Comics have long been a medium used to tell important and vital stories, and DC Comics is continuing that tradition with their newest Hanna Barbara adaptation, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. A modern reimagining of the classic character, it sees Snagglepuss living as a closeted gay playwright in an alt-history version of the ’50s New York where people are regularly hanged and the anti-communist blacklist is in full effect. A radical change to the cartoon canon, this is an exciting move from DC. To celebrate its release, we’ve put together a list of 12 of the best LGBTQ comics for you to enjoy.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel is one of the most prominent queer cartoonists alive. She began with the radical Dykes to Watch Out for, a comic strip in which she inadvertently invented the world famous Bechdel test. But the book we’re recommending today is Fun Home, a gorgeous autobiographical “tragicomic” about Bechdel’s childhood leading up to her father’s suicide and its fallout. Fun Home was also adapted into a Tony-winning musical in 2013.
As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
Melanie Gillman is a truly wonderful cartoonist. Their beautiful, poignant fantasy strips regularly go viral online and As the Crow Flies is their gorgeous webcomic that’s about to be published by Iron Circus Comics. Telling the story of a 13-year-old queer black girl who ends up at an all white Christian backpacking camp, ATCF is a splendidly touching coming-of-age story set against a beautifully epic backdrop.
Taproot by Keezy Young
Taproot is one of the most enchanting books that we’ve read in 2017. The beautiful story of a gardener and a ghost began its life as a webcomic before being published by Lion Forge earlier this year. The gorgeous OGN weaves an immersive world of plants, spirits, and true love, delivering a truly timeless love story about friendship, life, love, and death.
Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A. Allen, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis
Another camp-based caper, Lumberjanes is one of the loveliest comics in existence. It tells the story of five buds at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, a magical summer camp where you’re just as likely to make a best friend as you are to fight a three-eyed wolf or ride a raptor! Lumberjanes is a gorgeous YA book about friendships, first love, and adventure. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
Princess Princess by Katie O’Neill
Turning the fairytale ideas of princesses on their head from the first page, Katie O’Neill’s Princess Princess is a contemporary classic. It follows Princess Amira, a brave princess who rescues Princess Sadie from her tower prison. Another wonderful webcomic that was recently published by Oni Press, the bright and beautiful artwork, the engaging story, and hilarious writing make Princess Princess an unmissable piece of cute cartooning.
Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis
Mildred Louis’ Agents of the Realm is the magical girl story you need in your life. The sprawling webcomic takes the tropes of the beloved genre and mixes them up, throwing us into a university campus that happens to be the home of five young women who have recently discovered that they’re the only thing protecting Earth and its sister dimension. A fun, fresh, and fabulous take on the beloved magical girl tales we grew up with.
Deja Brew by Taneka Stotts, Sara DuVall
Magical coffee shop comic sound up your alley? Then Deja Brew is for you. A gorgeous fantasy story centering around Tobias, recently expelled from the local witch academy, who now works at the mysterious coffee shop, Bijou. With stunning art, imaginative storytelling and immersive world-building, this inclusive, enchanting comic is a must-read for any fan of sequential storytelling.
The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh
The Backstagers is one of the cutest comics around. When Jory joins a new school, he doesn’t expect to find a place to fit in… let alone a find secret door to other worlds! But that’s exactly what he gets when he joins the school’s stage crew. Tynion and Sigh’s super sweet comic is an utter joy that manages to deals with loneliness, anxiety, friendship, and healing. We love it.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Check, Please! is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon. One of the most popular webcomics of recent years (or maybe ever!), Check, Please! introduces us to Eric Bittle, an junior figure skating champion who joins his University’s hockey team during his freshman year. The sprawling saga is presented in episodes and is one of the most engaging, sweet, and heartfelt stories out there. It’s also about to be published by First Second!
Jem and the Holograms Vol. 1 by Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell
Jem is a very pretty book that reinvents the classic ’80s cartoon, bringing Jerrica and co. to an entirely new generation. This IDW smash hit is a complete delight. Vibrant, radical, and queer AF, Jem is one of the few mainstream licensed books with a trans creator in artist Sophie Campbell and was the breakout series for writer Kelly Thompson, now a regular name at Marvel.
Eth’s Skin by Sfé R. Monster
Eth’s Skin is a fantastical genderqueer fantasy comic full of monsters, mythical creatures, and plentiful queer relationships. Sfé R. Monster’s otherworldly black-and-white art immerses you in the reality of Eth, who under the light of a magical moon mistakes a selkie skin for their own and has to go on an epic journey to set things right. This gorgeous webcomic offers a much needed escape from everyday life, with a roster of radical characters that you’ll fall in love with instantly and a world you’ll want to revisit again and again.
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Tillie Walden is one of the most exciting and prolific cartoonists out there. Her incredible work often centers around queer young people, from her outstanding sci-fi webcomic, On a Sunbeam, to her recent autobiographical OGN, Spinning. Telling the tale of Walden’s childhood career as a figure skater, Spinning is a moving and startlingly honest story that showcases her fantastic talent whilst crafting a story that you can barely put down.
These are some of our favorite queer comics, what are yours? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Boom, First Second, Sfe R. Monster, Taneka Stotts, IDW, Ngozi Ukazu, Mildred Louis, Katie O’Neill, Lionforge, Melanie Gillman, Mariner Books