It’s Queer Pride Month, and The Beat is unapologetically celebrating with 30 queer graphic novels – one for each day of June!
This is only a fraction of the queer comic offerings available at a local bookstore and/or public library near you. Did we include your favorites? Be sure and let us know, either here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat!
Affiliate link disclaimer: all picks are chosen independently, but we may make a small commission from affiliate links.
Flung Out of Space
Flung Out of Space by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer is a fictional portrait of the complex author of the essential lesbian novel The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith. This interesting graphic novel examines Highsmith in a way that could only be accomplished through comics.
Read The Beat’s review of Flung Out of Space here!
Eighty Days by A.C. Esguerra is an epic romance that takes place in a singular fictional world. Between the breathtaking art and spellbinding story, this graphic novel will surely win you over again and again.
Read The Beat’s interview with Esguerra here!
Galaxy: The Prettiest Star
Galaxy: The Prettiest Star is a DC Comics graphic novel by Jadzia Axelrod, Jess Taylor, and Ariana Maher that tells the story of an alien princess who has been living on Earth disguised as a human boy, but who is finding the strength to live as her true self.
Read The Beat’s interview with Axelrod and Taylor here!
The Third Person
The Third Person by Emma Grove utilizes the unique facets of the medium of comics to share Grove’s experiences as a trans woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder seeking gender-affirming care. The Third Person draws inspiration from the “graphic simplicity” of Peanuts and digs deeply into the complex situation.
Read The Beat’s review of The Third Person here!
The Never Ending Party
The Never Ending Party is a five-issue series from writers Rachel Pollack and Joe Corallo, artist Eva Cabrera, colorists Cons Oroza and Claudia Aguirre, and letterers Zakk Saam and Micah Myers. About the project, Pollack, who passed away earlier this year, said, “This was great fun to work on. I got to write a Tarot reading heroine, play with how a street smart wild trans woman from the 1990s might look at our current world, and turn the Greek God of ecstasy, Dionysus, into a super-villain who’ll destroy the world just to keep the party going!”
Read The Beat’s remembrance of Pollack here.
Grand Slam Romance
Grand Slam Romance: Book One by Ollie Hicks and Emma Oosterhous tells a “smart and gloriously horny sports story”! This blisteringly funny graphic novel follows Mickey Monsoon, who insists, “Softball is my girlfriend.” But what about the enigmatic Magic Girl from her past (and soon, the collective past of the entire softball team’s roster)?
Read The Beat’s interview with Hicks and Oosterhous here!
Stuck Rubber Baby
Stuck Rubber Baby is the groundbreaking 1995 debut graphic novel by legendary underground cartoonist Howard Cruse. It’s a fictional account of a young gay man’s closeted life in the 1960s American South amid the Civil Rights Movement. Although the graphic novel isn’t autobiographical, it draws on Cruse’s experience growing up in the South, and the time he accidentally got his girlfriend pregnant.
Read The Beat’s interview with Cruse here!
The Gay Who Turned Kaiju
The Gay Who Turned Kaiju by Kazuki Minamoto with translation by Leighann Harvey and lettering by Carolina Hernandez is a one-of-a-kind story about a bullied gay teen who wishes he could be someone else… only to find himself transformed into a Kaiju-headed monster.
Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White, along with artist Berenice Nelle, and colorists Kaitlyn Musto, Kieran Quigley, and Gonçalo Lopes, reimagine Washington Irving‘s 1820 story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” in Hollow. This original YA supernatural queer romance is set in the present day, and it’s fun to see how contemporary characters react to the infamous haunting of the New York town.
Kevin Keller Celebration
This hefty omnibus collects the first decade of Kevin Keller’s appearances in the panels of Archie Comics! Featuring the talents of Kevin’s creator Dan Parent along with a laundry list of Archie creators, the colossal compendium, Kevin Keller Celebration, features more comics than you can shake a stick at, and interstitial commentary by Parent on key issues and concepts.
Read The Beat’s interview with Parent here!
Mimosa by Archie Bongiovanni follows four queer characters into their “dirty thirties” and features an “unflinching depiction of privilege” (along with one of the greatest t-shirt slogans ever conceived: “Chubslut”). This graphic novel will draw you in with humor before heading in a direction you’ll never expect.
Read The Beat’s interview with Bongiovanni here!
Slip by Eisner-nominated Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya is a coming-of-age graphic novel about Jade, a young ceramic artist who must juggle a challenging summer in the crucible of a competitive arts camp with an emotional struggle to cope with a suicide attempt by her best friend. This serious and stunning story will stay with you long after you’ve set it down.
Read The Beat’s review of Slip here!
The sci-fi thriller Black Star by Eric Anthony Glover and Arielle Jovellanos is the story of a medical research vessel that crashes while attempting to harvest an extraterrestrial plant sample that holds the key to saving humanity from an extended pandemic. The sole survivor must traverse a hostile planet to reach the escape pod… but things get complicated when it’s revealed that she’s not as “sole” as she thinks!
Read The Beat’s interview with Glover and Jovellanos here!
The 2022 Cartoonist Studio Prize Award winner Stone Fruit by Lee Lai is a compelling portrait of the complex relationship between three women and the child who forms a bridge between them. The unflinching examination of the characters paired with the lingering internal language of the art ensures Stone Fruit won’t leave your mind any time soon after reading it.
In Monotone Blue by Nagabe, with translation by Adrienne Beck, adaptation by C.A. Hawksmoor, and letters by Vanessa Satone, when a cat boy catches a glimpse of the new lizard boy’s bright blue tail, it unlocks feelings in the young cat that he never knew he had. In this furry graphic novel, Nagabe’s art mimics the mostly monotone worldview of a cat and how it brightens at the site of a lizard’s tail.
Trigger warning: sexual assault, bullying
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden
Mannie Murphy‘s I Never Promised You A Rose Garden begins with an affectionate reminiscence of their 1990s crush on the late actor River Phoenix, then morphs into an account of Portland’s history of white nationalism. The remarkable work of graphic nonfiction details the relationship between white supremacist Tom Metzger (former KKK Grand Wizard and founder of the White Aryan Resistance) and the “Rose City” street kids like Ken Death that appeared in director Gus Van Sant‘s films, in addition to exploring other disturbing aspects of the director’s relationships with young actors at his Portland home.
Mamo by Sas Millage is the story of a witch who must return to her hometown in the wake of her grandmother’s death to undo the resulting damage. This graphic novel is a thoughtful rumination on finding where you fit in (especially when facing complex family issues).
Read a preview of Mamo here!
In Submerged by Vita Ayala, Lisa Sterle, Amy Stelladia, and Rachel Deering, with covers by Jen Bartel & Tríona Tree Farrell, Ellie descends into the tunnels of the New York City subway system during a storm in order to save her brother. Soon, encounters with mythological entities force Ellie to confront parts of herself she had been previously unable to acknowledge.
Read The Beat’s review of Submerged here!
The Girl from the Sea
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag with colors by Maarta Laiho is the story of a summer romance between Morgan and Selkie. This graphic novel combines romance and mythology for the perfect Pride beach read.
Read The Beat’s review of The Girl from the Sea here!
Specter Inspectors by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto with letters by Jim Campbell and flats by Gloria Martinelli follows the eponymous investigators as they arrive in Cape Grace, where they hope to uncover the sinister secrets hidden in the spooky town. But soon, the queer romance at the heart of the graphic novel becomes complicated (by the imposition of demonic possession).
Read The Beat’s interview with McCurdy and Musto here!
Other Ever Afters
Other Ever Afters by Melanie Gillman is a collection of queer retellings of fairy tales. With a gorgeous artistic sensibility and a clear thematic mission, this graphic novel is sure to be one you’ll revisit again and again.
M Is for Monster
M Is for Monster by Talia Dutton is a retelling of the Frankenstein story that explores queer identity and relationships. With an interesting story and fascinating art, this graphic novel will pull you apart and put you back together again.
Gatsby, from writer Jeremy Holt and artist Felipe Cunha, is the queer AF reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s great American novel, The Great Gatsby. By reimagining the characters as younger, queerer, and more diverse than in the original story, Holt and Cunha tell a story about the ebb and flow of constructions of otherness and their relationship to wealth in America.
Read The Beat’s interview with Holt and Axel Alonso, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of AWA Studios here!
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness
The English version of the autobiographical manga about a young woman’s struggles with depression and sexuality, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata, won a Harvey Award for Best Manga of 2018. Since then, Nagata has published several sequels: My Solo Exchange Diary, My Solo Exchange Diary Volume 2, My Alcoholic Escape from Reality, and My Wandering Warrior Existence.
Kisses for Jet: A Coming-of-Gender Story
Kisses for Jet: A Coming-of-Gender Story, created by Joris Bas Backer and translated by Ameera Rajabali, was named one of The Beat‘s 30 best comics of 2022. This graphic novel tells an “enlightening and often hilarious tale” illuminating the experience of “transgender millennials who had to navigate the world of gender identity before that information was easily accessible.” Backer’s story of self-discovery is closely tied to the imperfect role models of the 90s, and it’s 1000% relatable.
Rosemary Valero O’Connell‘s Golden Record is pleasure activism, which adriene maree brown defines as a form of protest aiming to “decrease any internal or projected shame or scarcity thinking around the pursuit of pleasure.” In the chapbook, Valero O’Connell explores internalized shame and overcoming it as she accepts ownership over her body and the pleasures of queer love.
Read The Beat’s review of Golden Record here!
Clementine: Book One
Clementine by Vermont Poet Laureate Tillie Walden and with tones by Cliff Rathburn is technically a continuation of The Walking Dead video game from Telltale Games. However, you don’t need to have any prior familiarity with TWD at all to enjoy this page-turning classic zombie tale.
Read The Beat’s interview with Walden on Clementine here!
Black Panther: World of Wakanda
Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alitha E. Martinez, Afua Richardson, Rachelle Rosenberg, Tamra Bonvillain, and Joe Sabino is technically a spin-off of the contemporary run of Black Panther, but you can’t enjoy it without having read that context. If you want to learn more about the underused Dora Milaje characters in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, then this is the place to read about them!
Read a Queerness in Comics column about Gay’s World of Wakanda here!
A Thing Called Truth
A Thing Called Truth, written and lettered by Iolanda Zanfardino and illustrated by Elisa Romboli, is the lesbian answer to the frustratingly cis-het fast cars, pretty drives, and sexy ladies franchise (Fast and the Furious). This five issue miniseries is a must-have for fans of the duo’s first major comics entry, Alice in Leatherland, LGBTQIA+ romantic comedies, and lesbians in cars.
In Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, and Hank Jones, with letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, English major Ben tries to get his first job after college. Soon he’s facing weekly challenges while working as a chef, all while navigating his crush on his coworker Liam.
Read The Beat’s interview with Melendez & Brine here!
This list is non-comprehensive! Please share your favorite queer graphic novels with us in the comments or over on social media.