In honor of Pride month, Black LGBTQ leaders, activists, and writers shared some of their favorite books that discuss the Black queer experience.
Another day of June means another day of Pride, and another day of Pride means another list of recommendations! On this list, you’ll find some amazing and unmissable comics and graphic novels in diverse genres with some LGBTQ+ representation.
America by gabby rivera (author) and joe quinones (illustrator)
She was a Young Avenger. She leads the Ultimates. And now she officially claims her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the entire Marvel Universe! But what’s a super-powered teenager to do when she’s looking for a little personal fulfillment? She goes to college! America just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first and shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits before work can begin. Then she can get on with her first assignment: a field trip to the front lines of World War II – with Captain America as her wingman!
are you listening? by tillie walden
Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.
This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak―and a startling revelation about sexual assault―culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.
On a sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Two timelines. Second chances. One love.
A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together.
Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love―only to learn the pain of loss.
Bloom by kevin panetta (author) and Savanna Ganucheau (illustrator)
Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.
Check, please! BY Ngozi ukazo
Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack―his very attractive but moody captain.
Cry havoc by Si Spurrier (Author), Ryan Kelly (illustrator), Nick Filardi (illustrator), Lee Loughridge (illustrator), and others
Meet Lou: a street musician savaged by a supernatural terror.
Meet Lou: crossing war-torn Afghanistan with a unit of shapeshifting soldiers.
Meet Lou: a monstress held captive by the rogue beast she was sent to kill.
CRY HAVOC interweaves three stages of a remarkable life into a critically-exalted saga of military, myth and mania.
Heartstopper By alice oseman
Shy and softhearted Charlie Spring sits next to rugby player Nick Nelson in class one morning. A warm and intimate friendship follows, and that soon develops into something more for Charlie, who doesn’t think he has a chance.
But Nick is struggling with feelings of his own, and as the two grow closer and take on the ups and downs of high school, they come to understand the surprising and delightful ways in which love works.
paper girls by Brian K Vaughan (Author), Cliff Chiang (illustrator), Jared K. Fletcher (illustrator), and Matthew Wilson (illustrator)
“In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.”
Fence by C.S. Pacat (Author) and Johanna the Mad (illustrator)
“Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut!”
Fun home By alison Bechdel
In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.
Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.
Saga by Brian K Vaughan (Author) and Fiona Staples (illustrator)
“When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.”
she-ra by Gigi D.G. (Author), Noelle Stevenson (Creator), Ganucheau Paulina (Illustrator) and others
Even after everything that’s happened, the world outside the Horde’s walls is still a strange one to Adora. Each day she’s learning more about her growing powers as She-Ra, including something new: the ability to heal corrupted runestones. Runestones are the magical source from which princesses like Frosta, Mermista, and Perfuma draw their power, but Glimmer knows of another runestone — one with a dark past. Long ago a fire princess ruled the lands to the west, until her thirst for power corrupted her, and led to the ruin of her kingdom. Glimmer thinks the lost fire runestone could give the Rebellion an edge in the fight against the Horde, but claiming this ancient power won’t be easy… especially not when the Horde has their eyes set on the same prize.
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson (Author), Shannon Watters (Author), Grace Ellis (Author), and Brooke A Allen (Illustrator)
At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.
Laura dean keeps breaking up with me by Mariko Tamaki (Author) and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (illustrator)
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.
Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
The Legend of Korra by Michael Dante DiMartino (Author), Bryan Konietzko (Author), Veronica Fish (Illustrator), and Irene Koh (Illustrator)
After a refreshing sojourn in the Spirit World, Korra and Asami return to Republic City but find nothing but political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict! Pompous developer Wonyong Keum plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. At the city’s edge, Zhu Li enlists everyone she can to aid the thousands of hungry and homeless evacuees who have relocated there. Meanwhile, the Triple Threats’ ruthless new leader, Tokuga, is determined to unite the other triads under his rule, no matter the cost.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (Author) and Wendy Xu
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any townhome. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
Kiss number 8 by Colleen AF Venable (Author), Ellen T. Crenshaw
Mads is pretty happy with her life. She goes to church with her family, and minor league baseball games with her dad. She goofs off with her best friend Cat, and has thus far managed to avoid getting kissed by Adam, the boy next door. It’s everything she hoped high school would be… until all of a sudden, it’s not.
Her dad is hiding something big―so big it could tear her family apart. And that’s just the beginning of her problems: Mads is starting to figure out that she doesn’t want to kiss Adam… because the only person she wants to kiss is Cat.
runaways by Adrian Alphona (Illustrator), Takeshi Miyazawa (Illustrator), and Brian K. Vaughan (Contributor)
They were six normal teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents are the secret criminal society known as the Pride! For years, the Pride controlled all criminal acti vity in Los Angeles, ruling the city with an iron fist…and now, with their true natures exposed, the Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their organizati on – even if it means taking out their own children! Now on the run from their villainous parents, Nico, Chase, Karolina, Gertrude, Molly and Alex have only each other to rely on.
I am not okay with this by charles forsman
Sydney seems like a normal, rudderless fifteen-year-old freshman. She hangs out underneath the bleachers, blasts music in her friend’s car, and gets into arguments with her annoying little brother. But she also has a few secrets she’s only shared in her diary: how she’s in love with her best friend, the bizarre death of her war veteran father, and excruciatingly painful telekinetic powers that keep popping up at the most inopportune times. Charles Forsman once again expertly channels teenage ethos in a style that evokes classic comics strips while telling a powerful story about the intense, and sometimes violent, tug of war between trauma and control. I Am Not Okay With This tackles familial strain, sexual confusion, and PTSD in Forsman’s signature straight-faced-but-humorous style and firmly stakes his place among the world’s best cartoonists. Black & white illustrations.
The Wicked + the divine by Kieron Gillen (Author) and Jamie Mckelvie
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. Welcome to The Wicked + The Divine, where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”
The prince and the dress maker by jen wang
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.
Young avengers Kieron Gillen (Author) and Jamie McKelvie (illustrator)
Legacy isn’t a dirty word…but it’s an irrelevant one. It’s not important what our parents did. It matters what WE do. Someone has to save the world. You’re someone. Do the math.
Wiccan, Hulkling and Kate “Hawkeye” Bishop with Kid Loki, Marvel Boy and Ms. America. No pressure, right? As a figure from Loki’s past emerges, Wiccan makes a horrible mistake that comes back to bite everyone on their communal posteriors.
Feature image via cbldf
Sometimes we just want to avoid the heartache, especially when it comes to books about people in the LGBTQ+ community.