It’s midsummer now and that means Pride month is winding down. But signs of Pride still abound. Rainbows, sparkles, and embarrassingly clumsy corporate attempts to court LGBT folks (or rather, our wallets). Now we here at A Place To Hang Your Cape like to celebrate Pride the same way we celebrate everything and anything-with comics! So here we have seven wonderful LGBT comics to help you keep the spirit of Pride alive all year round.
7. Fun Home
Currently running as a Broadway musical, Allison Bechdel‘s Fun Home traces Bechdel’s youth and sexual awakening. Beginning in Bechdel’s childhood and ending with her father’s questionable death Fun Home is a deeply felt family drama. Bechdel came of age after Stonewall and the modern queer rights movement while her father had reached adulthood before. So one gets a real sense of the different opportunities and worlds to which they had access. Fun Home deftly combines personal narrative with political history in a way that makes for an incredibly compelling memoir
Bechdel draws with a smooth, expressive style and an impressive degree of detail. Fun Home took a full seven years for her to complete and this dedication shows. Figures and faces are graceful and natural. Architecture and setting are both incredibly detailed and atmospheric. With such wonderful art Bechdel is able to transport readers to very specific times and places. Such an immersive experience makes Fun Home, not just an incredibly important memoir but also an incredibly beautiful one.
The only nonfiction title on this list, Queer: A Graphic History is a handy look at LGBT issues through comics. Covering such varied topics as history, media, and academics, Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele‘s comic is an excellent guide to the complex and oftentimes confusing world of LGBT culture. Regardless of sexuality and previous knowledge this is a comic that will be a welcome addition to your library.
Scheele illustrates the comic in a clean, graphic style. Her figures are simple, expressive, and perfectly clear. And personally I got a real kick out of cartoon Michel Foucault. However Scheele’s illustrations aren’t just beautiful, but an excellent way to bring queer theory to life. Queer: A Graphic History one of the most accessible introductions to queer theory around.
5. Love Is Love
A little over two years ago 49 people died in the Pulse massacre. It was one of the most devastating acts of homophobic violence in US history. Writing now, two years after the attacks we can still see how the murders reverberate through contemporary LGBT culture. In the aftermath of the attack Marc Andreyko brought together writers and artists with the help of IDW and DC comics. His efforts became Love Is Love, a memorial anthology where all proceeds go towards those hurt in the massacre. Love Is Love collects several short comics all about LGBT issues and Pulse. Some are hopeful, some are heartbreaking, but all are in support of the LGBT community.
With dozens of authors and artists Love Is Love is greatly varied in style. There are stories that are naturalistic in tone and aesthetic, while others are highly stylized. There are autobiographical ones and some that are entirely fictional. And then there are those grounded in the real world next to those that take place in stranger universes. It’s both impressive and touching so many creators come together in the wake of the Pulse shooting. Love Is Love is a beautiful testament to the value of art and community.
An astronomer’s apprentice and a mute necromancer find love in 17th century Paris in Novae. Raziol “Rasim” Qamar is studying the heavens under the tutelage of esteemed astronomer Christiaan Huygens. When Huygens introduces Rasim to his mysterious friend Sulvain, the two young men begin a charming flirtation with an easy chemistry. While Novae is currently concerned with the romance between our two leads there are hints of something rather more sinister afoot in the streets of Paris. And we’ve already had one murder occur off-page. The tension between the love story and potential mystery only adds to the beauty of this comic.
Creators Kaiju bring their story to life with graceful illustrations and an absolutely enchanting grasp of color. The Milky Way shines against the indigo-violent skies while fire and flowers alike glow with radiant warmth. Meanwhile one could easily get lost in the worn streets and detailed architecture of Paris. And of course there is also delicate, tender way they draw expression and gesture. Kaiju shows so much of Rasim and Sulvain’s feelings in their gorgeous and subtle art. So if you’re looking for history, romance, and mystery go star-gazing with Novae.
Silvermount University sits near a mountain of the same name. While it appears as no more than a calm college town the mountain hides an exceptional secret. Silvermount is in fact the site of an interdimensional rift and now five young students will become the guardians of their world. Agents of the Realm follows our five protagonists as they find their powers, their friends, and the secrets of their town in this magical girl story. Each agent is a completely realized person; interacting with one another in the halting, yet exciting way of new friends. They are also almost all LGBT. As this is college we get to follow our heroines as through classes, world-saving, and matters of the heart. And these are some beautifully queer hearts indeed.
Artistically creator Mildred Louis has a beautifully vivid style. Each agent has their own aesthetic, mannerisms, and idiosyncrasies to really emphasize their individual natures. What’s more, Louis has a wonderful grasp of expression. Each emotion and thought is perfectly executed with every exasperated eye roll and cheeky grin. Her backgrounds are detailed and clear while her use of color is atmospheric without being distracting. So come check out Agents of the Realm if you’re looking for an delightful LGBT friendly magical girl adventure (and come now, who isn’t?).
2. Bash Back
LGBT folks have always made our own families. Bash Back is about those families. About the ways in which we come together and the ways in which we protect one another. In the case of Bash Back this protection is especially visceral. Lawrence Gullo, Kelsey Hercs, and Fyodor Pavlov have created a story for every LGBT person who has ever felt powerless. Following a young queer man from the backwaters of Virginia Bash Back brings us to a New York City safe house. Here LGBT folks have a haven. But the city still has its dangers in the form of homophobic violence. That’s where the Family comes in. You see Bash Back is a story about the queer mafia. It’s a story that’s not afraid to show what happens when queer people fight back. Given how many stories involve LGBT people as martyrs to see us as vigilantes is downright refreshing.
With graphic sensibilities by Gullo and illustrations by Pavlov Bash Back also happens to be one of the most gorgeous comics around. Pavlov’s art is beautiful in a manner reminiscent of the Golden Age of Fairy Tale illustrators. His line work is smooth, his figures graceful, his expressions delicate, and his overall aesthetic a gorgeous meeting of classic and contemporary. The combination of delicate art and ferocious subject matter makes each aspect of the story stand out all the more. Truly Bash Back is the queer revenge story for which we’ve all been waiting.
There are few comics that encompass so very many of my interests as Marguerite Bennet and Ariela Kristantina‘s InSEXts. It has everything anybody could want: monsters, witches, beautiful dresses, Virctoriana, revenge, and queer ladies. Truly everything. This very NSFW story concerns lovers Lady Lalita Bertram and her maid Mariah. The two engage in a very intimate affair while they plan to escape Lalita’s abusive husband. To do so they use him as an incubator for a bizarre egg. When the egg hatches it kills the man and gives them a child. The two ladies and their newborn son are now free to be their own family. But Lalita’s dead husband has suspicious family, what’s more something deadly stalks London. So Lalita and Mariah must use magic and shape-shifting in order to confront their enemies both near and far.
Kristantina’s art is deeply atmospheric, with loose line work that only emphasizes InSEXts’ surreal horror. Her art is lush and languid, with tempting flowers and rich gardens, elaborate gowns and stunning jewels making her Victorian London a place of intoxicating beauty. This beauty, this luxury only highlights the moments of violence and monstrous action that so infuses the narrative. With a daring story and decadent art InSEXts lies somewhere between a dream and nightmare.
So there you have it Capers, seven fantastically queer stories to help you celebrate Pride. And while the month is almost over these comics will be with you no matter where or when you happen to find you need a little pride in your life. But we could always use even more LGBT comics, so sound off with some of your favourites in the comments below!