Last weekend, all across the world, millions of people celebrated, spectated, and otherwise paraded for LGBTQ+ pride, in remembrance of the Stonewall uprising. These celebrations, and Pride Month as a whole, stand as symbols of LGBTQ+ history and dignity, the free expression of sexual and gender identities of all people, and the ongoing fight against oppression. It’s also a fantastic time to celebrate the great LGBTQ+ comics currently abound.
Perhaps you went to such a celebration yesterday, and are now ready to curl up with a good book. Or maybe you just now realized, upon reading this article, that it was Pride Month, and have some catching up to do. Fear not, because we’ve compiled a list of 10 excellent comics. Below are our recommendations for diverse and inclusive comics that are so good you should’ve already been reading them. Get on it.
Gabby Rivera (writer), Jose Quinones (artist)
Where better to start than with the dimensional-hole-punching America Chavez, in her first ever solo series. The series follows America as she enrolls in an inter-dimensional college to practice some self-growth after a painful breakup with her girlfriend. She encounters some typical fare: sorority recruitment, lecture halls, time traveling, etc. Oh yeah, that last one is for a school project, and as a result she gets to punch Hitler. Writer Gabby Rivera, herself a queer Latina, has a lot of fun with history shenanigans. But she also dives deep into America’s character, exploring her relationship with her mothers, her Latina identity, and being a young, single, queer woman. Each issue is brought to life by Jose Quinones, who captures America’s character, both powerful and often unsure. Grab this one ASAP.
Chip Zdarsky (writer), Erica Henderson & Jack Morelli (artists)
We’re living in a weird time where Archie and his Riverdale crew are once again relevant, thanks both to the Archie Comics reboot in 2015 and the hit Riverdale show on The CW. Much of that success is due to the ever lovable Jughead. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Erica Henderson and Jack Morelli have created a delightful comic that centers around Jughead’s side-character status. While other Riverdale High students are busy with their frivolous dramas, Jughead is tirelessly exploring the possible discrete invasion of their high school by outside forces. Because…why not? In that same spirit, the creative team also revealed Jughead’s asexuality, making him the highest profile asexual character in comics. Grab this book and spend some time with your favorite crown-wearing, cheeseburger loving Riverdale High student.
Babs Tarr (writer, artist) Brenden Fletcher (writer) Cameron Stewart (writer, artist)
Like Speed Racer meets Death Race except leagues better. Domino Swift is part of a worldwide motorcycle racing league, dealing with league rules, paparazzi, and fans. But that’s only by day. At night, she races under an alter ego in illegal, violent bike gang races for an illicit motorcycle drug: Crush. And that’s literally just the beginning of Domino’s secrets. In just six issues the creative team from Batgirl of Burnside create a world as beautifully drawn and colored as it is rich in depth. Their protagonist is a queer black woman because why wouldn’t she be? But her identity isn’t the narrative. It’s just who she is. The Burnside team has crafted a real gem here, and if you’re not hooked by the description of their weird world, at least pick it up for the beautiful father-daughter relationship.
The Woods & The Backstagers (Boom! Studios)
James Tynion IV (writer), Michael Dialynas (artist, Woods), Rian Sygh (artist, Backstagers)
Ok so we cheated a little: this is two books. But that’s double the fun. Both are by DC alumnus and former Scott Snyder protege James Tynion IV. So naturally, both books are wonderful. Tynion identifies as bisexual, and his commitment to creating LGBTQ+ characters is apparent in these titles. In The Woods, the entirety of Bay Point Preparatory High School vanishes without a trace from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Light years away, the entire school finds themselves in a primordial wilderness. It’s a teen-conspiracy style story, with a small-town spooky feel reminiscent of Stephen King. On the complete opposite of the coin, The Backstagers follows Jory, who has just transferred to an all-boys private school, and joins the stage crew. There, he discovers a door backstage that leads to different worlds. Adorable and magical adventures ensue. Both comics feature casts stuffed with gay, bi, and trans characters, all captured in excellent visually distinctive art. Look no further for comic series appropriate for young ones that is LGBTQ+ celebratory.
Lumberjanes (Boom! Studios)
Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson (writers), Brooke A. Allen (artist)
It’s pretty hard to find an all-ages, woman-led, woman-created comic (or book, or film, or…anything). It’s even harder to fine one that includes LGBTQ+ characters. Luckily, Lumberjanes saves you the hassle of looking. It follows Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley, five best pals who have spend the summer together at camp doing normal summer camp things. Like dealing with supernatural creatures, for instance. Boom! Studios called it Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls, and if that doesn’t pull you in then it’s hard to say what would. The creative team has worked to create a light-hearted tale of friendship that, like it’s spiritual siblings The Woods and The Backstagers, appeals to all. There are six volumes available already, so grab them quick and have yourself a marathon.
Marguerite Bennett (writer), Marguerite Sauvage (artist)
Imagine: During WWII, Nazi Germany begins exploring the use of magic and monsters to help win the war. In response, Amanda Waller puts together a covert team of superpowered women called The Bombshells. Included in this team is: Batwoman, Zatanna, Batgirl, Vixen, Mera, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Huntress, Supergirl, Stargirl, Big Barda…and literally dozens more of what amounts to a who’s who of DC super-women. The coolest part: these heroes came first. Batwoman isn’t so named because of Batman – she actually saves Thomas and Martha Wayne from dying – but rather because she is a baseball player. Marguerite Bennett’s world is fascinating, but her characters are even better: strong, varied, and many of them queer and trans. And it requires no knowledge of DC universe. Grab volumes 1-4 now before the sequel series comes out in August.
Kim & Kim (Black Mask Studios)
Magdalene Visaggio (writer), Eva Cabrera (artist)
Best friends Kim Quatro and Kim Dantzler are intergalactic bounty hunters, called the Fighting Kims, and go on an intergalactic road trip to get their marks and make some cash. It’s not just an awesome space romp: it features a wide cast of queer characters, including one of the Kims who is trans. The result is a deeply personal story: while writing it, Magadalene Visaggio was going through her own transition process. Eva Cabrera’s art has a punk rock style that makes the series, and Kims, pop. There are few trans characters in comics, and even fewer trans creators. Take some time and check out a series that includes both. P.S. It also received a 2017 GLAAD nomination!
Steve Orlando (writer), ACO, Fernando Blanco, et al. (artists)
Steve Orlando penned DC’s first comic led by a gay man, and the result was nothing but violent delight. Midnighter is often compared to Batman, probably because they’re both attractive dark costume wearing men. But he’s so much more: he practices a more murderous brand of justice, and he loves what he does. He also has a very active, if sometimes disastrous, dating and sex life. In the sequel miniseries, Midnighter and Apollo, Midnighter is reunited with his long-time partner Apollo (often compared to Superman) as they go to hell. Literally. The result is an action packed and prominently gay story, from a bisexual creator. If you’ve always wondered what Batman and Superman’s love would be like, then it’s time pick up Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo.
Bingo Love (Inclusive Press)
Tee Franklin (writer), Jenn St-Onge (artist)
Ok so this one is technically cheating again because Bingo Love isn’t currently available – but it will be soon! Bingo Love is a romance story that spans 60 years. After meeting at church bingo (ah ha!) in 1963, Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray develop feelings for each other. But they are separated, don’t see each other for decades. Luckily they are reunited, and make plans to spend the rest of their lives together. Writer Tee Franklin is new to comics, but is an outspoken advocate of representation in the industry, including creating #BlackComicsMonth panels at NYCC. Artist Jenn St-Onge, who previously worked on Jem & the Misfits, is responsible for the addictingly cute aesthetic of the book. More than just adorable, Bingo Love fills a niche rarely seen in media: LGBTQ+ relationships between older individuals. You can preorder the book here!
Love is Love (IDW Publishing)
Various writers and artists
After the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, IDW Publishing gathered writers, artists, and creators from all over world to build Love is Love. The result is an anthology of memoirs, fiction, poetry and images dedicated to celebrating love in all forms. DC, Archie, Devil’s Due and more lent their characters and talent to the project. Each entry is only 1-2 pages, making up 144-page tribute and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. All proceeds from sales of the comic go to EQUALITY FLORIDA, an organization dedicated to securing justice and equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. This is an absolute must read for you and everyone you know.