It be Pleasure Month and that contrivance that apparently every person in the entertainment dwelling is celebrating the LGBTQ+ neighborhood — in conjunction with comics. As they did final year, Shock is celebrating the uncommon neighborhood with a brand novel anthology, Shock’s Voices: Pleasure (2022), featuring tales that commemorate the quite so a lot of LGBTQ+ characters and creators that create up the Shock Universe. Alternatively, while the e-book does luxuriate in some genuinely attention-grabbing things to present to boot as some fun tales, this year’s edition suffers from the same points that final year’s did in that the bulk of the topic feels extra cherish rainbow-tinted marketing and marketing than an proper, substantive celebration of uncommon illustration.
One huge—and largely certain—shift this year from final year is that Pleasure (2022) appears to be like to focal point less on popping out and extra on living out and proud. That is a big step forward and it also enables the topic’s tales to dig into uncommon coding of characters and how that interprets to staunch, on-web page queerness. There’s also a form of fun in the tales, particularly “All My Exes In The Nexus” which sides Loki, America Chavez, Wiccan and Hulking and is such a fun Younger Avengers vibe that it’s miles no longer doubtless no longer to expertise. But that also exposes a weakness no longer entirely with the anthology, however the Shock Universe on the total.
“All My Exes In The Nexus” sides nearly the total “visible” or “high profile” uncommon characters in the Shock Universe while the rest of the tales in the topic undoubtedly feel largely made up of very minor characters, model novel characters, or these that don’t undoubtedly luxuriate in headline station at this point. It be this ingredient that makes the final anthology undoubtedly feel mighty extra cherish lip carrier than proper illustration. On top of that, while there is a fluctuate of illustration in these other tales—in conjunction with two tales that characteristic transgender illustration—they honestly feel inauthentic. In speak, “LGBT-D” feels cherish it makes jokes on the expense of the uncommon neighborhood—there is a literal “flaming” gag—and while “Permanent Sleepover” is a well-crafted story that provides readers two novel characters whose tales are to be persisted in Fresh Mutants, you cannot support but safe the feeling cherish this can also very well be their entirely time to undoubtedly shine. (Additionally, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt’s art work is undoubtedly improbable in this story and it’s payment reading for that on my own).
The non-funny entries in this anthology are also hit or cross over. Alex Phillips’ introduction is a chunk on the dry side, but Angelique Roche’s “Comics De-Coded” is an astonishing read for any individual drawn to the history of uncommon coding in comics. The integrated Reliable Handbook of the Shock Universe entries are also improbable and create for terribly attention-grabbing reads. Accrued, even for these strengths, the anthology peaceable feels cherish it’s miles lacking when it comes to proper character verbalize material, something that one can entirely hope Shock will fortify upon next year.
Overall, I’m no longer one to match DC to Shock. Varied universes, a bunch of tales, a bunch of values. But reading Shock’s Voices: Pleasure (2022) after DC Pleasure 2022, it’s complicated no longer to. Whereas DC has embraced its uncommon characters year-spherical, Shock peaceable appears to be like to are looking out out for to give illustration excellent in this token 2nd and self-discipline, which is undoubtedly unlucky when the quite so a lot of characters on its pages provide up opportunities to create the Shock Universe undoubtedly representative of every person. As a change of a prosperous and inclusive landscape, we excellent safe this one self-discipline that serves less to luxuriate in time and extra to remind readers how puny illustration there undoubtedly is in the pages of Shock’s comics.
Printed by Shock Comics
On June 22, 2022
Written by Alyssa Wong, Grace Freud, Andrew Wheeler, Christopher Cantwell, Danny Lore, Ira Madison III, and Charlie Jane Anders
Art by Stephen Byrne, Scott B. Henderson, Lee Townsend, Brittney L. Williams, Kei Zama, Lucas Werneck, Lorenzo Susi, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt
Colors by Brittany Query, Jose Villarrubia, Rico Renzi, Michael Wiggam, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Ariana Maher with Clayton Cowles
Cover by Carve Robles