Staff Picks Updates: Pride 2024

Introduction

This year, we thought it might be good to reflect back on some of the great comics highlighted in previous years’ Pride lists while also sprinkling in a few new options. So enjoy this mix of newer and older LGBTQ+ titles for Pride 2024.

Be Gay, Do Comics

The Nib

Cover Image

Though not the first of its kind, this is a well-built anthology of queer stories covering important moments in LGBTQ+ history, personal stories from the contributors, and jokes or satire stories, all at varying lengths, so some may be only a page while others are upwards of ten pages long. As usual with anthologies, not every story may be for everyone, but there's probably at least one story for everybody in here.

Appeals to

Anthologies are always great for people who prefer shorter stories or don't have time for longer options, and this one is especially great for those kinds of readers since it's such a mix of topics and lengths. Otherwise, this would likely appeal to readers of queer fiction comics such as Supermutant Magic Academy or Stone Fruit.

Creator Identities:

Black, Fijian-American, Puerto Rican |

Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, Nonbinary, Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, Nonbinary, Trans |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Fine: A Comic About Gender

Rhea Ewing

Cover Image

Rhea Ewing was struggling to determine their gender identity, so they quickly interviewed some people to get a clearer picture and figure out where they fit in. Instead, they do over fifty interviews and the result is Fine. Part memoir, part documentary, Fine is an engaging, approachable read about people’s experiences navigating their gender identity in American society.

Appeals to

Readers looking for a nuanced discussion of gender that doesn’t get bogged down with a lot of terminology will want to pick up Fine.

Content Notes

Transphobia; queerphobia; discussion of suicide attempt; nudity (very brief and in a context where makes sense)

Creator Identities:

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Genderqueer, Trans, Two Spirit |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Heartstopper

Alice Oseman

Cover Image

Charlie Spring is an anxious, nerdy teen trying to move on after being bullied for being gay; Nick Nelson is a well-liked rugby player. When homeroom brings them together, they start forging a friendship..and something more.

Appeals to

With its emphasis on character development and relationships, plus charming art, Heartstopper is perfect for fans of slow-burn romances and loving queer stories. The story has so many good points--a loving queer relationship with good communication and strong friendships to name a few! In addition to its following from its webcomic origins, the series now has a Netflix adaptation; therefore, having it on the shelves is essential!

Content Notes

Homophobia; biphobia; disordered eating; bullying; discussion of mental illness and self-harm

Creator Identities:

Asexual |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual, Gay |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Kiss Number Eight

Colleen AF Venable

Ellen T Crenshaw

Cover Image

Amanda has kissed a lot of frogs trying to find her prince, but her eighth kiss shows her that she might be interested in princes and princesses, but it also may break her friend group apart. On top of dealing with keeping her interest in girls a secret, she receives a mysterious letter in the mail promising her an inheritance from her paternal grandfather who she’s never met. As Amanda tries to discover more about this relative, she discovers that she may not be the only person in her family that her parents need to learn to accept.

Appeals to

Anyone who is looking for a sign that it indeed does get better. Young people who have people in their lives (family, friends, school) who are not accepting of their identity at first will feel seen by this story and given hope that they will find their people someday.

Content Notes

Transphobia and homophobia

Creator Identities:

Genderqueer |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Look on the Bright Side

Karen Schneemann

Lily Williams

Cover Image

The highly anticipated sequel to Eisner-nominated "Go With the Flow Lily", Look on the Bright Side focuses on the quad of best friends from the first graphic novel, figuring out who they are and if they are brave enough to live as their true selves. The course of true love (and junior year) never runs smoothly, especially if you are crushing on your best friend, who may or may not be into girls.

Appeals to

Fans of the first volume will not be disappointed by this heartfelt follow-up, but even readers new to Schneemann and Williams's work who are fans of slice-of-life stories centered around navigating first love will find something to love here.

Creator Identities:

Chronic Illness |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed East Asian, Black |

Lesbian, Queer |

Chronic Illness |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Love Me For Who I Am

Kata Konayama

Cover Image

Though they haven't figured out some aspects of their identity, Mogumo is at least certain that they aren't a boy or a girl, but somewhere in between, and that they also like to look cute. At first, they worry so much about how they're perceived that they avoid their fellow students, but Tetsu suggests they try working at a cafe his sister runs, all staffed by people along the gender spectrum. With time Mogumo gains confidence and starts opening up, even learning how to talk to their family about their identity.

Appeals to

The way this series highlights some of the harder and darker parts of working through an identity would make it a solid choice for readers that enjoyed Our Dreams At Dusk and Boys Run the Riot, or even nonfiction titles like Until I Love Myself and At 30 I Realized I Had No Gender. It highlights various experiences of gender and how that can look at different ages or in different relationships, even if those looks are brief.

Content Notes

Verbal abuse by family members, self harm, threats of self harm.

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Japanese |

Queer |

Nonbinary |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Mooncakes

Suzanne Walker

Wendy Xu

Cover Image

Nova Huang runs into her childhood crush, Tam, when investigating paranormal activity in her quaint New England town. The catch? Tam is a werewolf and unsavory forces are after their powers. This teenage witch will do everything in her power to protect Tam so that they can figure out if this old flame is worth rekindling.

Appeals to

Readers who love a friends-to-lovers story like The Prince and the Dressmaker will love this cozy occult love story.

Creator Identities:

Chinese-American |

Queer |

Genderqueer |

Hearing loss |

Main Character Identities:

Chinese-American |

Bisexual, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer |

Hearing loss |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Other Ever Afters:

Melanie Gillman

Cover Image

A young woman enlists the help of a trickster to escape an unwanted marriage. A princess tries to marry a commoner only to be confronted with her privilege. When a woman is declared bitter, she becomes the giantess’ latest victim. With gorgeous colored pencil illustrations, Melanie Gillman tells these stories and more in this collection of queer fairy tales.

Appeals to

This collection was one of my favorite reads the year it came out; the stories explore themes of belonging and injustice while still providing some comfort even in the darker tales. If you like queer, feminist fairy tales or are seeking a comfort read, pick up Other Ever Afters.

Creator Identities:

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

She Loves to Cook and She Loves to Eat

Sakaomi Yuzaki

Cover Image

Nomoto loves cooking, especially cute dishes she can post on social media, but isn't much of an eater. Kasuga, her next next-door neighbor, has a big appetite but not much interest in cooking. So naturally, Nomoto starts dropping off food for Kasuga, then coming over to cook with her, then going grocery shopping together, and even spending holidays together. Nomoto is slowly realizing that maybe her feelings for Kasuga are more than friendship, and exactly what she was looking for.

Appeals to

This series is ideal for readers that enjoy slower-paced manga featuring queer romance focused on the quiet moments of daily life, like Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon, The Moon On a Rainy Night, and I'm Kinda Chubby and I'm Your Hero. The relationships feel genuine and don't get too heavy-handed with the usual tropes that can happen in queer manga, and the series is short so far at four volumes, making it great for readers who prefer not to commit to a long series.

Content Notes

Some portrayal of toxic family relationships, heteronormative expectations in work and family, and discussion of homophobia.

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Japanese |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Snapdragon

Kat Leyh

Cover Image

After Snap finds some orphaned possums, she befriends Jacks, a mysterious elderly individual. As Jacks teaches her the finer points of animal anatomy, Snap discovers that she has a bit of her own magic. Snapdragon is a sweet and funny story of self-discovery and the rekindling of an old romance.

Appeals to

Fans of Raina Telgemeier's work and Molly Ostertag’s Witch Boy series; readers looking for a story about found family and self-discovery. Also great for readers who like a little spooky magic in their stories.

Content Notes

Implication of a bad boyfriend, but very little shown on the page.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Multiracial |

Lesbian, Queer |

Trans |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Super Late Bloomer

Julia Kaye

Cover Image

In "Super Late Bloomer" and her follow-up "My Life in Transition" Julia Kaye's diary-style webcomics chronicling the ups and downs of her gender transition are collected into physical graphic novels. She shares her struggles and her newfound joys with honesty and humor, 3 panels at a time.

Appeals to

Anyone who follows the hourly comic hashtag every February 1st to see what their favorite artists' lives are like will enjoy Kaye's intimate diary-style comics.

Content Notes

brief mentions of transphobic family, internalized transphobia

Creator Identities:

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Trans |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Ostertag

Cover Image

When 15-year-old Morgan is saved from nearly drowning by the mysterious Keltie, who seems to be more at home in the water than on land, her plan to keep her head down and wait to live as her authentic self once she leaves for college starts to fall apart. As both girls become closer they learn that neither of them can keep their secrets hidden forever.

Appeals to

Readers who have outgrown Ostertag's Witch Boy series will be excited to check out her sapphic take on the selkie myth.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Korean-American |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Deya Muniz

Cover Image

Lady Camembert does not want to marry a man, but she can’t inherit from her father without a husband. After her father’s death, Cam moves to the capital, where she starts a new life as Count Camembert and meets Princess Brie. Cam bonds with Brie and her friends over their shared interest in fashion, and she and Brie quickly develop crushes. However, Cam’s secret and social rules keep getting in the way. Can Brie and Cam get their happy ending?

Appeals to

With delightful illustrations and a story with a hearty dash of chaotic comedy, The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich should appeal to readers looking for a fun romantic comedy.

Creator Identities:

Brazilian |

Main Character Identities:

Lesbian |

Gender Nonconforming |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Tea Dragon Society

K. O'Neill

Cover Image

When Greta rescues a tiny dragon, she meets the dragon’s owner, Hesekiel, who offers to teach her about tea dragons. As Greta learns more about the dragons’ care through spending time with Hesekiel, his partner Erik, and her new friend Minette, Greta reflects on what the slower crafts mean for their lives.

Appeals to

The concept of the tea dragons--dragons that grow leaves that retain memories--is just delightful, and O’Neill delivers a gentle story that contemplates big questions and coming-of-age themes. The artwork is gorgeous, capturing the adorable tea dragons just as well as the other characters and setting. The Tea Dragon Society is perfect for cozy fantasy fans and Miyazaki lovers of all ages. For the readers who want more, never fear: there are sequels and they are just as sweet and thoughtful!

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Gay |

Wheelchair User |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe