Monday, March 8, 2010

Guest Post: LGBTQ Graphic Novels

Today's guest post is from Nymeth at Things Mean a Lot. Welcome, Nymeth, and thank you so much for your thoughts!

I'm a fan of comics and graphic novels, and I also have an interest in LGBTQ literature. But when Amanda asked me to write a guest post with suggestions of books that fit both categories, I drew a blank. The reason is probably the same reasons why the average reader will have trouble coming up with a list of LGBTQ titles when asked: in a heteranormative world, these books just aren't as visible.

Thanks goodness for google. I did some research, and here's a list of what I came up with. Most of these are books I've yet to read myself, but at least that means I'm doing damage to my own wishlist along with yours.

GLBTQ Comics

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel - this one I have read, as have most of you, I'll bet. But I didn't want to leave it out just because it's an obvious choice. Fun Home is a darkly humorous memoir about Bechdel's childhood and young adulthood, and about her conflicted relationship with her father. Like Bechdel herself, her father was gay, but the only way they ever talked about it was indirectly, through the books they both loved.

  • The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, also by Alison Bechdel - a "best of" of Bechdel's ongoing comic strip about a group of friends, many of whom fit the GLBTQ category.

  • Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki - another well-known title, I know, but I thought I'd get those out of the way first. Skim is the story of a teen who comes to terms with her own sexuality - among, of course, many other things.

  • Tough Love by Abby Denson - a manga-style comic about Brian, a shy gay teen who is beginning to discover love.

  • Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse - set during the Civil Rights Movement, this is a story about the consequences of racism and homophobia in a Southern community.

  • Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman - this is one of my all-time favourite graphic novels. It's a Sandman spin-off, but you certainly don't need to have read the main series to enjoy it. The main characters, Foxglove and Hazel, are a lesbian couple who have to face a difficult choice. And more than that I cannot say.

  • 12 Days by June Kim - This book sounds absolutely beautiful and very touching. I really need to get my hands on it soon. The protagonist, Jackie, is trying to deal with her ex-lover's death, and decides to consume her ashes over a period of twelve-days. That sounds a little odd, I know, but something about it strikes me as so very human. Perhaps it's how well it conveys the irrationality of grief.

  • Pedro and Me by Judd Winnick - Another well-known title in the blogosphere, but I still thought it was worth drawing attention to. It's the true story of the friendship between Judd and Pedro Zamora, a HIV-positive and gay young man who devoted the final years of his life to battling stereotypes about both gay people and people with AIDS.

  • Locas by Jaime Hernandez - I adore Gilbert Hernandez, but have yet to read his brother's work. Both Hernandez brothers have been praised for the depth of their characterization, and I look forward to getting my hands on this book about two young lesbian Latina punk-rockers.

  • Awkward and Definition: The High School Comic Chronicles by Ariel Schrag - A high-school memoir by a lesbian teen, covering the many familiar coming-of-age themes, as well as her struggle with her sexual orientation.

  • Jane's World by Paige Braddock - An ongoing series that sounds a little bit like Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For - not that it's not very much its own thing. The world needs more comics about the lives of lesbian women, not fewer. And when more of them exist and get mainstream attention, perhaps we'll stop comparing them.

  • The Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan - a series about six teens who discover their parents are super-villains and decide to run away from home, which includes GLBTQ main characters (which are NOT the aforementioned super-villains, by the way).
That's all I've got - do you have any suggestions to add? If so, I'd love to hear them.


Leslie @ This is the Refrain said...

Ack! The only one my library has that I haven't read yet is Runaways. But I will be reading that for this months minichallenge. Wonderful post :D

Andrea said...

Thanks for the recs.

Unknown said...

You left out the amazing Strangers in Paradise series by Terry Moore!

Also, there is a whole queer comix organization out there to explore, Prism Comics, a non-profit whose mission is to promote LGBTQ comics and comic creators.

Ana S. said...

Thank you for the link, clindsay! I'm sure I left plenty of others out too - like I said, I'm by no means an expert and haven't yet read many of these.

MissA said...

I'm so glad to see this post because I had to no idea as to what I was going to read for this mini-challenge. And it's diverse too, hooray :)

I'm going to try and read Skim (which is currently checked out of my library) or the Runaways. Thanks for this list Nymeth!

Another creative mini-challenge, I love how it spotlights literature that might be overlooked (POC GLBT, graphic novel GLBT)

Amanda said...

Skim is so good!! I hope we can keep spotlighting good GLBT literature. :)

Mama Librarian said...

I was going to mention SiP but clindsay beat me to it. =) It's really tremendous.

I also really like Assume Nothing: Evolution of a Bi-Dyke by Leanne Franson.

There are several here I've not read! Stuck Rubber Baby was very powerful.

Pam Harrison said...

Don't forget the House of the Muses series. Despite being an American created graphic novel series, it is immensely more popular in Europe. It's now on sale at Barnes and Noble, worldwide, (Netherlands) and many other bookstores and comic shops.

Unknown said...

There's a new one out called "CAMPUS GHOST STORY" that's a pretty good read. Seems like half of the main characters are either bi- or gay.