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Carina's Comic Corner: Rainbow Reads - Comics with Pride, Continued

Our first Pride entry to Carina's Comic Corner was targeted at younger folks, but we've got to include some more mature reads for the grown-ups out there looking for some great LGBTQIA+ comics! So often, queer comics are equated to things that are scandalous or sexual, and while those can be a treat for readers searching for a more transgressive queer tale (looking at you Blue is the Warmest Color and The Pervert!), it's not all about sex. Gender, sexuality, and relationship dynamics are complex and nuanced, and our comics should represent that, too. Read on for some comics that focus on the intricacies of living queerly, both in the real world and imaginary realms.

Be Gay, Do Comics!, from The Nib (IDW Publishing)

Be Gay, Do Comics! is a near-perfect example of the solidarity that comic arts can create. Edited by comic artists from The Nib, Be Gay, Do Comics! features dozens of comics by artists and authors from all across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, with just as much narrative representation. Whether it be poignant and touching memoir segments exploring the gender or sexual identity of its creator, or entertaining and riotously fun fantasy stories meant to take the reader on an action-packed ride, this anthology covers all bases. There's something touching about thematically linked anthologies that don't hit you over the head too much with their message--this is an anthology that happens to be queer, created by queer people, but it is in no way isolating non-queer audiences. By having a wide breadth of art styles, narrative structures, and genres in a slim volume, Be Gay, Do Comics! brings back to mind the vintage collections of the 70s and 80s that could very easily be viewed as vehicles of political progress, but are really just there to give the audience a good time.

Purchase Be Gay, Do Comics! here.

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas Entertainment)

I will start by saying, I cannot wait for more from Nagata Kabi. Her autobiographical manga are a delight, full of humor and introspection, and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a remarkable first published volume. Initially released on the site Pivix, Nagata's story follows her young adulthood, grappling with an alcohol problem and a burgeoning lesbian identity. Eventually, she decides to overcome her fear of sex by hiring a female sex worker to lose her virginity to. Despite its heavy themes, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is rather lighthearted and fun, and the reader learns about Kabi on an intimate level. The pink motif throughout is girlish and playful, and Nagata's intentionally rough-around-the-edges art style shows us the turmoil that her illustrated version is enduring. She's also spawned a series of sequels in this same format, like My Solo Exchange Diary and My Alcoholic Escape from Reality. Raw, unflinching, and a little bit raunchy, Nagata Kabi solidifies herself as a mangaka to keep our eyes on with this comic memoir.

Purchase My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness here.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (Oni Press)

I struggled to decide whether to include Gender Queer in the youth or adult category for Pride posts, just because it's such a polarizing text. Notable for making the ALA's list for most banned books since its publication, Kobabe's memoir is a gut-punching exploration of gender, coming of age, and identity. We follow Maia through eir adolescence up through their college years and young adulthood, and while it is not at all glamorized, Kobabe really tackles some of the grittier aspects of growing up queer in America. Most of this book is feel-good, for sure, but there's an underlying theme of the ways that the world needs to do better by queer youth. A deluxe edition was released more recently with an afterword from the author, and I can tell you, it added a whole other layer of dimension here. Kobabe, who is non-binary and asexual, manages to showcase less represented queer identities with gracefulness and beauty, and the art here is striking, colorful, and bold. Come for the touching story, stay for the absolutely awe-inspiring illustrations.

Purchase Gender Queer here.

Boys Weekend by Matie Lubchansky (Pantheon)

From one of The Nib's main writers, Boys Weekend is raucously good fun. The book follows Sammie, a newly transfemme artist's assistant attending their best friend's bachelor weekend at a no-holds-barred resort in the middle of the Atlantic, rife with the rest of their college buddies. But no, no, this is not some tender, learning to accept transness narrative: this is a ROLLERCOASTER. You've got a strangely cultlike group at the resort, toxic masculinity abound, and a whole lot of bloodshed. The best genre that I could categorize Boys Weekend as is horror comedy, with a few other speculative elements throughout. The dark humor is really what carries this story, and Lubchansky's punchy, vibrant art coupled with the super dismal themes makes for a perfect blend of cognitive dissonance for the reader. I will say, this one is definitely not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, so proceed with caution and enjoy the ride!

Purchase Boys Weekend here.

Looking for reviews on upcoming releases? Maybe commentary on a specific title? Just want to find something new to read? Stay tuned for biweekly themed posts, standalone reviews of new titles before they’re published, and more!

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