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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

8 Queer Comics to Read in 2023

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Comic books have long been a space for subversion, subculture, and radical storytelling, so it's no surprise that the medium is filled with vibrant and exciting queer tales. So this Pride Month we're curating eight of the best queer comics for you to read. From award-winning webcomics to reimagined fairy tales, superhero queens to dramatic teens, there's something for everyone. So whether you're a comic shop regular or have never picked up an issue before, get ready to dive in and find a new favorite. And don't forget that while you're discovering them in June remember to keep up with these incredible creators and the stories that they tell all year round!

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Tillie Walden is one of the best cartoonists working today and the glorious and colorful sci-fi epic On a Sunbeam is arguably her masterwork. This coming of age story takes place against Walden's stunningly rendered vision of space as a group of young people venture through the cosmos on a bold mission. Together they rebuild forgotten structures, crafting history from the pieces. Atmospheric and powerful, we follow Mia, the newest member of the crew on a journey of self-discovery as she remembers her first love in the halls of boarding school while finding a new home on the space station. This is a comic unlike any other, beautiful, immersive, and infinitely readable. Walden's skill at sequential storytelling is truly second to none.

Contact High by James F. Wright and Josh Eckert

This Eisner-nominated one-shot is a truly beautiful science fiction comic about love, passion, and the power of human contact. James F. Wright and Josh Eckert craft a gorgeous tale set in a world where human touch gives people a natural high and therefore touching another person is illegal and anyone who wants to touch another is treated as an addict and criminal. This dystopian future is where we meet Ziggurat, who has been imprisoned for wanting the simple pleasure of touching another. When he realizes his old lover is in the same facility, he goes on a quest to reconnect with the person that he loves. This queer sci-fi romance is utterly unique and will have you pulling out the tissues, and at just 26 pages you'll be shocked by the impact it has on you.

Other Ever Afters by Melanie Gillman

These gorgeous queer fairytale reimaginings originated as part of the annual 24 Hours Comics day tradition. It was there that Melanie Gillman began coming up with these delightful stories that, just as the title suggests, imagine different Happily Ever Afters than the ones we've traditionally been shown. From kindly ogres to mermaid romance, these charmingly illustrated tales are subversive and hopeful all at the same time. This is the sort of collection that you'll want to have in your home so that you can enjoy it with your loved ones the same way that we all shared well-worn collections of Grimm's iconic and often very dark Fairy Tales growing up. Perfect for readers of all ages, this is a feel good series of short stories you'll want to read again and again.

Nubia and the Amazons by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Alitha Martinez, Dominike Stanton, and Darryl Banks

Themyscira and the Amazons have long been a fertile space for queer storytelling, but it's only in recent years that comics creators have made that aspect of the mythical space canon. In this glorious mini-series, the queer nature of the Amazons is front and center as the creative team reintroduce readers to Nubia. The fan favorite character returns to Themyscira here with a new origin story and a new crew of brilliant Amazons around her, including Bia, the first trans Amazon in DC Comics history. This is a queer superhero story in many ways. It's about finding family, starting fresh, and falling in love. Plus it's filled with gorgeous art and rip-roaring adventure!

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O'Connell

One of the most (rightfully) queer graphic novels of recent years, this heartbreakingly relatable story of young love is the kind of book you'll read in a single sitting. Award-winners Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O'Connell craft an authentic and engaging coming of age tale as Freddy, a young lesbian in Berkeley, California deals with the realities of being in an unhealthy relationship. Though her cool girlfriend Laura Deen seems to be the entire package, when she keeps breaking up with Freddy, she becomes deeply concerned with them staying together. This engaging read will speak to anyone who's been in a toxic relationship, while O'Connell's art is a treat to enjoy on every single page even when the story veers into the tougher to read aspects of the tale.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

This utterly splendid dark fantasy comic centers around a young woman named Maika Halfwolf, a young woman with a deadly connection to a powerful monster. Set in an alt-universe 1900s, Maika must traverse a dangerous centuries-old war between humans and those with powers like hers. Together Liu and Takeda build a steampunk inspired world that feels intricate and whole, the former crafting characters you'll fall in love with and the latter painting an extraordinary space that you'll want to spend your days in. This is an epic adventure that also happens to feature a queer supernatural star-crossed lovers storyline that you'll be rooting for.

Carmilla: the First Vampire by Amy Chu, Soo Lee, and Sal Cipriano

Inspired by the classic gothic novella that sparked off the vampire trend in 1872— and predated Bram Stoker's Dracula — this lavish graphic novel surprises and delights at every turn. In 1990s New York, a young and idealistic social worker, Athena is drawn into a dark and violent world when she begins to investigate the deaths of young LGBTQ people in her neighborhood. Soon she finds herself at the enigmatic and strange doors of Carmilla's in Chinatown, a glamorous and dangerous nightclub run by a mysterious and potentially dangerous woman. When Athena begins to fall for someone in the orbit of Carmilla's, her life is turned upside down as she has to question everything she knows about her lover, her life, and herself.

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kabul Nagata

This auto-biographical manga has garnered great acclaim for good reason. Raw, honest, and constantly challenging, Kabul Nagata offers up a painfully real look at sexuality and mental health. Following the author as she struggles with her mental health and finding happiness in her day to day life, this is an uncompromising look at the realities of being alive. Using her stark and often comedic illustrations to draw us into her experiences, Nagata makes something truly special here and we aren't the only ones who think so. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness was so successful that it sparked off a continuing series which is now up to five books!


Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN covering everything from anime to comic books to kaiju to kids movies to horror flicks. She has over half a decade of experience in entertainment journalism with bylines at Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and more.

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