Today there are more LGBT characters on the major networks than ever before. Popularity of shows like Modern Family and Glee have paved the way for a more diverse universe when it comes to primetime. Still, just recently, the Walking Dead aired an episode where two male characters came out as gay by sharing a kiss when they were reunited. The Walking Dead already had a lesbian in its regular cast of characters but the internet blew up when the Gay Kiss bomb dropped. A number of people insisted the couple had been added by television writers to appease the LGBT community but the truth is that the characters were a part of the original comic book series. And when the characters were revealed in the comic? No big deal. Because comic geeks accept people no matter what – we’re the people who got picked last, dumped first and generally overlooked. So when a comic book character turns out to be gay or transgendered or not actually entirely human, we just roll with it. So in that spirit, here are seven LGBT comics that feature characters from the community, storylines and perspectives that are well worth checking out.
Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez
This graphic novel is short and bittersweet. 100 years in 100 pages, it covers the life of its titular her, Julio, as well as covering the changes which impact the LGBT community. It also underlines how many issues remain the same no matter when they happen – war, economic turmoil and political upheaval are all recurring themes. This is a somber, serious comic and leaves you feeling better … and worse after it’s over.
Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon and kd diamond
Girl Sex isn’t a graphic novel, but it is an illustrated sex manual which just makes it … graphic non-fiction? No matter your gender or sexuality the writing of Allison Moon along with the illustrations of kd diamond will have you looking at women – and sex – in a whole new light.
Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges
You wouldn’t think a novel with an LGBT audience would have the name of Dr. Laura Schlessinger in the title but, in this story, her patronizing, infuriating and clueless pat answers fit the story perfectly. Essentially, it’s the coming of age story of a twenty-something woman in a chaotic, secretive and manipulative family. Perfect reading for anyone with family issues.
Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A. K. Summers
If a fish out of water story is more your speed, then Pregnant Butch is definitely worth adding to your To Be Read list. Basically it delivers as advertised and is the story of a self-avowed Butch Lesbian who decides to get pregnant. Any woman who has undergone pregnancy knows that despite your own best efforts and former personality, being pregnant is a weird experience – one where you’re cooing over tiny shoes and bajas and suddenly crying because that god damn Sarah McLaughlin commercial is on AGAIN. Summers does a great job of portraying the highs and lows – hormonals and otherwise – of this life altering experience in a voice seldom heard in this context.
Artifice by Alex Woolfson
If dystopian future is more your thing, check out Artifice, a dark comic set in the future where the gay gene has been identified and (surprise, surprise) most parents opt out of having it included in their future offspring. Of course, LGBT people still exist, but they’re driven underground more than ever before. The story is told through a series of flashbacks so readers know the ending won’t exactly warm their hearts but they keep flipping pages all the way to its conclusion.
Transposes by Dylan Edwards
Fans of slice-of-life collections will find a home in this collection of true stories from queer, trans men. Their different lives, choices and perceptions offer different glimpses into their own personal stories as well as into the LGBT community ins different points in time and geographic location.
Anything That Loves, edited by Charles Zan Christensen
Anything That Loves is a collection of comics and art from artists like Adam Pruett, Alex Dahm, Amy T. Falcone, Bill Roundy, Ellen Forney, Jason A. Quest, Jason Thompson, Jon Macy and more. This eclectic gathering of writers and artists culminates in a book that touches on pretty much every pet-peeve and socially awkward situation any bi-sexual over the age of 35 has ever experienced. A perfect anthology for those of us who often feel left out, marginalized and kind of forgotten when it comes to dealing with sexuality.
These are some of the best graphic novels from the past few years but, of course, there’s a whole universe of LGBT friendly comics and graphic novels … usually with an emphasis on the ‘graphic’. Erotic novellas aside, there are plenty of comics with serious storylines and characters you get to know because of their compelling personality, voice and story instead of just their sex organs.