I read and write romance novels, so of course I also adore comics centering love and romance. Here are a bunch of my all-time faves! (Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links.)
Any book or series on this list I loved at the time I read it, whether I had a chance to write a review or not. Obviously a re-read years later might reveal a problematic aspect I didn’t pick up on back then. Please let me know via my contact form if you find something yikes in a book I recommend.
A quick, funny read by a creator who’s becoming one of my faves. She does a great job balancing on-page events, personal commentary, humor, and cultural insights, and she has a fantastic feel for pacing. Also, her cartooning is adorable.
“Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren’t only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They’re just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I’m Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century.”
Jacques describes this as a “retro-cartoon-inspired, queer, handlettering-obsessed comic series about rival girl-fronted rock bands.” One of the bands is daisies and kittens and all things wholesome. One of the bands is punk AF, never saw a sign they didn’t want to deface, and snarls a lot. So of course, the gay lead singers have crushes on each other. We supported this on Kickstarter mostly on a whim, not having a clue if we’d like it, and I was immediately hooked. The characters are so funny and the art is so dang cute. It’s a super slow burn, with plenty of band hijinx, song lyrics, and cute cats.
We have the two collected volumes that were produced via Kickstarters, but they are tough to find. If you do, here’s where to start in the webcomic after you finish Book 2. It’s mostly odds and ends after that as Jacques has been dealing with health issues, but Book 2 actually leaves the characters in a nice place so it doesn’t feel cliffhangery at all.
“Haphazard pirates, wayward ghosts, dashing knights, rampaging kaiju (and down-to-earth regular joes!) are all assembled here to amaze and delight you in a wildly unique anthology celebrating love between men, from an astounding array of comics creators who know exactly how it feels.”
I had so much fun reading this anthology. Tons of adorable vignettes about guys at various stages in their romantic relationships with each other, from the nerves of asking someone out for the first time to the celebration of an anniversary. I think there was only one story that wasn’t my style, and given how many short stories they packed into this volume, that’s pretty amazing.
“Cooking is how Nomoto de-stresses, but one day, she finds herself making way more than she can eat by herself. And so, she invites her neighbor Kasuga, who also lives alone. What will come out of this impromptu dinner invitation…?”
I found this manga so calming. The title is basically the plot – one neighbor who loves to cook big meals finds someone who can appreciate them – but slowly and gently over the course of the book, these two characters start building a real connection. They’re starting to become each other’s refuge from the outside world and also partners in trying new things. The second volume is where Nomoto starts to realize her feelings for Kasuga are romantic.
My guy brought this high school romantic comedy manga series home from the library and almost fell off the couch laughing. I started reading it and also almost fell off the couch laughing. So, protective gear is advisable?
It starts by subverting your expectations. Takeo, the giant bruiser who would normally be the sidekick, is the romantic lead. The glamorous looking cool guy is a secondary character, Takeo’s infinitely patient best friend Sunakawa. When Takeo falls in love with Yamato, this tiny, cute girl in his grade, it becomes clear that both parties are 100% clueless, in the most mutually devoted and entertaining way. If it weren’t for the periodic intervention of Sunakawa, it’s anybody’s guess what would become of this poor couple.
It’s refreshing, sweet, and well worth the 12 not-overly-long volumes. This was our most anticipated series for a couple of years until it concluded.
This delightful graphic novel is about a queer softball team where some of the players are grown-up magical girls. It is *so* lesbian (incuding nonbinary lesbians!), *so* horny, chock full of both interpersonal drama and ridiculous antics, and I adored it. I am truly delighted it’s a series starter and I can’t wait for the next volume.
“Mickey Monsoon is the hotshot pitcher for the Belle City Broads, and their team is poised to sweep the league this season. But Micky is thrown off their game when Astra Maxima shows up to catch for the Gaiety Gals, the Broads’ fiercest rival. Years ago Mickey and Astra were best friends . . . and maybe more. That was, until Astra unceremoniously dumped Mickey to become a softball wunderkind at a private girl’s school in Switzerland. Now, Astra is flirty, arrogant, and reckless on the field—everything the rule-abiding Mickey hates.
Astra thinks Mickey’s cute and wants to fool around, despite their rocky history and the trail of jilted softballers that Astra leaves in her wake. Too bad the only thing Mickey wants is vengeance for their broken heart and wounded pride! But even they have to admit—Astra is a certified babe. And that’s not all: Astra isn’t just a softball superstar, she’s a full-fledged magical girl.
The only way for Mickey to defeat Astra is to betray the Broads and join the Danger Dames, a secret elite team, and start dating Astra’s ex! OK, that last bit wasn’t part of the plan . . . Mickey’s rapidly getting in too deep, but are they just in trouble or are they actually in love?”
Charming, adorable, diverse, and queer sci-fi comic set in a future when people have almost completely given up directly touching each other. Sex is a recreational activity that happens in virtual reality, and any adult who expresses interest in even platonic touch is regarded with extreme suspicion. Our two main characters are Abeille and Miel. Yes, Abeille means bee, and Miel means honey, so even if you knew nothing else, you can see where this is going. They meet by literally running into each other, and Abeille can’t stop thinking about how that human contact felt. What follows is her and Miel’s journey towards reclaiming touch, and the impacts their relationship has on various people around them.
I’m enjoying this series, having read up through the third collected volume. (Which we get via Biggs’s very well-organized periodic Kickstarters.)
“SHE CAN STEAL THE HEART OF EVERY GIRL…EXCEPT THE ONE WHO STOLE HER BIKE! LEO’S the hottest senior at Princess Andromeda Academy, and her adoring fangirls have one goal: to beat her in a road race so she’ll go out with them. Unfortunately, the only thing Leo loves more than breaking hearts is her faithful old motorcycle, Bethany. But the arrival of mysterious new girl VEGA upends her daily routine forever.
Now it’s graduation season, and with her beloved motorcycle gone, Leo finds herself facing a lonely summer at an all-time low…until mysterious beauty Vega comes crashing back into her life. The two strike a deal that puts Leo’s bike – and dignity – on the line. Will Leo rise to the occasion, or lose Bethany forever? What’s Vega’s deal, anyway? And what’s this burning feeling in both of their hearts???”
This was adorable and hilarious, with gorgeous illustrations of clothing and characters that sparkle (the secondaries as well as the mains!). I found the political/legal situation a bit confusing but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment.
“Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. But the law of the land is that women cannot inherit. So when her father passes away, she does the only thing she can: She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert.
But it’s hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention. Camembert can’t resist getting to know the princess, but as the two grow closer, will she able to keep her secret?”
Eeeeeee so cute!! Mostly slice of life, perfect little snapshots of a vamp/werewolf romance.
“Elsie the vampire is three hundred years old, but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets Jimmy, a charming werewolf. Together they enjoy horror films and scary novels, shady strolls, fine dining (though never with garlic), and a genuine fondness for each other’s unusual habits, macabre lifestyles, and monstrous appetites.”
“Uno Hinako throws herself into makeup, fashion, and falling in love, hoping that will make her seem “normal” to the other people at her job. But no matter how hard she tries, she’s a self-doubting mess inside, and her attempts at “normal” romance with men just keep failing. When she starts to think she might be alone forever, a new normal presents itself in the form of her relationship with Asahi Sato, a level-headed woman who works at her company. It starts as respect, and then it becomes far more intimate.”
I found this fairly randomly as an Etsy recommendation after I’d purchased another queer comic. It’s a lovely short sapphic story that left my heart feeling so warm! Duong is fantastic at bringing character expressions to life. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her work.
“A short queer fantasy romance comic that begins with the myth of the Chinese Zodiac, and the tale that happens afterwards.
Devastated at being betrayed by her friend the Rat, the Cat withdraws into herself, becoming bitter, cynical and angry. However, the Dog is relentless in her attempts to befriend her, and they soon form a new tradition, meeting every year for Chinese New Year’s dinner.
What follows is a story of misunderstandings, delicious food and the rebuilding of trust.”
And here are a couple of recs on the sexier side.
Lisa and Ally thought they could get together for some BDSM entertainment with no emotional strings attached. Hahaha, you silly girls, that would be too easy. Five volumes worth of feeeelings later, the series concluded, and Sunstone fans everywhere almost freaked out until we were told there would be spinoffs. It’s too hard to let go of such a geeky, adorable, complex-because-people-are-dorks romance vibe like this! If you have triggers for BDSM elements, clearly this won’t work for you, but if you’re even neutral and you want more stories in your life about two ladies falling in love? Check this out.
ALSO: This comic proves that superhero comics don’t *have* to objectify women. Because if you can create a five volume series about two women who do BDSM and are often in lingerie, and they’re not objectified? Then there’s no excuse for so many women who punch supervillains to be drawn the way they sometimes are.
“Close friends and new acquaintances at an anime convention confront their crushes, challenge their hang-ups, and question their once-comfortable identities in this erotic graphic novel about discovering who you’re meant to truly be and who you’re meant to love.”
It’s NSFW, sexy, fun, heartbreaking at times, and also incredibly compassionate and kind to all its very diverse and queer cast. The interconnected short stories are each very distinct, and I liked every single one. If it sounds at all interesting to you, give it a try.
And that’s the list! Hope you found something new and interesting for your TBR.