Jess Chambers, DC’s first non-binary Flash, you will see your adventures continue in the next Pride DC anthology. Chambers will star in a new story titled “Clothes Makeup Gift” by Danny Lore, Lisa Sterle, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Becca Carey.

Chambers first debuted in DC’s very happy multiverse # 1, where they were the speedster of Earth-11. Chambers landed a more prominent role in DC Future state event, where they were the future Flash of the Justice League and one of the greatest heroes on Earth. Now, Jess Chambers is back in DC Pride. We spoke with Danny Lore (they / them) about the opportunity to write Chambers and how important it was for the non-binary writer to face a non-binary hero.

Related: The Flash Almost Killed The Justice League With A Ridiculous Mistake

How did this project come about?

Danny Lore: I had Truth and justice, and then a short history of Wonder Woman and Zatanna digitally. My editor for all those pieces was Michael McCalister. He asked me if I wanted to write to Jess. And I don’t have this confirmed, but I would imagine this is because from the moment Jess was revealed, I went crazy for Jess.

DC Jess Chambers

But yeah, from there I had a couple of ideas on what I wanted to do with Jess, but this one really builds on my initial idea. And, with a new inherited character, it’s a lot of fun to play with what makes them stand out in the legacy and also with the things they share. Because no matter who’s in the suit, there are certain things you want to vibrate with when choosing a Flash story. For me, I also have ADHD, which is why I related to Wally West a lot because of much of his experience of trying to interact with people while he was at incredible speed, which is kind of a lived experience. That, to me, is an iconic part of Flashes. But I wanted to play around with how different it looks with Jess.

How important is it that a non-binary author writes a non-binary character like Jess?

I think overall, it’s incredibly important to make sure that marginalized creators are involved in both the creation and continuation of marginalized characters. There are parts of my life that, until recently, I had never seen in a comic.

And it’s not about big racial issues or big gender issues; it’s just the little things that make the characters feel more vivid and make people see themselves in the books. Every day, there is a chance that new comic book fans will be created as long as we have the comics that resonate with them in our hands. And we can’t do that if they can never see themselves in those books.

I think it is also an uncomfortable and unfortunate truth that sometimes things are tonally different. You can do the exact same action, but if the creator is from that marginalized community rather than outside of that community, it has a different context. It’s a very different choice for me to decide to write a scene where I say, “great. Here, Jess is going to wear a skirt. And on this other page, they are not going to wear a skirt.” It is different contextually if a non-binary person puts their experience in that story than if the decisions about non-binary characters are made by people who do not live that experience. A non-binary writer deciding whether a non-binary character has dysphoria is something else.

It’s hard to explain, except that when it’s not done right, it hurts, and it hurts a lot of people. And it is important that we do not do that. The only pain should be because we wrote a great harrowing scene and we all hurt. But it really shouldn’t hurt our readers.

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Obviously, there is still a long way to go, but how does it feel to work in a much more inclusive community than five years ago?

Danny Lore: I’d say five years ago, I didn’t think I’d be here. Before I was actually in the industry, I knew I was always going to be a writer, but I thought it was going to be entirely prose. I didn’t see myself fitting into the industry for various reasons, but I was lucky, with James Tynion, Vita Ayala, and people coming in before me, that the doors got wide open.

It’s really exciting. The desire to give more space to diverse and marginalized writers allows us to be more experimental also at the artisanal level. Because they’re looking for different voices, they’re looking for different styles, so there’s a lot of room for creativity in that. And that’s really exciting for me.

This book shows Jess’s fashion sense, what was it like to explore that with artist Lisa Sterle?

Danny Lore: It’s actually a lot of fun. So I immediately DM him like, “Oh my gosh.” And we were just exchanging fashion ideas. The fashion thing is really fun and cute, but it was also very intentional for not being binary. On the surface, I was like, “I just want to have a mini Harley Quinn tribute. Crazy Love costumes. “But actually, it was also about it being very important to me that if Jess is not binary, let’s see that that doesn’t necessarily mean presenting a particular definition of androgynous.


One day, it could be a cute patterned skirt, and another day, it could be super butch. Or it could be a day when the top is super butch and you’re wearing a cute skirt. There are so many different ways to express fashion and gender. And I feel like a lot of times, partly because we haven’t yet reached a balance of queer genre writers writing those great characters, newer and newer genre characters, there is a concern about what that presentation looks like that prevents that presentation from being a spectrum.

It really is a spectrum for me. And that was the reason why, when Lisa said, “Can we do some makeup?” I was like, “yes, absolutely”. Because anyone who follows me on social media knows that that was one of the ways I felt most comfortable. There was that wave of, “oh, but people will see me as more of a woman when I wear makeup,” to “I can wear makeup to look how I want to feel that day.”

Jess and Andy Curry’s romance was the subject of much ridicule on Future state. What was it like to cement that relationship in a new way?

Danny Lore: It was a lot of fun. Part of what I really enjoy especially with characters, like Zatanna and John Constantine, is this kind of arrogance. And it’s a lot of fun, in particular, to play with that with characters like Jess in a relationship, being a sweetheart. That was something I really wanted to play with, with them and Andy. But Andy also says, “I know you.” When you meet that flirt who has that tone in his voice and you say, “You’re doing it, and I know you are doing it. And I know you know you are doing it.” That was fun.

There’s something really cool about writing a non-binary character with his girlfriend, and they’re set. If they have any problems in their relationship, it is not because they are queer or because of their gender. They simply are. Every time I can write that, it’s a highlight.

What was it like creating a new villain in Reflek?

Danny Lore: That was me really firing my shot and taking a chance, because I was like, “Oh my gosh. What if I did this?” I texted Michael and said, “Hey, I want to give Jess his villain to fight with. I want to do a little more than take down randos.”

And Reflek actually came out of a double joke for me, because obviously, they’re based on the classic villain Mirror Master. And then from there, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be really fun to have a Flash villain with big, puffy curly hair?” Partly because there’s so much fun you can do with damp, curly or frizzy hair with speed and heat. So, I wanted to leave that on the table for all of us who can write Reflek later.


I turned to Lisa and said, “Is there a way,” because in recent years, there has been a 70s revival in fashion, “that we can make a disco inspired outfit without being tacky?” Lisa said, “That’s something I’m obsessed with right now.” And then the next couple of days, I shot these outfit designs and said, “Yes. Yes, absolutely.” So our inspiration is a kind of disco ball, but not in bad taste.

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What do you hope readers take away from Jess’s story?

Danny Lore: I want you to be excited for more of this queer in-universe mess. I think part of the plot is very inspired by my thought that, “on paper, the schedule worked today. I don’t know why it didn’t. And it went terribly wrong.” So, I like to think that the story is really relatable and that it will make you smile a little. Especially since some people want us to cry while reading the DC anthology. So, I want you to have fun and get excited about a non-binary character like Jess enjoying her life.

It was very intentional for me to write this story without a lot of pain. There are so many ways superheroes suffer. But Jess is going to be a cocky and disastrous fag right now, and he’ll make you smile.

What can you say about the other stories in Pride DC?

Danny Lore: Yeah, I think it’s very important that we both have stories about being queer, and that they just be queer. I think those are two different things that are important, and what I love about the Pride DC The anthology is that both are happening there. You have stories that are about queer and they examine it, and then you have stories where the characters are queer and the worlds they inhabit are queer, but it’s not about that specifically. I think both are equally important to audiences and both can be difficult to navigate.

But one of the things I love about the anthology is that everyone does it in such different ways, with such different tones and styles. And it is so important. Because I can think of books, both prose and comic books, where I think, “I saw that book and then I realize that I was allowed to write a certain way and do a certain thing.” And there will be people who collect Pride DC and they’re like, “oh, I can do that.”

For me, my fantasy moment is knowing that someone could write something that they couldn’t write before because of something I was involved in. And I think the Pride DC the book will do that a lot.

Will we see more of Jess in the future?

Danny Lore: Yes, I definitely hope so. I’m going to be Jess’s personal cheerleader no matter what. In fact, I will possibly change my hair color next week as part of this. I’ll be a walking billboard for Jess, I don’t care. And whoever ends up writing Jess on the line, I’ll be the first to pick up an issue and just cheer him on.

The other day I was texting [DC editor] Andrea Shea and talking about Jess, and I literally ended up crying thinking about how important Jess was and how I hadn’t experienced a superhero character like Jess. Being able to be a part of that legacy is really important to me.

Jess Chambers come back when Pride DC # 1 is in stores on Wednesday.

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