When I first published this post in 2014, I had room for most of my fave LGBTQ+ graphic novels and comics in one post. Now? Hahahaha! They cannot be contained!
So – after a few recommendations that only appear here – this post is now an index of queer graphic novels recommended across my blog. It’s organized by blog post, with a link to the post where you can find more info about the titles listed. Or just look them up on your book research site of choice.
Let’s get started, because I know you’re going to find something here to love.
Fascinating, heartstring-yanking duology about a Japanese single father, Yaichi, whose estranged gay twin brother Ryoji moved to Canada and married a Canadian man named Mike. After Ryoji passes away, Mike comes to see Ryoji’s Japan for the first time and get to know his lost husband’s family. Yaichi has never confronted his own homophobia until Mike arrives. His daughter Kana bonds with Mike immediately, but Yaichi has a more difficult time though he works at questioning his own assumptions. There’s some sadness here, since Mike is grieving and Yaichi is confronting the permanent loss of his brother. There’s also a feeling of hope, though, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the second volume.
[Update: the second volume is also amazing. I cried. In a good way.]
Diversity note: Tagame is possibly the most influential out gay manga creator in Japan.
“In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”
“Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he is also terrified that he has been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.”
This one isn’t as much about queerness as the previous three, but wow it’s a big queer new adult soap opera and I love it.
“As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind… until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.”
“The American boxing champion Emile Griffith gained notoriety in 1962 when he brutally defeated the Cuban fighter Benny Paret. Ten days after the fight, Paret, who had directed a homophobic slur at Griffith during the weigh-in, died from his injuries.
In Knock Out!, Reinhard Kleist draws a powerful, emotive portrait of a bisexual black athlete who, facing racism and homophobia in 1960s America, found success in the world of boxing. This is the story of a fierce and ambitious fighter, and of a knock-out blow that ended one life and changed a second forever.”
“Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties to Ray’s niece, six-year-old Nessie. Their playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in all three of their lives, which ping-pong between familial tensions and deep-seated personal stumbling blocks. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties — Ray with her overworked, resentful single-mother sister and Bron with her religious teenage sister who doesn’t fully grasp the complexities of gender identity. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up and learns they have more in common with their siblings than they ever knew.
At turns joyful and heartbreaking, Stone Fruit reveals through intimately naturalistic dialog and blue-hued watercolor how painful it can be to truly become vulnerable to your loved ones — and how fulfilling it is to be finally understood for who you are.”
AND NOW the index! Every graphic novel or series indexed here has either one or more LGBTQ+ main characters OR at least one queer secondary character who gets significant screen time and delighted me. Mostly the former.
- Mind the Gap
- Morning Glories
- The Department of Truth
- Days of Hate
- Concrete Park
- O Human Star
- The Spire
- Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comics Anthology
- Paper Girls
- On A Sunbeam
- Spell on Wheels
- The One Hundred Nights of Hero
- Red Sonja
- Bonnie N. Collide
- Band vs. Band Comix
- What Did You Eat Yesterday
- The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
- Hopeless Savages
- Check Please!
- The October Faction
- Kay and P
- The Legend of Bold Riley
- The Old Guard
- Shadow Life
- Black Magick
- Giant Days
- Dodge City
- The Fuse
- Gotham Central
Growing Up (Fiction, not memoir, curated for adults, not kids)
- Incredible Doom
I enjoyed all of these tremendously myself, as an adult.
- As the Crow Flies
- Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms
- Cody and the Creepies
- Honor Girl
- Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
- The Prince and the Dressmaker
- Raven: The Pirate Princess
Same comment as above with the YA picks. :)
- The Backstagers
- Beetle & The Hollowbones
- Dungeon Critters
- Goldie Vance
- Princess Princess Ever After
- Space Battle: Lunchtime
- The Witch Boy
And that’s the list of my best-loved graphic novels and comics with LGBTQ+ characters.