I’m relatively new to comics, and I came to them via Saga, which is about as close to a mainstream comic as I’ve gotten so far. The comics I read are mostly indie and non-superhero and plenty of them are written by women and folks of color.
So my understanding of representation in comics is a bit warped—I’m used to queer characters rocking it and kick-ass women running the show. Even still, no matter how much I love Saga, Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Bitch Planet, sometimes all I want is a simple, standalone story with queer protagonists and a happy ending.
When the world is a trash heap and I have to take a breath before I process any more news, when I’m feeling burnt-out and frustrated, nothing is as comforting as curling up with a great comic—a story without cliffhangers and unsolved mysteries at the end, staring queer women who get the happy damn ending they deserve.
So for all those times when you just need some kick-ass queer comic love, here are three standalone comics you’ll be sure to adore.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and jenn st-onge (image, February 14)
This is a sweet, honest, and life-affirming story of black queer grandmothers falling in love. Two women meet as teenagers in the sixties, but circumstance and homophobia keep them apart—until they find each other, by chance, years later. The art is gorgeous and the story is a tender and lovely exploration of finding love at any age, family, and what it means to get a second chance. If you’re looking for a book that deals honestly but beautifully with love after age 65, this one’s for you. I just wanted to fall into the pages and stay there for a while.
Sugar town by Hazel newlevant
Sugar Town is the queer, poly, kinky comic of my dreams. Hazel, a young bi woman, is home visiting her family in Portland when she meets Argent at a local bar. The story that follows is a quiet, kind, and undramatic love story. It is full of tenderness, and explores the many varied ways we can love and take care of each other. The artwork is just a delight.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie walden (first second, october 2)
Originally a webcomic, On A Sunbeam is coming out in print this fall, but you can read it for free online right now. It’s a science fiction space adventure in a universe full of fascinating planets, boarding schools on spaceships, and ships shaped like fish. The story follows Mia through two important times in her life: her high school days and her relationship with fellow student Grace, and her first job post-graduation, traveling the universe renovating old buildings with a crew of queer and trans folks. There’s mystery, romance, queer family, and badass women—what more could you want? Stunning, magical, luminous artwork, that’s what. Never fear: the art in this comic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s just breathtaking.