Webcomics are a thing. An amazing, wonderful, and in most cases free (or nearly free) kind of thing that you should totally be reading. I hopped aboard the webcomic train last year with Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, a brilliant story of a hero, a villain, and the
shapeshifter who crashes into their lives like a wrecking ball. It’s now available in both hardcover and paperback through HarperCollins. Did I mention it also was National Book Award finalist and Eisner Award nominee? In case I’m being too subtle, if you haven’t yet, you should go read Nimona.
Effusive praise aside, Nimona highlighted, at least for me, the amazing comics content being produced online. The ease of platforms like Tumblr and low startup costs make producing a webcomic much easier to navigate for creators than traditional printed comics. As a result, a literal bounty of options have emerged. Want to read about queer lady pirates? Try Broadside. How about the geeky adventures of a New Zealand transguy? Rooster Tails has got you covered. Love stories, sci fi, adventure, historical fiction – webcomics traverse all genres. In particular, the amount of queer-centered stories makes me do my happy chair dance.
So, in the spirit of Nimona, and her shapeshifting ways, here are a few webcomics which feature queer magical creatures. For your reading pleasure I present a pair of goddesses, some mermaids, a vampire, and a werewolf.
Anu-Anulan & Yir’s Daughter by Emily Carroll
Emily Carroll is a gifted artist and storyteller, known mostly for her tales of horror and suspense. Her first book, Through the Woods is terrifying. Seriously, don’t read it at night. Anu-Anulan & Yir’s Daughter offers up something very different. Set up as a classic trickster tale with a twist, the goddess Anu-Anulan takes various forms in an attempt to deceive the aforementioned Yir’s daughter. Carroll’s art scrolls through several running pages without using a traditional format to weave the narrative. The final sequence is both beautiful and heartwarming.
On Her Guard by Laisanen
I have a bit of a thing for mermaids. I blame Disney. I mean, who needs a red haired minx of a singing mermaid to hit them precisely at preadolescence? So not my fault. Anyway, On Her Guard opens with a broody mermaid princess and the bodyguard tasked with bringing her back for her coronation. While there is plenty to like, this is not a perfect comic. We don’t get the whole story. Heck, we don’t even get to know the names of the two characters. Yet despite some grammatical missteps, I found myself almost tearing up toward the end. There is real emotion in these panels, and the art is excellent.
Honey and Venom by Catuallie and Kurzz
The goddess Axiothea is struggling to navigate the modern world. Enter the reincarnated version of her former priestess/lover Caelia, who unfortunately has no idea who Ax is. Hijinx ensue, as well as sweet flirting and lots of fish-out-of-water type scenes. Also scooters. And cats. Catuallie and Kurzz, the real life couple behind Honey and Venom, bring illustration and archaeology backgrounds to the series, and made me feel like I was learning a bit while enjoying a sweet queer love story. H&V is an ongoing serial comic that updates on Sundays, so it’s not too late to jump in.
The Night Belongs to Us by L.R. Hale
Vampire saves girl. Girl turns into werewolf. Tale as old as time, right? The Night Belongs to Us is the story of Hank, recently turned werewolf, and Ada, the vampire who saved her life. Having to negotiate both her new supernatural status and her serious crush on Ada is proving to be pretty stressful for Hank. Snarky and irreverent, Hale draws on traditional vampire and werewolf mythos while adding her own fun twists. There’s also lots of swearing and some nakedness, so probably don’t read this at work. The art is both cute and sexy, with a nice feel in the action sequences. It’s a work in progress with weekly updates, and the archive takes a few hours to read through. Completely worth the effort if you like a well-paced supernatural adventure.