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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Postby Sage » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:16 pm

Pride High starts out with the main cast coming to school from vacation and getting back into the groove of things. Within the first two pages of the story, the theme of “out” gay relationships is brought out. Considering the nature of the comic (teenage sexuality), author and producer Tommy Roddy does a great job of creating a sense of the high school aura that we all experienced and know so well—especially those still attending!

The characters, varied as the animals on earth, are by no means your stereotypical archetypes. Unlike the mainstream comics that show two ethnic characters and are called diverse, Pride High actually pushes the limit and features characters of very different backgrounds without typecasting them into the roles that the American media is known for.

Jorge Ponce, a Puerto Rican boy who acquired his mental abilities from a “power transfer” with a retired hero, is the story’s main protagonist. He is an “out” homosexual with a telepathic boyfriend to boot. Taking on the name “Kid Mischief” and acting as an apprentice to the retired “Mischief,” Jorge brings out the emotional side of the teenager in us all (some more than others).

Craig Newman, an African-American telepath with a sort of driven playfulness that we all can relate to, is the boyfriend of Jorge and squad leader of Pride High. He is just as “out” as his boyfriend and plays the role of determined activist as he steps up to defend a student from bullies despite being the victim of a racial slur. His role in the story is that of a leader and he has that inspiring quality that most leaders tend to have.

Chippendale “Chip Cheetah” Chesterfield (try saying THAT five times fast!) is the story’s gentleman and he does the part justice. As an Englishman and cute ball of fuzz, he is the intellect of the team, possessing a knowledge and wit that is fairly common among teens but never really explored. Chip is extremely likeable as a character due to his loyalty to his friends (as the straight male in Pride High, it would be understandable to most if he simply broke ties so that he would not have to endure the misguided homophobia) and spurts of British slang which should only be utilized by him since Americans can’t seem to do it right in his eyes. While he is very sociable, his character bio suggests that he is somewhat self-conscious of his human form due to a birth condition that was not fully repaired. Perhaps he uses his knowledge and wit as an ego-defense mechanism?

Suravi Small (who would share my surname if only she added an ‘s’) is somewhat ambiguous as a character by the standards of modern archetypes. While she relies on telepathic vision during combat, she is not as dependant as most blind characters are on their friends—but she is not so independent that she uses all of her senses to get around as most blind superheroes do (a rather played-out concept to this day). She is an Indian girl who was born into the bottom of the caste system (the Dalit community or “Untouchables”) in her native land and was adopted by mixed couple. One can only thank the Powers That Be for the genius writing of her character. She is truly that one in a million of the handicapped teens in literature (super-powered or otherwise) who are either too dependant to the point of vomiting or too independent to the point of unbelief. While not being overbearing, her powers of solar radiation are parallel to Scott Summers from the X-Men. Survai actually one-ups him in believability as her sunglasses function as they are made to—not holding optic blasts in. As Goldilocks would say: “Just right!”

Every story needs one and Pride High does it just right: Clair Aedhamair AKA Scotch Bonnet. Her last name is rather harsh on the tongue, as are her powers (for her heroic name is derived from a rather hot pepper). The hot-headed lass is the second character to hail from Europe and also the second non-homosexual character in Pride High, “mostly.” Being the typical hot chick (every comic needs one) she doesn’t take stuff from anyone, and goes so far as to think threatening thoughts to a particular member of an opposing squad (this is only seen by the reader). As a girl, she does not seem to get any smack about being in Pride High (then again, she doesn’t seem to get any smack about ANYTHING). Once again, Mr. Roddy dares to touch upon the subjects that teens face everyday; the double-standard of gender in this case where it is okay for girls to be around homosexuals and nothing be thought of it but it gets problematic when guys do it.

The criticism against it deals only with the fact that it is an independent comic, which can’t be helped. The art is consistent (doing quite well without the familiar glossiness that Marvel and DC comics have) and the writing is, yet again, genius. With the support of those sympathetic to the gay plight and the great writing and art, Pride High is sure to be a hit among the nation!
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Postby Sharako_LunarWolf » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:46 pm

i realy like this one it was intresting seeing the locker room seen. you dont see thoes verry often in comics with superhearows witch rases the question to any of them ever clean there costumes. It was awsome deffanetly worth the money. oh and chip is totaly hot.
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Postby Verdant » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:18 pm

The thread of this focus was originally on spoiler-free reviews. However, as of April 2007, the discussion has been opened to spoilers and speculation. Feel free to discuss any and all aspects of this issue!
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Postby ceteria » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:41 pm

Finally got through the first issue of Pride High!

I'm really impressed overall by what I've read so far. I've noticed that sometimes, in first issues, characters seem really one dimensional, but they don't here. I even have a feel for what their strengths and their limitations.

Even "The Jerks" (namely Beowulf and KO) had more than one side of them. I loved the cliffhanger at the end when they (Beo and KO) make the decision to go help our heroes. I think that that was one of my favorite parts, because it said alot about the personalities and the dire situation of it. Meh, I'm a sucker for character exploration, so I'm probably going to wind up ranting a lot about that here.....

Since this is my first review here, it's going to be shorter. I'm just going to mention who got my attention right away and why and what I think of him.

Jorge:

Right at the beginning, my attention was drawn to him. And it wasn't because of his purple eyes or purple hair, or even the fact he was holding hands with another guy. It was more because of his pose and his "larger than life" personality. Then he started talking and I was even more aware of him. Everytime (at the beginning) that Craig talked to him, Jorge agrees and adds a new topic to the convo. I don't mean that he was bowling over Craig, but more that he was a driving force.

He certainly lives up to his name of Kid Mischief. He reminds me of the 60's DC Trickster (except without the robbing banks thing).

The plot itself is enjoyable and I found myself remembering the old New X-men issues. I'd like to see more of Chip, Claire and Beowulf. They really caught my attention (Beowulf did at the *very* last second) and I feel like I didn't really get enough of them.

Little Things I'd like to mention:

1) Mr. Gunn's face when the freshman ran off --- His shocked face added a little more to the situation and made me a little more empathic with him. If I didn't see that, I think that my first impression of Mr. Gunn would be just another teacher, breaking up another fight and not really caring what the issue was about. His expression on that panel changed my whole opinion on him.

2) Page 9, first panel ---- It seems like four people (two girls, two guys) are all staring at Chip with hearts around them. I'm probably reading it wrong and they're probably not all infatuated with him, but it was still amusing none the less.

3) Page 19, third panel (the big 'un)---- What's up with the ominous glowing of KO's bracelet thing?....

4) Page 24, Last panel ---- It's nice to see that despite that life is obviously going to be very surreal at times, it's still a high school at heart, complete with students dropping their heads in despair on their desks and talking when the teachers back is turned. It's easier to connect with not only the main characters, but the whole story as well.

5) Page 25, Last three panels ---- Not only am I a sucker for character exploration, but also for foreshadowing. Who's Craig looking at?...

6) The explosive ending ---- Very catching ending, I had to tear myself away so I could go write this....I think that it was particularly effective because it's Beo and KO breaking down the door, which they definitally wouldn't do unless the situation was *really* dire. It just adds to the tension. Dr. Gunn being helpless and just hitting buttons added as well.

I love the art work, it's bold, colorful and shows great expressions when the situations are tense. Sometimes though, the anatomy seems a little ackward and certain facial features when the situation *isn't* life or death seem a little off. Jorge looks more fierce than happy at the beginning and Craig seems to bare his teeth every time he uses his powers.

All in all, this was a great start to a promising series. The beginning was catchy and the plot drew me in. The characters were (thankfully) not one dimensional, but so very life like and real. Certain characters (most noticably Jorge) really stood out. I'm really looking forward to more of this.

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Postby ShastaB24 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:48 pm

I've read them all a while ago, but I thought I'd give a little of my perspective. This isn't a review, however, as I don't want to go the route that says what others have said anyways. However, I do have two things I wish to address.

First, I have seen a review that commented on the art and how it is not professional quality. While I agree that companies such as Marvel have the inexhaustible money to hire far better artists, that doesn't mean that such companies always use them, either. For one, look at the majority of comics in the 90s. Art was scant in talent then. At least Pride High is consistent and the characters look believably proportioned (not to mention contortioned). I thought that age was over, however, until I purchased the latest Wizard magazine yesterday. With it was packaged a promotional comic for the video game Dark Sector, the comic published by Top Cow. So many pages in the comic are difficult to say just what is going on. In fact, it almost looks like the artist just splotched ink on the page and called it a panel. When I compare the terrible art provided in a major imprint, I can feel that this issue, though not perfect by far, is quite good and would work if Brian Ponce drew every issue every month.

On a completely different note, there is one bit about this issue that has stuck with me and I still am rather intrigued. At the assembly, Mindsweeper mindcasts the beginning for Suravi, and in crystal clarity. However, when it comes to the holo-sim, when he again links with Suravi, the mindcast is, in her words, "all off." Now, some may say that Mindsweeper is distracted and is rusty in combat scenarios, but that doesn't sit right with me. We see an image of what Suravi sees in combat, and it is just contoured purple, not anything even close to what she was able to see of Dr. Alexander before. I doubt that such a difference can be explained away so easily. So, why was the mindcast so off? Am I looking too far into it, or is there more that will be discussed? Considering the importance of Mindsweeper to the overall storyline, I really want to try and read deeply into what little we get of him, since that may help unravel the mystery of what his character left behind.
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Postby Verdant » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:10 pm

shastab24 wrote:We see an image of what Suravi sees in combat, and it is just contoured purple, not anything even close to what she was able to see of Dr. Alexander before.


Very good observation...
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Postby The Hellion » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:14 am

Sounds more like a critique than a review, you evaluate a style as skill which up until now I have seen no one do.

I personally think Brian's style is his own, to be honest saying its nowhere near as good as Marvel or DC is very much a case of saying "Dali was a worse artist than Vermeer because Dali couldn't draw people" - when it was merely Dali's style to draw melting clock and long legged elephants

Brian's style is very good, it has a certain retro feel while being very realistic - I just felt that calling Marvel's artists far better was completely wrong. Want an example? Read "The Arena" in Xtreme Xmen for an example of "far better artists" where the characters were like playdough people.

Sorry just had to say I don't agree with that system of critique of Brian Ponce's art nothing personal or anything, just can't agree that Brian is any better or any worse than an artist in Marvel, style can't be a basis for judging skill
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Postby ShastaB24 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:37 am

Maybe I should always clarify with stating what is my opinion, if nothing for myself. I have seen pictures of the interiors of recent Marvel work and the art is so good, so realistic. However, if you could get somebody at an Alex Ross quality for your interiors, you would blow everyone away. I really like the photorealism.
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Postby The Hellion » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:47 am

Oh you're fully entitled to your opinion and I'm not making an attack or anything

But given the use of technology I feel there's been some small detachment from the original comic books. People forget how much technology goes into comic books these days and I always feel its robbing something
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Postby ShastaB24 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:51 pm

I should remember that.

Brian is a good artist, though. His art really evolved from this issue through the next and is truly what Pride High looks like to me, no matter how many other people draw the characters.
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Postby The Hellion » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:33 pm

I agree, when a character is drawn first it leaves a mark of the artist on them.
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Postby QPuff » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:13 am

Wow is all I can say about issue 1, It sucks you into the story in no time flat. The characters good or not to good, All have some depth to them. Now it's hard writing individual styles, And it's hard drawing them, Combining the two is even tougher. It all mixes together nicely. The first panels set you up for some realism on how coming back to school can be only with a mix of powers thrown in, Especially when you see a crowd you don't like after a vacation.

I love the diversity, It doesn't force it onto you it just ends up relating to you no matter your orientation or ethnicity, I loved the realism when it came to the bullying of the freshman, He was rescued but ended up walking away from the people protecting him. Which you see a lot of in schools.

The forced french kiss had me reeling in my seat with a cheeky smirk.

The cliff hanger ending had me dropping my draw wondering what the &*$7 happened and wondering what is gonna happen next.

I can't find a critique for this issue, It sucks you in and keeps you reading.
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