As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman (IronSpike) A young black lesbian goes to an all-white Christian girls summer camp and, despite bemoaning the lack of diversity, she discovers there’s a kindred spirit in the group — and they aren’t the outsiders as they imagined. The all-colored-pencil graphic novel is the second work from Gillman, whose Smbitten, was a swing-dancing lesbian vampire love-story.
The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors
The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors by Elizabeth Beier (Northwest Press). This graphic memoir follows Beier’s failed attempts at dating women after breaking up with her boyfriend of six years. For two years, every girl she picks up at a bar, connects with on Tinder, or is matched with on OkCupid ends up turning her down before slipping between the sheets. Along the way, Beier documents the last days at The Lexington, San Francisco’s famous dyke bar, learns to accept a more curvaceous version of herself, and discovers how gaining self-confidence can be the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Bitch Planet 2: President Bitch
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Valentine De Landro (Image Comics). Set in a futuristic dystopian where non-compliant women (a disproportionate number who happen to be women of color and/or LGBT) are sent to a prison colony on the “Bitch” Planet. Styled like a ‘70s Blaxploitation film starring Pam Grier, this second collection (issues 6-10), reveals more of the prison system, including a cell block of trans women, and it introduces the scrappy President Bitch. It’s the kind of intersectional, honest, women-centric, feminist treatise that leads old white congressmen to wave it hysterically while decrying the universal subjection of men and bemoaning the decline of civilization — and I love it!
Comics For a Strange World
Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand (Plume) In the follow-up to The New York Times bestselling Poorly Drawn Lines, straight artist Farazmand returns with more hilarious single-page comic strips in which non-gendered animals skewer humanities foibles and a world facing fascism, natural disasters, and the latest electronics. Half of the material previously ran online but there’s another 50 percent that’s all new content. That his world isn't specifically gay or straight (or anything else) is wonderfully entertaining.
First Year Out: A Transition Story
First Year Out: A Transition Storyby Sabrina Symington (Singing Dragon) This graphic novel about a young trans woman Lily’s transition doesn’t shy away from depictions of issues like facial hair, tucking, chasers, TERFs, and discrimination while managing to keep a positive perspective. Particularly interesting is a nonbinary character talking about wanting surgery and hormone treatment to achieve a nonbinary physicality — giving voice to a rarely heard perspective.
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash (Candlewick Press) In this graphic memoir Thrash relives her days as a15-year-old who is surprised to fall for her female camp counselor. Thrash perfectly captures young love — and the inherent heartbreak when you realize nothing can happen, even if the feelings are mutual.
Midnighter and Apollo
Midnighter and Apollo by Steve Orlando, Fernando Blanco, Romulo Fajardo Jr. (DC Comics) Not even hell can keep these two superheroes apart. This anthology collects issues 1-6 of the GLAAD award-nominated series about the gay duo and couple. Apollo’s soul is stolen by lord of Hell and Midnighter is left to rescue his love by any means necessary.
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness
My Lesbian Experiencewith Lonelinessby Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas Entertainment) In this manga memoir, the 28-year-old virgin author describes herself as having no confidence, no direction, and never having had a date, a kiss, or real job. She’s been paralyzed by a fear of not meeting her parents’s expectations, struggling with a decade of depression and eating disorders. Eventually she turns to a lesbian escort service to break the ice and begins creating manga about the experience.
My Favorite Thing is Monsters
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics Books) Ten-year-old Karen Reyes, who loves girls and pulp fiction monsters, imagines herself a budding wolfman detective and investigates the murder of her upstairs neighbor (and Holocaust survivor), Anka Silverberg, exposing very real human monsters in the process. While embracing the way queerness has long permeated the horror genre, Monsters also presents lesbian love (and sex) as an antidote to the horrors that inundate Karen’s world. The compelling story, and R. Crumbian drawings that escape the confines of comic book panels, have captivated fans, critics, and other artists alike — and led to a bidding war for film rights (Sony Pictures won). Volume One of Two.
Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 4
Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 4 by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan (Oni Press) This is the fourth anthology collection of the webcomic now sponsored by Planned Parenthood because it does such an amazing job of integrating sex education into what is ostensibly a series of illustrated sex toy reviews. Moen calls up a wide range of multicultural, LGBT+ characters, with different body types (fat, trans, nonbinary, disabled), to illustrate examinations of everything from virginity to puppy play to pelvic exams to sex on periods to how the penis works. Bonus material from guest artists and Moen's other work, including peeks at her previous, autobiographical series, DAR!
The Once and Future Queen
The Once and Future Queen story by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride, art by Nick Brokenshire (Darkhorse) This fun LGBT reboot of the King Arthur legend stars a Portland, Ore., lesbian with East-Asian/British heritage, Rani Arturus; her crush Gwen; and their African-American friend, Lance, as they defend the realm. Unfortunately the series was canceled, so enjoy this collection of issues 1-5 while you can.
One More Year
One More Year by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics). Hanselmann’s superbly ugly characters are up to their old tricks. Much to Owl’s horror, Witch, Cat, and Wolf do drugs, have sex, watch TV, and generally exhibit a complete lack of moral fiber. In one story, a trip to a water park takes a very unfamily-friendly turn when Wolf accidently takes Viagra and walks around with a boner; male characters spy on women dressing; and Booger (a transgender boogeyman) comes untucked and loses a breast. In a classic turn of events, Owl ends up in the hospital while Witch, Wolf, and Booger end up in a threesome.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Nothing Lasts Forever by Sina Grace (Image Comics). Grace, who writes the gay superhero comic Iceman for Marvel, delivers another graphic memoir. Although he hasn’t quite left behind his job in retail (detailed in his first work Not My Bag), the gay Persian artist is starting to experience some success in comics with his Self-Obsessed series. But that doesn’t stop him from facing writer’s block, prevent him from developing a mystery illness, or experiencing creator envy, while promoting his work at comic-cons, and feeling inferior to more successful artists.
Taproot: A Story about a Gardener and a Ghost
Taproot: A Story about a Gardener and a Ghost by Keezy Young (Lion Forge Comics) Blue is in love with his best friend Hamal. Only problem? Blue is dead. Fortunately, Hamal can see ghosts, still it’s hard to have a relationship, especially once Blue realizes Hamal’s special gift may be putting him in danger. Blue may have to choose between protecting Hamal and staying in the land of the living.
The Trial of Roger Casement
The Trial of Roger Casement by Fionnuala Doran (Self Made Hero) This graphic history follows the real life of a complex man who was seen by some as an Irish patriot and by others as a British traitor. A diplomat knighted for his reports revealing human rights violations being perpetrated in the Congo and South America under colonialism, Casement tried to enlist German military support during World War I for a free Ireland and was later executed by Britain for treason — but not before being outed as gay (which all but sealed his fate), nor before giving a courtroom speech that resonates long after his death.
Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal
Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal by Ed Luce (Fantagraphics Books) This Lambda Literary Award-winning graphic novel delves into the darker impulses of the Oaf, who has always loved death metal and professional wrestling. Those worlds — located squarely in a universe dominated by gay bears — get very queer and sexual makeovers in this book. Entertaining interludes — including advertising for Wuvable Oaf merchandise (a Gote Blüd action figure, Wuvable Oaf paper dolls, and WO hair care products) — separate short vignettes.