Happy Pride Month! I like to celebrate Pride by consuming LGBTQ+ media. This is an especially good way to celebrate Pride this year since many events are still cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19. I’ve really been enjoying graphic novels recently, so here are some LGBTQ+ oriented ones that I’d recommend. These ones are all geared towards child and young adult audiences, but I believe they are great reads for all ages.
1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Noelle Stevenson himself is queer. So Nimona would fall under the #OwnVoices category. The protagonist, Nimona is a shapeshifter. She is genderfluid coded because she is a shapeshifter, appearing as any sex or gender presentation at will. She is the sidekick of Blackheart, a villian who’s current enemy, Goldenloin, was once his close friend. I don’t think it’s ever explicit, but it’s implied that Blackheart and Goldenloin are ex-boyfriends. I love Stevenson’s art style, which is cute and cartoony. Stevenson uses tropes in the graphic novel, but also queercodes these tropes, which is fun. Stevenson also manages to go deeper than tropes, embracing dark themes.
2. Taproot: A Story of a Gardener and a Ghost by Keezy Young
Taproot is about a gardener/florist, Hamal, who discovers a ghost named Blue, in the flower shop, Hamal. They become friends, and end up falling in love. But theere are sinister things going on in town, and Blue may have to leave Hamal to protect him. This story is so cute, both art style and content wise! I love Hamal and Blue’s relationship. Also, like a lot of graphic novels, it’s a pretty short read, so it’s not a major commitment.
3. Moonstruck by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle
In what may at first seem like a normal college town, lives a variety of monsters and magical creatures. Julie is a werewolf and barista, going on her first date with her new girlfriend, Selena. But someone casts a dreadful spell on her nonbinary centaur friend, Chet. Julie and her friends become caught up a magical conspiracy. This is the first volume, in a series, which currrently has three volumes. I love the urban fantasy setting, in which magic is so common that it is mundane to the characters. However, mundane the magic might seem to them, the plot is always exciting. I also enjoy how each volume introduces readers to a different aspect of the setting, and a different type of magical creature. Also, series is racially diverse, with a Latina protagonist, who has a Black girlfriend, not to mention the diversity in gender identity and sexual orientation. Julie also has a larger body type than many characters we see in graphic novels, so it’s nice to see her representing fat girls.
4. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Another #OwnVoices read, The Magic Fish tells the story of Tiên, a boy who struggles to come out to his Vietnamese immigrant parents in the 80’s, told in part through fairy tales. See my full review here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/03/22/the-magic-fish-review/ .
5. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
This was originally a web comic by Alice Oseman, but it also is being made into a printed graphic novel series. The web comic is turn was actually inspired by Oseman’s novel, telling the backstory of a couples relationship. I have only read the first issue since thus far. My friend had been recommending it for a while and it did not disappoint! Heartstopper is about Charlie and Nick, two highschoolers, who you might not expect to become friends. After all, Nick is “straight” boy and a jock, playing rugby, while Charlie is an openly gay guy who plays the drums. But they share a class together, they get to talking, and Nick convinces Charlie to join the rugby team. I love how Nick and Charlie start out as friends, and later realize that they have feelings for each other. It was a nice progression. Also, Nick’s sexuality crisis in which he googles, “Am I gay?,” was super relatable and funny. I also enjoyed its similarity to Handsome Devil, an Irish movie that I love. It was also left at a bit of a cliffhanger, so now I really look forward to reading more of this series.