A picture can often communicate feelings much better than words. For the longest time, comics and graphic novels existed in a heteronormative world, but in the last decade, stories about people belonging to the queer community have emerged, entering the mainstream. Whether you’re looking for a touching memoir about gender confusion, or a fluffy tale about finding love, this list is it!
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
Image: Oni Press
The memoir is Maia’s autobiography, which uses the pronouns e/em/eir, and eir personal journey in realizing that e is non-binary and asexual. Maia’s style and use of color are simple and beautiful. Eir’s incredibly personal story and charming method of communicating gender-related jargon make this graphic novel a touching yet educational read.
Kari by Amruta Patil
In “Kari”, the protagonist learns to navigate the heteronormative culture of Mumbai on her own. One of the only queer Indian graphic novels, “Kari” is a surreal read. Its mixed-media illustrations are imaginative, strange, and full of feeling. It truly captures the reality of a homosexual woman living in “modern” India.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Image: Jonathan Cape
“Fun Home” is a coming-of-age graphic memoir, following Bechdel’s journey as she grows up, as she looks into the past: exploring her difficult relationship with her father, a closeted gay man, and her own sexual identity. Bechdel artfully combines pictures and words, telling a story that is thoughtfully organized and full of self-analysis. It is a commentary on family bonds and identity, with all the makings of a classic.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki
Image: First Second
17-year-old Frederica “Freddy” Riley navigates friendships and life while nursing a toxic relationship with player-not-player Laura Dean. The art is stunning, with occasional touches of peach and pink. “Laura Dean” is a modern LGBT+ novel, exploring a troubled queer relationship, set in queer-friendly Berkeley. It’s a vital, hopeful coming-of-age queer story.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Image: Hodder Children’s Books
British schoolboys Charlie (facing some backlash from his coming-out at an all-boys school) and warm-hearted rugby player Nick meet, become friends, and eventually, form a mutual romance, in this coming-of-age graphic novel. Amongst tragic queer stories, “Heartstopper” is a squishy, soft comfort-read, with a diverse side-cast, and a healthy dose of healing and figuring out your sexuality.
What do you think about the graphic novels on this list? Do you prefer graphic novels over regular novels? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Cover Image: Hodder Children’s Books
Written by Utshaa Basu