Looking for the best queer graphic novels to read in 2021? Look no further. From witchy lesbian rom-com to illustrated queer resistance, our LGBTQ+ comics selection for this year is a total beaut.
And if prose is more your thing, check our our 2021 Queer Lit Preview.
That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin
(Silver Sprocket, 9781945509568, p/b, £14.99)
A hilarious queer witchy rom-com from an up-and-coming creative.
A witch and a werewolf go on three disastrous dates in this magical queer romcom. Follow along with Suzy & Jada as they navigate online dating awkwardness, hungry monsters, jealous exes, rude skeletons, boring movies, feelings (!!!) & more!
Work for a Million by Amanda Deibert, illustrated by Selena Goulding
(McClelland & Stewart, 9780771098338, p/b, £15.99)
Hard-boiled detective noir with a lesbian lead, stunningly rendered against a 1970s urban backdrop.
When Helen Keremos, Private Detective, is hired by a beautiful recording artist who has just won a million dollar lottery prize, her plan for a quiet life on the West Coast is quickly diverted. Rising star Sonia Deerfield has been receiving blackmail threats from an anonymous caller, and though she is surrounded by her keenly invested business team of ‘friends,’ Helen wonders how trustworthy they really are. As the stakes get higher and attempts are made on their lives, the two women are drawn closer together through the blackmailer’s dangerous pursuit – and their chemistry is no mystery.
Our Work is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer & Trans Resistance by Syan Rose
(Arsenal Pulp Press, 9781551528151, p/b, £14.99)
A visually stunning graphic non-fiction book on queer and trans resistance.
Over the past ten years, we have witnessed the rise of queer and trans communities that have defied and challenged those who have historically opposed them. Through bold, symbolic imagery and surrealist, overlapping landscapes, queer illustrator and curator Syan Rose shines a light on the faces and voices of these diverse, amorphous, messy, real, and imagined queer and trans communities. In their own words, queer and trans organisers, artists, healers, comrades, and leaders speak honestly and authentically about their in a nuanced portrait of queer and trans realities in America.
Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
(Fantagraphics, 9781683964261, h/b, £29.99)
An ode to the love and connection shared between sisters.
Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties for Ray’s niece Nessie. Their bi-weekly playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in daily lives that ping-pong between familial tensions and isolation. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron turn to repair their broken family ties. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up to their respective sisters and learns that they have more in common with their siblings than they ever knew. In time, the emptiness they feel after their break-up is supplanted with a deep sisterly love and understanding.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy
(Fantagraphics, 9781683964100, h/b, £21.99)
A sprawling account of the city of Portland and state of Oregon’s dark history of white nationalism
Mannie Murphy is a gender queer Portland native. This work of graphic nonfiction, told in the style of an illustrated diary, begins as an affectionate reminiscence of the author’s 1990s teenage infatuation with the late actor River Phoenix but morphs into a remarkable, sprawling account of the city of Portland and state of Oregon’s dark history of white nationalism. The artist’s story becomes a moral anchor to a deeply amoral regional history and marks the incredible debut of a talented new voice to the graphic medium.
Alone in Space: A Collection by Tillie Walden
(Avery Hill Publishing, 9781910395585, h/b, £24.99)
A collection of works for celebrated queer comics creator Tillie Walden.
A collection of Tillie’s three longform comics with Avery Hill: I Love This Part, The End of Summer and A City Inside. Plus the early sketches, short comics for magazines and webcomics such as What It’s Like To Be Gay In An All-Girls Middle School that shot her to fame on both sides of the Atlantic and have never been collected before.
The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott by Zoe Thorogood
(Avery Hill Publishing, 9781910395646, p/b, £14.99)
Billie Scott is an artist. Her debut gallery exhibition launches in a few months. Within the fortnight she’ll be completely blind.
Zoe Thorogood’s first graphic novel The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a story about what it’s like to get something you want, have it immediately taken away from you and then how you can put it all back together again in unexpected ways. Set in a world of people down and out in Newcastle and London, it’s a graphic novel that speaks to the problems facing many of those left behind in post-austerity Britain. It’s also the debut work of an exciting author who many are tipping to be a great new talent in the world of comics.
The Pride Omnibus by Joe Glass, Cem Iroz & Hector Barros
(Dark Horse, 9781506724478, p/b, £24.99)
The complete LGBTQ+ superhero adventure in one fabulous omnibus.
In The Pride, FabMan is sick of being seen as a joke. Tired of the LGBTQ+ community being seen as inferior to straight heroes, he thinks it’s about damn time he did something about it. Bringing together some of the world’s greatest LGBTQ+ superheroes, the Pride is born to protect the world and fight prejudice, misrepresentation and injustice – not to mention a pesky supervillain or two.
I Think Our Son Is Gay 1 by Okura
(Square Enix Manga, 9781646090921, p/b, £10.99)
A hilarious and heartwarming LGBTQIA+ friendly family comedy.
Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three due to father Akiyoshi’s job. While he’s away at work, mom Tomoko and her two beloved sons Hiroki and Yuri go about their everyday lives – going to school, making dinner, doing homework, etc. But now that Hiroki’s in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance… and his mom can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he’s talking about who he likes.
Otherside Picnic (Manga) 01 by Iori Miyazawa, Eita Mizuno & Shirakaba
(Square Enix Manga, 9781646091065, p/b, £9.99)
A manga adaptation of the hit light novel series.
In this sci-fi/fantasy survival thriller, the dangerous and deadly realm of the Otherside – where urban legends, cryptids, and folkloric legends roam – calls to two women, both in search of something. As they set out to sate their curiosity and explore this other world, will the most earth-shattering thing they discover on the Otherside be their feelings for each other?
The Science of Ghosts by Lilah Sturges
(Legendary Comics, 9781681160863, p/b, £16.99)
Follow transgender parapsychologist Joy as she deals with her personal ghosts past and present.
While navigating the mysteries of the afterlife, Joy Ravenna – a transgender parapsychologist, must also deal with the very real challenges of her past and present. Her first post-transition relationship, a hostile ex-wife, and clues to murder long forgotten will test her at every twist and turn. For Joy, working with ghosts is way easier than dealing with the living.
Pass by By: Electric Vice by Danny Owen & Kyle Simmers
(Renegade Arts Entertainment, 9781988903859, p/b, £16.99)
The second instalment in this queer romantic-tragedy delves deeper into Ed’s glam rock past.
A whirlwind of glam rock, heartache, and self-discovery that asks ‘what happens to the stories you never tell?’ A queer love story set in the world of 1970s Canadian glam rock. Pass Me By: Electric Vice is a detour towards a deeper understanding of Ed and the memories at risk to his debilitating disease. The follow-up to Pass Me By: Gone Fishin’.
Youth by Curt Pires & Alex Diotto
(Dark Horse, 9781506724614, p/b, £16.99)
An coming-of-age queer teen superhero story that redefines each genre it touches.
Youth is Larry Clark’s Kids meets Chronicle. X-Men by way of Frank Ocean. It smashes together the violence of coming of age with the violence of the superhero narrative – as well as the beauty. Youth is a coming of age story of two queer teenagers as they run away from their lives in a bigoted small town, and attempt to make their way to California. Along the way their car breaks down and they join up with a group of fellow misfits on the road. Embarking together in a van travelling the country they party and attempt to find themselves. And then something happens…
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