5 Queer Comics You Should Read

As part of Pride Month, today we point out five queer favourites that you should consider checking out

Potential by Ariel Schrag
What it’s about:
Ariel Schrag continues her tumultuous passage through high school in the second book of her acclaimed series of frank, insightful, and painfully honest autobiographical graphic novels. Written during the summer following her junior year at Berkeley High School in California, Potential recounts Ariel’s first real relationship and first-time love with a girl, her quest to lose her virginity to a boy, and her parents’ divorce – as well as the personal and social complications of writing about her life as she lives it. Along the way she hangs out with her favorite teacher, obsesses over clothes, gets drunk, smokes pot, and tries to connect the biology she reads about in textbooks with the biology she’s living.

Why you should read it:

I have probably read this comic more times than any other, and if that isn’t a recommendation, I don’t know what is. I love Schrag’s voice, and this for me is the best of her high school comics (Awkward and Definition, which are now published together, I enjoyed but Potential was much more substantial, and a little bit more grown up (but understandably, she was very young when she wrote and published them). Its sequel Likewise went the other way and was deep into postmodernism, whereas I loved the clear narrative of Potential – still, if you enjoyed Potential, give Likewise a go, although it’s a very different beast. ANYWAY).

It’s a fantastic, funny, true story about a bisexual girl, being a senior in high school, and being in love as a teenager – that has that deep seriousness that only teenage love can have. Oh, and goats. Let’s not forget the goats (Just read it).

No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, edited by Justin Hall
no straight lines
What it’s about:
No Straight Lines celebrates the vibrant LGBT artistic underground by gathering together a collection of excellent stories that can be enjoyed by all. Until recently, queer cartooning existed in a parallel universe to the rest of comics, appearing only in gay newspapers and gay bookstores and not in comic book stores, mainstream bookstores or newspapers. The insular nature of the world of queer cartooning, however, created a fascinating artistic scene. LGBT comics have been an uncensored, internal conversation within the queer community, and thus provide a unique window into the hopes, fears, and fantasies of queer people for the last four decades. These comics have forged their aesthetics from the influences of underground comix, gay erotic art, punk zines, and the biting commentaries of drag queens, bull dykes, and other marginalized queers. They have analyzed their own communities, and their relationship with the broader society. They are smart, funny, and profound.

Why you should read it:
Because it’s a fantastic primer and history of forty years of queer comics, from big names to small ones, from artists you probably have heard of to hidden and forgotten gems – basically if you’re interested in queer comics, this is essential.

O Human Star by Blue Delliquanti
In lieu of what it’s about and why you should read it, I’ll point you to my recent review of it on the blog here. You can also read it for free online here.

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore
What it’s about:
Katchoo is a beautiful young woman living a quiet life with everything going for her. She’s smart, independent and very much in love with her best friend, Francine. Then Katchoo meets David, a gentle but persistent young man who is determined to win Katchoo’s heart. The resulting love triangle is a touching comedy of romantic errors until Katchoo’s former employer comes looking for her and $850,000 in missing mob money. As her idyllic life begins to fall apart, Katchoo discovers no one can be trusted and that the past she thought she left behind now threatens to destroy her and everything she loves, including Francine. This is the first edition in the series – don’t miss it!

Why you should read it:
This long-running epic of queer relationships has stolen the heart of many a reader, and is persistently popular (so much so that new volumes start every few years!).

The Backstagers
the backstagers
What it’s about:
All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic–literally! When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen. James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.

Why you should read it:
If there ever was a comic that I felt was completely made for me, it’s this me. As a gay theatre geek, I fell in love with this book and fell in love with it hard. This book is made of so much cute, it had me squee-ing left, right and centre. This – ladies and gentlemen – is how you do a diverse, queer cast, with people across the sexuality and race spectrum and it’s no big deal at all. This book is gorgeous, funny (seriously funny) and an old fashioned adventure. It collects what they billed as a limited series, but I’m hoping that this will become an ongoing series  (something that the paperback being dubbed Volume 1 is a good sign for). Just

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s