Pride is a time where LGBT+ people get to be closer to each other and to see ourselves represented. It’s also important to remember, especially right now, that Pride started as a riot against police brutality, led by black people like Masha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie, and that we LGBT+ non-black people have a responsibility with what they gave us and what we need to give back, for example, showing up to protests, supporting bail funds, donating to ground organizations or examining other actions we can take at this very moment.
Pride is also fundamentally about celebrating who we are and fighting for our right to be ourselves and navigate the world in our own terms. Right now, that is still not a reality to all LGBT+ people in any place, especially not all LGBT+ people of color and disabled people. That’s why we wanted to put together a list of LGBT+ reading recommendations by some members of our staff. May these comics give you strength, hope and company.
- Travis Hedge Coke: I’ll queer anything, and I will hold onto any LGBTQ reference (hello trans Agent Brand, bisexual Black Canary, out and not out editors, inkers, writers), so I’ll tell you what I keep in close radius right now: Enigma (Peter Milligan, Duncan Fegredo, Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh) is the first explicitly gay kiss from DC Comics, or from any major American comics publisher and, especially to young intersex, queer me, still remarkable for its position of “born this way”/“made this” not all that much mattering. Whenever Our Eyes Meet, from ASCII/Kadokawa and Yen Press, collects a wealth of short comics about women falling in love, falling out of love, thinking maybe they should find a love. Sanami Matoh’s Fake is the best of crime investigation buddy comedies, just queerer and more stylish than they usually get. Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat, was short-lived, but Brittney Williams and Kate “Just out here gradually getting wedding vendors and services to add nonbinary options because even in marriage I am That Irritating Queer” Leth made it a must-read long after it’s stopped serializing.
- Gabriel De Jesus: Alpha Flight #106 is a must-read. A gut-punching story that deals with Northstar coming out, making him Marvel’s first major queer character. More recent recommendations include The Magicians mini by Lilah Sturges which subtly and clearly displays queer characters, Steve Orlando’s Midnighter and follow up Midnighter and Apollo, and Tini Howard’s Death’s Head which is just fun. Also, I have to give Leah Williams’s Age of X-Man: X-Tremists a shout out for the final page of issue #4 practically screaming “Be Gay, Do Crimes”.
- Duna Haller: My most dear recommendation would be Bingo Love Vol 1: Jackpot Edition. Tee Franklin’s beautiful story about two grandmothers in love gets surrounded by the charm of an ensemble cast of artists and writers. From my personal viewpoint, everything crafted by Magdalene Visaggio is a go, but her teen slacker Morning in America or her deep gender and mental health issues exploration Sex Death Revolution impacted me the most. And the ongoing Ghosted in L.A. by Sina Grace is a ghost queer melodrama with both historical and modern LGBT+ perspective, as well as mental health themes. Lastly, all Jem and the Holograms comics will be forever in my heart, especially those with art by Sophie Campbell.
- Lillian Hochwender: One of my favorite LBGT+ reads is unquestionably Loki: Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett (Marvel). Retconning transmisogynistic tropes of Straczynski’s Thor run, Loki: Agent of Asgard is a moving story of self-acceptance — especially for genderfluid readers like me who can see ourselves not only validated but celebrated. Outside of Marvel and DC, I’d heartily recommend The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics): a riveting, unapologetically queer read about self discovery, mythology, and pop music. Last if not least, Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward (Dark Horse) is a touching romance about reconciling one’s social obligations, religious beliefs, and queer identity while fighting intergalactic authoritarianism.
- Nicolas Duncan: The top 5 influential LGBTQ+ issues for me are; 1) Nation X #2 (2010) & Astonishing X-Men #51 (2012); as a gay man in an interracial relationship, I was beyond excited for NorthStar & Kyle meeting, falling in love, and getting married, 2) X-Factor #45 (2009) when Rictor and Shatterstar “finally kiss”, 3) Uncanny X-Men #265 (1990), Mystique & Destiny, 4) Hellblazer #51 (1992), where John Constantine’s sexuality is confirmed, 5) the whole run of Young Avengers, but most importantly; Young Avengers #7 where Billy (Wiccan) & Teddy (Hulkling) make a special announcement. This is groundbreaking for today’s teenagers struggling with coming out. There are more awesome LGBTQ+ characters that the reader can relate to, like; Batwoman, Gravity Kid & Power Boy, Anole, Bunker, Iceman, Daken, etc…
- Nicholas Osborn: There are many great moments in LGBT+ comics, but few break through the noise as much as an on-panel kiss. Some are a bit more controversial, such as Daken’s pheromone induced kiss with Hawkeye in the Siege: X-Men tie-in, but others are much more heartwarming like in Harley Quinn Rebirth #25 where her and Poison Ivy share a wonderful kiss together. Then there are the icons in LGBT+ comics such as Batwoman who’s trade paperback by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III is simply fundamental reading, but there are also fun surprises like Hercules’s relationship with Logan in X-Treme X-Men, even sharing a kiss in issue #10. However, one of the most memorable moments for me personally comes in The Walking Dead #79 when Aaron and Eric kiss after finally reuniting. These are all unique instances of the power of LGBT+ storytelling and are well worth tracking down to add to your collection!
Comic Watch Pride: Our Staff’s LGBT+ Must-Reads
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