This week has been somewhat of a weird week for LGBT characters in comic books. First, there was the fact that the Midnighter’s comic is actually really, really good. But then we got a controversy about James Robsinson’s Airboy and its use of a derogatory word for transgender. (My take on that: Robinson was deliberately writing those characters as assholes. Unfortunately, those characters are fictional versions of him and the artist and he went a bit too far, making the whole thing seem weird, out of place, and in bad taste. Edit: Robinson has written a full apology.)
But the current crop of comics does have a lot of good LGBT characters, especially independent comics. Here are five you really need to start reading:
8house: Arclight, written by Brandon Graham and art by Marian Churchland
Hey, do you want to read about genderqueer knights in a weird fantasy land involving alien monsters, blood magic, and a goose?
I had you at “genderqueer knights,” didn’t I?
8house: Arclight is a fantastic comic that just came out (only one issue) about Sir Arclight (one of the aforementioned genderqueer knights) and her Lady, who has been magically trapped in an alien root-body. Now they have to protect their world from blood magic and find out what happened to her original body and who is using it. (Seriously, it’s weird and awesome.)
The Spire, written by Simon Spurrier, pencils by Jeff Stokely, colors by Andre May
The Spire is another brand new comic (also one issue) that takes place in a strange fantasy land. Only this fantasy land is the Spire, “a mountain of metal and stone that rises from the toxic nowherelands; a city of twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, ancient machinery, and over one million human and non-human residents.”
The main character is Shå, the Commander of the City Watch (and lesbian who has white tendrils that come out of her back), who polices the Spire. However, now that the old Baron is dead, the new Baroness has some problems with her.
Si Spurrior is an awesome writer and Jeff Stokely is an awesome artist. Their previous collaboration, Six-Gun Gorilla, was mind-blowingly good.
Kaptara, written by Chip Zdarsky and art by Kagan McLeod
So, okay, this book is kind of hard to explain. It’s about a group of astronauts that accidentally crash land into the planet of Kaptara.
Except it’s not really about that. It’s really only about one astronaut, Keith Kanga, who is super lazy (and also gay) and when he finds himself away from the other astronauts in this cool fantasy land (similar to, say, He-Man’s Eternia), he doesn’t want to leave. Not when he hated it back on Earth.
Of course, that’s presupposing that there will be an Earth to go back to, since maybe there won’t be?
Chip Zdarksy is hilarious and Kagan McLeod draws some excellent cat tanks. (Seriously, cat tanks. It’s super weird and awesome.)
Infinite Loop, written by Pierrick Colinet and art by Elsa Charretier
So if fantasy lands aren’t your thing, how about time travel? Because Infinite Loop is an awesome, time travel romance epic.
Teddy (the redhead on the cover) and her coworker Ulysses have one job to do: find time anomalies and eradicate them. If left alone, these anomalies will build up and eventually result in the end of the world. Teddy is really good at her job, too...until she meets a human anomaly (later named Ano) and falls head over heels for her.
Much time travel and nudity ensues. Seriously, lots of nudity (this is not a book to read on the bus). But there’s also awesome action and art and romance. Oh, and a really neat thing where decisions are mapped out in decision trees. Seriously, get it.
The Wicked + The Divine, written by Kieron Gillen and art by Jamie McKelvie
Here’s one that you may have heard of — in fact, it’s the only one on this list that has been going on for more than a year and has just completed it’s second storyarc.
But it bears repeating that this comic is awesome. The Wicked + The Divine is about creativity and imagination; it’s about fans and fandoms and how we try to be closer to the creators we love; and it’s about magic and gods. These gods just happen to have a ticking clock: two years of being loved and hated and then they die. Some can deal with the pressure. Others can’t.
It also bears repeating that the cast is filled with LGBT characters, including Cassandra, a trans woman. Two books are out now, Vol 1: The Faust Act and Vol 2: Fandemonium.
What other LGBT characters are you guys excited out in comics now?