiration and empowerment,” and contributors including Kieron Gillen, Olivier Coipel, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Kris Anka and Javier Garrón.
We got a peek at the regular cover last month and now, Marvel has unveiled a variant that references the famous 25th anniversary covers from the mid-1980s. This sees their growing collection of LGBTQ+ characters placed around the frame, and while there are too many crammed in to name them all, I can spot Valkyrie, Mystique, Wiccan, Iceman and Daken.
The issue will also feature the debut of a new mysterious hero, who will presumably occupy the blank area in the middle of the image below. As far as I can tell, there are no hints as to who this might be, so keep an eye out for more updates.
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Marvel has been a haven for inclusivity since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby kicked off the modern era with The Fantastic Four back in the 1960s. The famously progressive Lee once opined that “a story without a message, however subliminal, is like a man without a soul,” a creed the company has taken to heart over the years. As such, many of this issue’s writers have commented on how Marvel Comics’ stories helped them when they were young.
Writer Anthony Oliveira has said that:
“When I was a very closeted, very lonely kid, these characters saved my life. It’s an honor to tell stories about them and to see the kind of stories queer people can tell about queer people deepen and grow.”
Steve Orlando, meanwhile, has also stated how proud he feels to be invited to contribute, saying:
“What an honor to be part of MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE! I could not be more excited to help spotlight LGBTQ+ characters new and old at the House of Ideas, as well as joining a stable of LGBTQ+ creators behind the scenes for this special.”
Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will hit comic stands on Wednesday, June 23rd. Don’t miss it.