Official Discussion Thread, Issue 1: The Out Crowd

Issue-specific discussion threads and reviews of Pride High. There are spoilers here, so read at your own risk!

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My Review of Pride High Issue 1

Postby DonnaTroyFaerie » Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:28 pm

It is hard to review a comic book that someone you consider a friend wrote. You have to be gentle but also honest in the same breathe. What happens if you hate the comic book? What happens if you love it so much? You have to examine yourself and decide what to say and what not to say. It becomes more of a drama then you even care to talk about. I was lucky though that I didn't have this as much with the first issue of Pride High. Yes a friend wrote this comic book, but I was able to tell the friend what I liked and disliked about this book because it was well written and only had a few minor flaws.

The comic book is a well written story. Tommy Roddy, the writer, seems to know his characters and know their personalities. They are very distinct and they come off as real kids in a high school. They could have very well come off flat and had similiar personalities, but the writing allows you to understand that these characters are not the same person. It takes a decent writer to allow at least five distinct personalties to come out in the comic book and especially in a first issue. This is a breathe of fresh air. One thing I also love about Mr. Roddy's writing is that he doesn't over explain what is going on in the scenes. He allows for the image to also tell the story. Many comic book writers in this day and age focus too much on their own writing and a comic book is a collaboration between the writer and the artist. Mr. Roddy really seems to understand this concept. BIG Kudos for him on that front.

Another good point of this comic book is the fact that it allows the fact that it is a "gay comic" to not take over the entire comic book. It is just a part of the story. It is so pathetic when a story becomes entirely about the fact that two gay people are in the story. This allowed us to focus on those issues, but didn't make it so story heavy that you wanted to throw the book against a wall. The story does start off very gay heavy, as it should, but you see it flow into the story as I imagine the writer became more comfortable with his own writing. It progressed and intertwined itself in a logical manner that made it part of the story not all of the story. NOTE TO GAY WRITERS EVERYWHERE: THIS IS THE WAY GAY STORIES SHOULD BE TOLD!!!

Okay, now to the part that sucks. Yes there are a few negatives about the book in my opinion, but they are small issues that others may not have an issue with at all. There are a few panels in the story that doesn't seem to follow what was said in the previous panels. The best example of this is on page three when Mindsweeper says to Chip Cheetah, "How was the flight from london, Chip?" Chip responds with, "Long. Very, Very long." Then in the next panel Kid Mischief says, "Sounds like my boyfriend." I have to ask WHAT? What sounds like his boyfriend. Asking about his friend and how his flight from london was? This came off strange to me and came off a little fake. This happens in a few other spots in the book, but overall the writing is well done. I feel like these "pains" will go away as the writer becomes more comfortable in his writing. Also this is a first issue.

The only other issue I have with this issue of Pride High is the fact that it ends VERY abruptly. You seem to be looking for a "To Be Continued..." or at least something saying look for issue two coming out soon, but no you just get a last panel with nada and a search for the next page.

Finally, Pride high is a fun and great read. It still has a few kinks to work out, but what new comic book doesn't. Overall Pride High issue 1 gets an A- from me and the fact that I am a HARSH teacher needs to come into play. This is a great read and if you are not reading it yet ask yourself, "Why am I not full of Pride yet?"
"Sometimes I feel like the Mary Tyler Moore of the Super-Heroine set."- Donna Troy in The New Teen Titans #16"
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Postby Maddi » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:28 pm

I first found out about Pride High through a banner at the Prism Comics website. I checked out the Pride High site and got sucked in by the preview and bios. It's great to see what a comic's like before you buy it and I find in comics it’s hard to learn much about the individual characters, so I appreciate the extra source of information.

I don’t think there’s ever been a comic quite like this one before, or if there has, none I’ve ever heard of, or been able to get my hands on. Of any other comic, Pride High reminds me most of New X-Men: Academy X, only more fun, diverse and interactive.

Character design is another good thing. You can’t say the characters arn’t original. How often do you find a fire powered super hero without the words ‘fire, red, flame, hot, etc..’ in their title. And just the variety. It’s really cool that people can submit their own characters, I think that adds to the diversity.

A lot goes into making the characters more like real people. They talk to people on the forum and have their own Myspace profiles. I usually hate having to stop music and extra graphics every time I visit a profile, but for once I actually bothered to listen to the music on a profile, and I really liked it! I like how the songs match the characters so well.

It’s great that none of the students, even the bully's, are really evil. Even when they have conflicting beliefs there’s a certain level of humanity that I’d hope all superheroes would have. The cliffhanger at the end made me start to suspect something sinister might be going on, and I’m very worried about Scotch Bonnet.

Pride High is the kind of comic that after finishing issue one, I just want to pick up issue two and see what happens next. Which I think is the best kind of comic there is.
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Postby Silverback » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:25 am

i loved the first issue, congrats everyone on the administrative team. And great job brian-loved the art. AND A BIG HAND FOR TOMMY, WHO MADE THIS COMIC Possible. Cant wait for issue two :D :D
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Postby MystikChronicler » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:02 am

I should have posted about this a while ago, but I'm lazy sometimes. I reviewed the book for my livejournal a couple of weeks ago, so here's a link for anyone that wants to check out what I had to say: http://tyger-raven.livejournal.com/131124.html.

Now comes the hard part. I also do reviews for a comic book site that specializes in reviews. I've hesitated to put my review down because I've been struggling with something I had to say. The site I review for is designed to be an all-ages site, which while mature themes aren't forbidden for review, they have to be labeled in the review as being for a comic that has been deemed for Mature Audiences Only. The criteria that the owner of the site and I have come up with for what makes a book mature versus for all ages is whether the subject matter is adult in nature and whether or not the art is appropriate for all-ages.

Sadly, there are a couple of pages (particularly the locker scene) where the art is not age-appropriate. I refer specifically to the panels that show Kid Mischief wearing nothing but a jock strap. I can imagine that this panel was drawn for realism because hey, when you're doing sports, you often wear jock straps for protection. However, I question whether a teenager would stand around like that wearing nothing but a jock strap, and I don't feel that it served the story to have Kid Mischief bordering on nudity like that. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I felt that I should say something.

I thought I should bring that up to the creative team because if it wasn't for a couple of panels that could be considered "risque", I have no problem reviewing Pride High and listing it as an all-ages book. I feel that the creative team has worked really hard to deal with a subject matter that some might find offensive and still make it appropriate for a younger audience. I would hate for a couple of panels or pages to ruin those efforts.
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Postby DJ RAVYN 1 » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:13 pm

In response to the locker room scene...

The resaon I chose to depict it this way is one, like you said, for realism. They're getting ready to, well sort of, to go to gym. The second, was due to the second to last panel of that sequence, where Kid Mischief says an off handed remark to Kid Olympus (I don't want to give away to what he says in case someone on here hasn't read it) this tease and the reason he remained "hanging out" so to speak was to make Kid Olympus as uncomfortable as possible, he even made a "kissy face" tease at him.

Please, don't think I don't appreciate and respect your viewpoints, some are very valid, while others I appreciate and respect the opinion, but it wasn't my intent to oogle half naked teenagers, nor do I think you were saying that, I was just giving my reason for including this in the story

I do think it brings up an interesting point though.

If you read different stories involving Marvel's original New Mutants or DC's original New Teen Titans, you will find these chararters in half dress quite a bit. Let's not even begin to mention the swimsuits they use to put on these kids in various issues. As Wonder Girl had said in one panel, "These aren't swimsuits, they're strings with gland problems...". Let this be fine for heterosexual teenagers with heterosexual creators, but I feel, because we are LGBT adults (I don't self identify soley as a gay man) working on the a title where LGBT teenagers are the main charaters, we have to be even more careful. We can be told we're "trying to recruit youth to the homosexual agenda" or "you're all a bunch of pedophiles trying to prey on defenseless children"...with LGBT adults, there's always the double standard, where are straight counterparts working on mostly straight comics with teenagers in them do not have to defend themselves to the public or press for including a panel or two that might seem salacious to some.

Because of this (and this is only speaking from my perspective, not the creative team's) we have really been trying to watch what we put in the book and doing our best to maintain an all ages theme. Tommy and I have spent hours on the phone trying to rework scenes so they don't come off as being too mature and hopefully trying to find a happy medium. It is because of opinions and posts, such as this, we take in to consideration your view points.

One of the aspects of this project is that the readers have a big involvement in it. While Tommy has the final say or nay, we take all your views into consideration.
Thank you so much to you and to all who have made posts...

Please, if there is something you wish to see or for us to do, do not hesitate to post. I appreciate all your opinions and all reviews. Do not think you can offend me by saying something that you might think we wouldn't like to hear, I don't have that thin of skin :)., I'm a big heifer drag queen, I've heard it all :P.

So, I really hope no one thinks I'm trying to be on the defense on this, but I may come on from time to time to give the reasons certain scenes were chosen and why others weren't (you wouldn't believe the editing process for the scene in the auditorium :) )...Thanks again for posting your review, MystikChronicler, I appreciate it :) and I'm sure the others do to...

~Brian
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Postby Perihelion » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:08 pm

Mystic and Brian... Excellent posts and points by you both REALLY!

Brian I think you hit the nail on the head with the unfortunate double standard we are placed under. For that reason deciding on who our intended audience is cannot be more important. We may even want to place a mission statement of sorts in inside of one of the covers. If it is 13+ cool and if we state that and the book is drawn and written for that then it can be reviewed and advertised with that in mind... same thing for all ages or whatever you guys decide it to be. This way as long as we are playing by our stated intentions we can hardly be legitimately criticized for something outside of the scope of our intent.

Brian I also wanted to tell you that I was really impressed with your cover for issue 2. Your art keeps looking greater and greater. I really enjoyed the more clean drawing style you used on it. I know this is largely an issue of taste but to me the really clean lines seem even more polished and professional.
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Postby StSean » Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:15 pm

Self-publication is fun, but it is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Gathering a good staff, finding funding, setting and meeting deadlines, deciding if it’s hobby or if it’s a gateway to more professional gigs, printing and distribution – argh! Even facing all that, I think I’d be hard-pressed to find a self-publisher who doesn’t love the work, no matter how frustrating or deeply weird the obstacles are. And if one can find an audience… well! Even better!

Tommy Roddy, with much fanfare and self-promotion, has published his own full-color, 36-page comic book, Pride High. Any praise you’ve heard for him or his work is well-deserved.

Tommy, with artist Brian Ponce, sets his story at Poseidon Prep, School for Heroic Youth. Much like Sky High or The New Mutants or even (for those of you kitchy (or old) enough to remember) “Hero High” from “The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!”, Pride High is the training ground for up-and-coming superheroes (I’m not sure all the students are actually “heroic”, but like many academic institutions these days, the name may have come from a more optimistic time when “prepatory” and “heroic” meant something. These days with public and private schools being almost interchangeable in terms of student composition and academic rigor, it makes sense that even a “heroic” school may take on those who are less than idea candidates.). The difference between Pride High and other coming-of-age comics is that Tommy’s front characters are all gay, or at least involved in gay culture one way or another (Yay, gay youth!).

Issue one, “The Out Crowd”, is a lot to digest. As the school year begins, students old and new converge on Poseidon Prep and lines are immediately drawn. We learn who’s together; who has feelings for whom; who’s good, who’s bad; who’s straight, who’s gay; and most importantly what everyone’s names and powers are. Not to detract from the understated exposition (which is best when understated), but the amount of information to intake is a bit much – just like the first day at any new school would be (as I recall). I found myself unable to remember character’s faces and affiliations by the end of the story and had to re-read to clarify a few points. Also, the flow of the panels stumbles once in a while. I believe, however, that these are not defects per se. No one, not even the esteemed Neil Gaiman, got it right the first time out of the gate. Hell, I’m still trying to figure out what happened in the last issue of Infinite Crisis or why I should even care, and that was produced by a team of comic pros! Comics is a medium best learned in the doing; Tommy and his team have made a stunning debut, and anyone can plainly see it will just keep getting better from here.

Pride Comics wants their readers to be involved in the creation of Pride High. Reminiscent of Dial H for Hero, readers can join the Pride Comics message board and propose their own characters for the Poseidon Prep student body. Tommy doesn’t promise that he can use all the submitted ideas, but even the chance to have one’s character make a cameo appearance is enough of an incentive to keep posters (and readers) coming back.

The bottom line: Pride High is a lot of fun. The team’s enthusiasm and love for the work shine through every page, and there are innumerable stories to be told. I look forward to them all.

--Sean McGrath
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Postby Lizard Lad » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:17 am

Oh the excitement.

I just received the package and I just knew what was there. As I was pulling it from the protective wrapping I could see the cover showing the cast for which I was about to dive into their world.

The creators had to deal with the same things many first books do, and they did it with flying rainbow colors. While we are not deep in to the characters personalities yet, we did get to see them. We saw some merits and some flaws. This was great in that we already can begin to relate to these kids. Another good beginning to me is that we get to see bits of the campus life. A peek in to the world for which these stories are about to be told. Enough to get interested and want more.

There are the elements of pride, and well Duh, it is Pride High. The first book sets out with a mission. We will have to wait to see just how far that mission is carried. The first book heavily shows the oppression of gays and the team is quick to bring it to a close. That is a wonderful trait, though we will have to wait and see how that tone plays as we hopfully get deeper into all the characters and the super teens world. I believe by what I have seen that we are promised good and fun stories with the team showing they are like all others in the school. There are many possible paths at this point, we will just have to see where the creative team carrys the kids.

The clear and up front bad guys of the book are laid in front of us. It is clear that these are people you want to dislike. Though without a spoiler I can say I am over joyed at the fact that we are given a hint that some of the bad guys are not without redeeming quailites. I am sure we will have some down right evil in the future, but for me it is nice to start with real feeling people just like the heros.

The art work in the book is fun and pleasing. I think like with many first book the artist is only beginning, and he is doing well. With many books it is like finding a voice for a character. I think with art it is the same. As he plays with the characters I beleive that there will be some growth or changes as he tinkers and plays with the kids. All of this promises great things.

Over all the book is a wonderful and amazing start. Like any intro book we are given the cast and the stage, now we are ready for the stories to be played out before us.
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Postby Promstar » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:14 am

I just read this thread and this made me laugh:

The best example of this is on page three when Mindsweeper says to Chip Cheetah, "How was the flight from london, Chip?" Chip responds with, "Long. Very, Very long." Then in the next panel Kid Mischief says, "Sounds like my boyfriend." I have to ask WHAT? What sounds like his boyfriend. Asking about his friend and how his flight from london was? This came off strange to me and came off a little fake.


From reading the comic i took the comment from Kid to be a bit of dirty innuendo about Mindsweeper's Manhood.
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Eleanor Renoir a nun in france, is fused with a street hooker in a mystical explosion. Artwork is from Pride High Comic, but character is mine!
[url="http://www.pridecomics.com"]Check out the comic![/url]
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Postby The Hellion » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:52 am

I really loved this, I tried to create a comic book about LGBTS heroes a while back. It was just me so it fell apart but I always hoped for some gay heroes and villains to appear in mainstream. However when they did they usually didn't get realistic treatment or were barely recognizeable as gay OR they were phased out.

Thankfully times have changed and borderline or implied lesbianism is no longer in every comic its usually out there along with gay men. Pride High gives centre stage to gay and straight students being heroes and teenagers in equal measure, realistically. They have antagonists that are realistic and people who don't care either way so it feels real

Already i've formed a serious liking for the characters. I think if Mindsweeper were to die I'd be really upset, we all would surely, he's the leader and he's KM's boyfriend and Suravi's mind eyes and friend. I haven't connected that quick since I first read BKV's Runaways.

The comics realistic on a grass routes level and thats really great. I remember i used to create gay heroes and say...nah that'll mever happen and now here it is a comic about gay heroes, after the Young Avengers fiasco (come on people get offended that Wiccan and Hulkling might hold hands now and again GET A GRIP there are gay people out there). This is a great step i hope someday that its on sale everywhere.

The story :fab. The characters: excellent. Its just all around good. My only qualm is that the argonauts aren't all closeted...or are they? :wink: kidding...sorta :P
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Postby Revena » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:54 am

I heard about Pride High for the first time this morning on the Girl-Wonder.org forum, and was interested enough to purchase the download version. I understand that the PayPal system has been acting up for some people, but I had no trouble with it whatsoever, and was soon enjoying the comic.

I belonged to a gay-straight alliance club when I was in high school, and the dynamics between the main characters in this first issue struck me as very true-to-life (though, none of us at my high school had super powers, I'm sorry to say...). I am intrigued by the characters and curious about how various problems raised in the first issue will be resolved. I found the writing very clear and nicely-paced, for the most part, and the art had a nice mix of realism and more stylized features that made me think "superhero comic" without the usual "wow, nobody real is shaped that way!" add-on.

I'll be looking out for the next issue, and passing on information about the comic to friends of mine who I think will be interested. :-)
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Postby ChangelingDJ » Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:55 pm

I loved the first issue.
The inking is beautiful

I like the story. It kept me interrested.

It also got me inspired. Now I just have to think of which group out of two superhero groups to make a fan fiction with.
all the seasons I have spoken
all the reasons I have rhymed
for the state of incandescence
just imagine what is real
simply then the words were spoken
just imagine what is real
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Postby Chameleongirl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:33 am

I've read the first issue and am looking forward to the next. As has already been pointed out, it was a very abrupt ending but it definitely created a need to know what happens next :)

The art was good for the most part, though I felt that there were a few rough patches. Characters were distinct and there were no examples of 'extreeeeme' physiques (Comics I love you, but for the love of god find some *realism*!). I liked the colouring too.

Congrats on a good first issue.
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Postby Deadeas » Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:07 pm

Wow! I just got around to reading Issue 1. How can I say anything that hasn't been said except, very impressive! I loved the story, and just wow!
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Pride Review

Postby WildAngel » Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:14 pm

Creating and establishing a new world for a story is never an easy task. Television series often take several episodes to truly establish the rules of their reality. Most fantasy films spend the first few minutes strictly dictating the details of this new world (note how many fantasy films now begin with that on-going voiceover explaining the back story).

However, "Pride High" is able to quickly transport it's readers in to it's own world. Simply by picking up the first issue, by physically holding a comic book, the reader is instantly notified of what kind of story, and world, they are about to enter. Comics have a long standing history in American culture, especially American youth culture. One can easily assume that anyone reading "Pride High" has, at one point in time, been a youth (if they are not currently youth).

Comic readers will immediatly identify the rules of "Pride High." It's simple: a school for young heroes. This concept draws from so many pre-established comics and storylines that it does not seem foreign at all. It also gives the creators great freedom to utilize several types of heroes. One can see a blend of the Marvel type heroes (mutants, telepaths, etc...) to DC type heroes (those blessed by Gods, born with super human strength, etc....)

However, "Pride High" does not stop at such a simple storyline. The story bravely focuses upon "The Out Crowd," the group of school rejects who are rejected for their openness to sexuality. I originally thought the title implied that the entire school would have been gay; for the first few pages I was a little confused by this misunderstanding. However, it is a much stronger statement to set the "homo heroes" lost amidst the "hetero heroes;" it mirrors reality, provides a strong sense of conflict, exposes the deep seeded divisions of high school life, and places a much stronger emotional reward behind each victory.

I grew up on comic books. I think a lot of little gay boys did, finding safety in a world where ordinary people were secretly extraordinary. "Pride High" was able to transport me back to that time in my life. To have had a comic book during my youth that validated my sexuality would have been incredible. I could always read between the lines of "X Men" to find the subtle undertones of sexuality, race, or gender. But "Pride High" is brave and courageous enough to openly display and discuss the subject. And that act alone is heroic.
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