DC Comics has big plans for Pride month this year, and the comic book giant will kick things off by giving plant-based baddie Poison Ivy, one of its most endearing LGBTQ characters, a love story to die for helmed by two LGBTQ heavy hitters.
“Poison Ivy: Thorns” brings New York Times bestselling author Kody Keplinger (“The DUFF”) and artist Sara Kipin together to craft a gothic romance focused on the budding relationship between Pamela Isley, better known as Poison Ivy, and “cute goth girl” Alice Oh. But family secrets and Isley’s strained relationship with her father threaten to shape Isley just as much as embracing love.
The story reimagines the origin story of Poison Ivy, one of the most popular DC characters among LGBTQ audiences, with a clear focus on her LGBTQ identity. Ivy’s same-sex attraction was hinted at for years within the DC canon until her pairing with fellow villain Harley Quinn provided an avenue to point to it more directly. That relationship made its way to DC’s animated universe in the series “Harley Quinn,” giving LGBTQ audiences a healthy and enriching narrative that treated LGBTQ relationships with a unique realism.
It’s no wonder that Keplinger singled out Ivy as the only character she wanted to explore when approached by DC. “I was like, ‘Listen, I’m gay and I’m vegan. Let me tell you why I could write a Poison Ivy story,'” Keplinger told Nerdist. “I really pulled from my love of things like ‘Jane Eyre’ and just a variety of Gothic literature. Especially with reference to things like Sarah Waters books like “Fingersmith;” queer gothic literature. I wanted to pull that into the modern day and make creepy plants be a part of it.”
Kipin felt a similar enthusiasm while bringing Keplinger’s script to life. “I found Pamela to be relatable while reading the script, so it was easy to project on her and use my own life experience as a way to round her out,” they said. “Being a moody LGBT teen will do that!”
“I hope readers get to enjoy the spooky story centered around characters that might be a bit more like them,” Kipin added. “It’s hard to find LGBT horror stories, especially ones in mainstream media, so I hope this gets the chance to resonate with more people.”
Fans will have their chance to explore the plant-powered icon’s eerie queer origins when “Poison Ivy: Thorns” releases on June 1.