This is a guest post on queer comics creators from Ashley Wertz. Ashley is a writer, artist, and well of useless knowledge. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 with a BA in English, a minor in Studio Arts, and a certificate in Children’s Literature. She has written for sites such as Study Breaks Magazine and ComicsVerse. In her free time, she reads graphic novels and paints portraits of Stevie Nicks.
Twitter Handle: ashleywertzzz
I’m always on the lookout for comics featuring queer characters. And luckily for me, there’s never been a better time for such works. From webcomics to smaller publishers, queer comics and characters are becoming much more accepted and represented.
And while the comic industry is still headed by some powerhouse publishing companies full of white, heternormative men, independent and small publishers are making it possible for marginalized creators to have control over projects. Writers and illustrators alike are making interesting queers comics with characters that don’t totally revolve around sexual orientation. Hurtful stereotypes and tropes are being pitched right into the garbage where they belong.
But if you’re just starting out with comics, especially of the queer variety, it’s a little overwhelming at first. So, to help you on your quest, here are three comics with queer characters by creators of color!
Long Exposure by mars (webcomic)
Mitch and Jonas are two very different high school boys, one being a rebellious tough guy and the other a meek nerdy boy. But the best part about this comic is that the two don’t belong to their stereotypes. Mitch is openly gay and isn’t ashamed, despite his rough exterior and ingrained masculinity. Jonas is coming to terms with his bisexuality as well. After gaining powers from some mysterious goo at an even more mysterious facility in the woods, Mitch and Jonas grow closer and closer before even realizing how they feel, all while being followed by shady black vehicles.
Long Exposure is a funny, adorable, but often heartbreaking story with amazing art to match. The sci-fi elements also add a twist but never distract from the heart of the story.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and Jenn St-Onge (Image)
In a time where creators are still reluctant to admit that elderly queer people exist, Bingo Love is heaven-sent. The story follows the memories of Hazel, an older queer black woman. Hazel tells the tale of her first teenage love, Mari, and how they find each other many years later in a bingo hall.
Bingo Love is sometimes painfully realistic, touching on coming out as a married woman, the grim effects of aging, and living in a time where queerness is extremely taboo. But as raw as the comic gets, the overall message is beautiful and genuine, showing readers that romance isn’t just for teenagers.
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh (Dark Horse)
One of my favorite things is seeing queer rep in media for younger viewers. As a kid, I could have never fathomed seeing a same-sex relationship in one of my favorite cartoons. And to this day, I wonder how it would have helped me to discover parts of myself that took so long to recognize and accept.
You may know The Legend of Korra from the Nickelodeon series of the same name, and you may also know that the show’s creators confirmed that two of the main female characters are together—not just gals being pals. In Turf Wars, we actually get to see Korra and Asami openly in love, something that the show only vaguely hints at in the final episode. Seeing such positive female romance in a comic for kids is amazing and certainly a step in the right direction.
What are your favorite queer comics by creators of color?