Loud & Proud: 20 LGBTQ+-Inclusive Comics for Pride Month

From Gay Vigilantes to Queer Magical Girls

Comics Lists Pride Month
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nib.jpg The Nib
Writer/Artist: Various
What happens to political cartoons in an era when people don’t read newspapers anymore? They could have died (killed by The Daily Show and other venues for mocking the powerful) or just been accessible through alternative papers, but The Nib is providing a third way. Updating every weekday with several new comics, it employs a big stable of cartoonists who share a wide range of work. Some of it consists of more traditional political cartoons, satisfying and feeding rage, but a lot of it also offers comics that report on important issues or personal nonfiction narrative. Queer comics are only one aspect of its offerings, but they’re a strong one. Kazimir Lee Iskander, a transman, provides some reporting on queer issues, such as the large percentage of the homeless who are LGBTQ+ and what it’s like to be queer in Malaysia. Joey Alison Sayers, a transwoman, uses humor to explain her perspective, with cartoony drawings that point out the absurdity of bigotry. Both and many more authors are providing a virtual fireworks show of pride, anger, connection, facts and more. Hillary Brown

ohumanstar.jpg O Human Star
Writer/Artist: Blue Delliquanti
Science fiction, at its very best, shows audiences hope for the future. Though it’s easy to mock the camp and antics of early Star Trek, it’s hard to understate the impact of a show that presented America’s first televised interracial kiss and depicted a post-scarcity, post-Cold War world. O Human Star is this kind of science fiction, striving for something so much better than what we have right now that it seems far-fetched, even if the technology isn’t all that distant. It’s both a mystery and a love story, romantic and platonic, featuring LGBTQ+ characters who aren’t remarkable for their orientation or sexual identity, but rather for their personalities and choices. Creator Blue Delliquanti deserves particular credit for showing trans and queer teens that are still sorting things out, but aren’t tortured by uncertainty or abandoned and unsafe. Though the comic deals with very real concerns and emotional dramatics, including issues of disability and access to assistive technology, it treats all of the characters tenderly; none of them are handled with kid gloves, and several of the adults make questionable decisions, but they’re all given space to learn and grow and remember how to care about each other. The bonus on top of this remarkable comic is Delliquanti’s enthusiastic exploration of artificial intelligence and robotics, rooted in very real, fascinating technological advancements. Caitlin Rosberg

onasunbeam.jpg On a Sunbeam
Writer/Artist: Tillie Walden
If you’ve ever meandered through an empty cathedral or wandered the halls of a school building after hours, then you’ve felt the solemn quiet Tillie Walden (I Love This Part, A City Inside) conjures in her Eisner-nominated webcomic, On A Sunbeam. The serial follows Mia, a newly assigned member to a motley crew of deep-space construction workers. The crew travels in their fish-shaped ship between jobs to restore derelict structures, remnants of generations long past. Running parallel to present-day Mia’s life is a flashback to her time at boarding school, where she embarked on a relationship with a mysterious girl. Walden gives us her gorgeous, surreal take on sci-fi here. Space isn’t a hostile frontier, but a warm, lively ambiance speckled with trees, classical architecture and impossible spacecrafts. The loosely autobiographical tale explores facets of love and intimacy during a time when everything feels lonely and foreign. If you want to get in your feelings and stay in them for 20 chapters, On A Sunbeam has you covered. Chris Kindred

33403762.jpg Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Anthology
Editor: Joamette Gil
Publisher: Power & Magic Press
Nothing has helped queer comics representation as much as Kickstarter, and a shining star of the bustling Kickstarter comics scene is Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Anthology, edited by Joamette Gil and featuring stories from over a dozen incredible creators about witches across the gender and sexuality spectrums. From hard fantasy to fairy tale retellings, Power & Magic features a little something for everyone; editor Joamette Gil did a stellar job curating this anthology, and no story feels out of place, whether light-hearted romances or eerier supernatural shorts. Every story here is impeccably done, particularly a story from FYDBAC about two witches—one deaf, one blind—that includes some stellar illustrated use of sign language that’s rarely ever portrayed in comics. C.K. Stewart

STL070397.jpeg The Prince & The Dressmaker
Writer/Artist: Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Jen Wang wowed readers with her art for In Real Life with Cory Doctorow, and her latest release sees Wang handling both script and art for an identity-bending romance set in old-timey Paris. Prince Sebastian’s parents are seeking a bride for their son, but Sebastian is much more passionate about his secret life as Lady Crystallia, Paris’ favorite fashion icon. Sebastian lives his fabulous second life with the help of his dressmaker best friend Frances, who keeps his secret but longs for greatness beyond her silent success with Lady Crystallia. Wang delicately navigates questions of personal identity and the responsibilities of friendship while spinning a charming love story and bringing to life a gorgeously decadent period in French fashion and culture. The Prince & The Dressmaker is a timeless queer-inclusive fairy tale for the modern age. Steve Foxe

STL012844.jpeg Space Battle Lunchtime
Writer/Artist: Natalie Riess
Publisher: Oni Press
Space Battle Lunchtime exists somewhere between MasterChef and Star Wars. A light-hearted look at an intergalactic cooking competition, Space Battle Lunchtime follows Earthling pastry chef Peony’s adventures as a last-minute addition to a literally star-studded high-stakes reality show. Writer and illustrator Natalie Riess delivers all of the dramatic tension of your favorite reality competitions, including unlikely alliances and a sweet queer romance involving Peony and the last person she should probably be falling for on an inescapable space station. Riess’ illustrations feel as warm and welcoming as a sweet, homemade pastry, but she manages to weave in some incredible action scenes and moments of startlingly dark, wry humor that never feel jarring or out of place. Space Battle Lunchtime is a must for anyone who loves surprising romances against the backdrop of intergalactic intrigue. C.K. Stewart

STL055540.jpeg Spinning
Writer/Artist: Tillie Walden
Publisher: First Second
Tillie Walden is a marvel of empathy, a cartoonist who can dive into emotions at a molecular level through dynamic panels with shifting perspectives. That talent has funneled the journey from youth to adulthood in works including I Love This Part, A City Inside and The End of Summer. Spinning glides over similar truths in Walden’s memoir of competitive ice skating and first love. The 400-page journey feels intimate and personal without straying into self-important extremes, diagramming the treasured epiphanies that spur kids to abandon defunct dreams and embrace new ones. Walden renders the taut calfs and frozen pools with a devotion that underlies the 10 years she spent practicing the sport. The door-stop book offers the same breathless humanity as Craig Thompson’s Blankets and the Tamaki cousins’ This One Summer, with the added element of a young girl grappling with coming of age and coming out in a close-minded environment. Sean Edgar

STK471761.jpeg Transposes
Writer/Artist: Dylan Edwards
Publisher: Northwest Press
Dylan Edwards’ Transposes is a comic anthology collecting illustrated adaptations of interviews with trans men conducted by Edwards beginning in 2008. While the age of the interviews does show in some cases, thanks to the constant and swiftly changing nature not just of trans issues in the United States, but of the vocabulary and conversations happening within the queer community as a whole, Transposes is a rare work centered on a more diverse set of trans masc experiences than those of hypermasculine straight trans men. It’s a set of deeply personal stories that explores numerous aspects of what it is to be a trans man, and how tricky it can be to navigate relationships of all types when you don’t live up to the stereotypes of what a man should be. C.K. Stewart

wuvableoaf.jpeg Wuvable Oaf
Writer/Artist: Ed Luce
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Ed Luce’s Wuvable Oaf, available in two compilations from Fantagraphics (Wuvable Oaf and Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal), is pretty dang adorable. The Oaf himself is a sensitive fellow, who spends his time crafting and taking care of his menagerie of kitties when he’s not out trying to find love. His giant, hairy body, however, means that he once earned his keep as the professional wrestler Goteblüd, a scary-looking Satanic character. He’s kept in line by Eiffel, a tiny but fearsome frontman of the grindcore band Ejaculoid who clearly has a thing for big dudes. Wuvable Oaf is saturated with gay culture, particularly bear culture, but it’s not about that culture. Part of what makes it delightful (apart from Luce’s charming drawings) is the way it presents its subculture as the norm, a world in which straight people almost don’t exist. It’s nothing if not proud to be what it is. Hillary Brown

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