With barely a week left of summer reading, you’ve run out of heady books to show off at the beach. Well, now is the time to put down that Dostoyevsky we both know you’re not going to read and pick up something more colorful—by which we mean illustrated and gay. Here are 20 of our favorite new releases in the LGBTQ comics space.
Queer couple Bron and Ray have fraught personal and familial relationships, and their one escape is playdates with Ray’s niece. Stone Fruit explores the wildness and liberation that a child brings to their complicated dynamic.
2. Alone in Space
Cartoonist Tillie Walden made a name for herself by telling queer stories in settings that range from skating rinks to traveling space stations. Still in her early 20s, she is one of the youngest and most accomplished graphic novelists. Alone in Space is a new collection of her early short stories.
3. Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance
Following in the footsteps of legendary historical graphic nonfiction like John Lewis’s March, Our Work Is Everywhere illustrates the story of queer liberation by the people who were there. In this book, “queer and trans organizers, artists, healers, comrades, and leaders speak honestly and authentically about their own experiences.”
4. Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour
Based on the hit HBO Max series, this comic follows Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy as they embark on their relationship. It picks up directly after Season Two’s cliffhanger, so if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll want to grab this one.
5. The Girl From the Sea
The Girl from the Sea follows Molly, a fifteen-year-old who can’t wait to get away from her small town. But when she rescues a mysterious drowning girl, she finds a reason to stay and much more than she bargained for. All in all, the book will have you asking, “Luca who?”
6. Nubia: Real One
Nubia: Real One is a fresh, grounded take on a Wonder Woman story. Although Nubia is a mostly ordinary teenager, she’s aware of how her skin color more than her amazonian strength makes people see her as a threat. It begs the question, as the publisher puts it, “Can you be a hero…if society doesn’t see you as a person?”
7. The Secret To Superhuman Strength
Alison Bechdel is a comics industry legend, whose 1985 comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For gave us the Bechdel-Wallace test. The Secret To Superhuman Strength tells her autobiography through the lens of self-improvement—namely, Bechdel’s relationship to fitness fads through the years.
8. My Life In Transition
My Life In Transition is the autobiographical continuation of Julia Kaye’s first collection of comics. While that book, Super Late Bloomer, covered her first year on hormone replacement therapy, My Life In Transition relates to what came next in Kaye’s transition.
Tidesong is a story about witches, aquatic dragons, and self-acceptance by debut graphic novelist Wendy Xu. It promises to be a treat for Studio Ghibli fans, and the whimsical illustrative style pretty much confirms this.
10. Poison Ivy: Thorns
Poison Ivy is definitely growing on us this year. Poison Ivy: Thorns is a reimagining of Ivy’s (that is, Pamela Isley’s) backstory, focusing on her relationship with cute, new-girl-on-the-block Alice Oh and the secrets of her family that threaten to tear them apart.
11. I Am Not Starfire
I Am Not Starfire tells the story of Starfire’s daughter, Mandy, a queer teenager with no superpowers who dies her hair black. It explores how Mandy handles life in the shadow of her famous, beautiful, and “sparkly” mother.
12. MPLS Sound
Following in the footsteps of Prince, the band Starchild—fronted by a queer Black woman—embarks on a journey to achieve stardom in MPLS Sound. What follows is a funk-fueled adventure through the early 1980s music scene.
13. The Legend of Auntie Po
The Legend of Auntie Po reimagines the American tall-tales of Paul Bunyan through the eyes of Mei—a thirteen-year-old Chinese immigrant working as a logger in the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Stories of Auntie Po, a fantastical elderly matriarch, sustain Mei as she navigates her daily hardships and growing friendship with the foreman’s daughter.
14. Incredible Doom
Incredible Doom begins with a suburban, stage magician dad bringing home a computer for the very first time. From there, his teenage daughter connects with an online stranger who agrees to run away with her. As the creators sum it up, it’s “a comic about ’90s kids making bad decisions over the early internet.”
While searching for leads on her father’s disappearance, Shaheen (along with her bi cousin Tannaz) discovers a mysterious jukebox. What follows is a time-traveling odyssey through music history and a heartfelt coming-of-age story.
16. Cheer Up! Love and Pom Poms
A trans cheerleader reconnects with an old friend in this sweet love story. Cheer Up! follows the two teen girls as they navigate the social pressures of high school—compounded by their queer identities—and the rigors of cheer squad training.
The ongoing webcomic-turned-graphic novel Cosmoknights is currently publishing its second book. It is a fun and colorful space opera that follows a group of lesbian spacefarers as they battle the intergalactic patriarchal empire.
18. Girl Haven
In Girl Haven, Ash discovers fiction stories relating to an all-girl fantasy world. One day, Ash is magically transported to this world, raising many questions as Ash has always been read as male…
19. The Crossroads at Midnight
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Crossroads at Midnight—a queer-inclusive horror anthology—has finally arrived. The book promises 5 “slice-of-life” gruesome tales spread over 385 pages.
20. Aquaman: The Becoming
Aquaman: The Becoming is a new addition to the Aquaman universe that focuses on queer Aqualad Jackson Hyde. Due out this September, the series promises an action-packed coming-of-age superhero tale.♦