By day, Joe Davies is an optical assistant at Specsavers in Cardiff; by night he becomes Joe Glass, author of a popular and independent set of LGBT superhero comics.
The 32-year-old Rhondda writer, who has worked at the Queen Street opticians for the past eight years, created comic series The Pride to help fight prejudice against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and ensure its representation in his favourite genre.
The series follows the adventures of an LGBT superhero team headed by rainbow-caped FabMan.
Eight years, six issues and a spin-off series later, Joe’s work is now selling worldwide and can be found at major comic book stores, including Travelling Man in Leeds, Newcastle and York and Cardiff‘s Forbidden Planet.
He exhibits at major comic cons, including in New York and San Diego, and schools have invited him to address pupils about his work, which offers support and positive messaging to teenagers grappling with their sexuality.
‘I wanted to create a super hero comic that better represented the LGBT community,’ said the English literature graduate.
‘A lot of characters are based on my experiences as part of that community, as well as the experiences of people I know, and how the world responds to us.’
Working around the clock
Joe, who started working at Specsavers around the same time he started writing the series, spends up to 12 hours a week writing around his day job. He uses his wages to help cover publishing costs.
‘I’m burning the candle at both ends but I’m doing what I love so I don’t mind,’ he said.
‘Not only does working at Specsavers allow me to fund my dream, but the team has always been very supportive and flexible. They allow me the time and freedom to follow my passion and for that I’m grateful.’
Nicola Edwards, store manager, added: ‘We are incredibly proud of Joe and all he has achieved. Not only is he a wonderful colleague and employee, but his creative work is providing much-needed support to vulnerable young people worldwide. As a store that prides itself on serving the community, we couldn’t ask for more from our staff and we wish him every future success.’