Silicon Valley Pride and LGBTQ+ Comics

banner for silicon valley pride, says "august 25-26. save the date"

Happy Pride!

While June is usually LGBTQ+ Pride month, San Jose's own Silicon Valley Pride will be August 25-26, 2018! San Jose Public Library will be marching with the parade on Sunday, August 26 at 10:00 AM. Additionally, SJPL will be hosting it's final summer Drag Queen Story Time at King Library on Saturday, September 15 at 11:00 AM.

And to celebrate, I've put together a list of comics with LGBTQ+ characters and themes! Note, I will be using the term "queer" throughout this post as an umbrella term for non-heterosexual.

a group of people holding a banner that says "together in pride, san jose's first lesbian\gay pride parade"
San Jose's first lesbian and gay pride parade in 1974, image from SJSU Special Collections and Archives.

Comics for Children

cover of rave pirate princess, five pirate women standing confidently

Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess

A spin off of the amazing series, Princeless, Raven is a skilled pirate captain whose father intended to leave her with his fleet of ships and crew. But after her father died, her brothers had her locked up and stole or burned everything dear to her. Now set on revenge, Raven gathers her own all female pirate crew and takes the seas by storm. This series is centered around women of diverse backgrounds, skills, and body types, and features several cute queer romances (and love triangles) aboard the ship.

cover of drama, three children walking single file, there is a heart above the middle one as she looks at the boy in front of her

Drama

Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. One of the central characters comes out to Callie and other surprises are revealed along the way.

cover of space battle lunchtime, a woman chef with a tray of cookies is surrounded by a variety of aliens

Space Battle Lunchtime

Peony, a talented Earthling baker, is beamed up to space to compete in Space Battle Lunchtime, an intergalactic cooking contest broadcast all over the universe. In spite of fierce competition, Peony finds joy in concocting new dishes out of unfamiliar ingredients like Mars Goop and Moon Butter, and she discovers the importance of friendship over feuds. This series features colorful illustrations and a central queer romance.

cover of tea dragon society, two people with horns on their head on a picnic blanket tending to a dragon

The Tea Dragon Society

This beloved and charming all-ages book follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. Greta becomes fascinated with the enchanting dragons and their caretakers, and begins to appreciate how traditional crafts can create their own kind of magic by enriching lives, including hers. This book is wonderfully inclusive, and depicts a distinct and expressive cast of LGBTQ+ characters and people of color.

Comics for Teens

cover of lumberjanes, five girls at camp stand outside a red cabin

Lumberjanes

Best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley spend a fun summer at Lumberjane scout camp where they encounter yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons while solving a mystery that holds the fate of the world in the balance. This series features different gender expressions, trans characters, gay parents, and adorable queer romances.

cover of giant days, a girl in a red hoodie sits on a packed suitcase while texting on her phone

Giant Days

This series chronicles Esther, Susan, and Daisy's friendship while they attend university. This hilarious collection features the trials and tribulations of college while being away from home for the first time. One of the characters comes out later on in the series and dating hilarity ensues.

cover of goldie vance, 1950s style, a black girl is holding a magnifying glass

Goldie Vance

16-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery utilizing her smarts, random skills, and connections with the hotel staff and various folks in town. Goldie also has a crush on one of older girls in town.

cover of nimona, a girl with dragon wings stands in front of two knights

Nimona

Lord Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, and his sidekick, Nimona, an impulsive young shapeshifter, must prove to the kingdom that Sir Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. This stand alone graphic novel is hilarious, adorable, and full of heart, and several of the characters are queer.

cover of moonstruck, two women holding hands while looking at each other in a coffee shop

Moonstruck

Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but chaos ensues when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend. Now it's up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it's too late.

cover of bingo love, two older black women holding hands, there are also scenes of them roller skating and kissing on a park bench

Bingo Love

When Hazel and Mari met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

cover of the prince and the dressmaker, a girl and prince stand in front of each other, the girl is measuring the prince

The Prince and the Dressmaker

While Prince Sebastian's parents look for a bride 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?

Comics for Adults

cover of love is love, a woman holding a rainbow flag leads a parade of comic book characters

Love Is Love

The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in Orlando two years ago. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics - - mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today's world.

cover of batwoman, a woman in red and black braces herself, a shadowy skull floats below

Batwoman

After being kicked out of the armed forces due to Don't Ask Don't Tell, Kate Kane uses her special training and her family's fortune to tackle crime and supernatural happenings throughout Gotham. All while keeping her identity a secret from her girlfriend, Commissioner Maggie Sawyer. You can also find Batwoman in the fun Bombshells series, which has several queer romances. Additionally, it was recently announced that Batwoman will be getting her own TV series on the CW, played by queer actress Ruby Rose, and will be making her first appearance in the Arrow/Flash/Supergirl crossover event this December.

cover of iceman, a man made of ice shoots out ice, in the ice are pictures of x-men villains like magneto, juggernaut and mystque

Iceman

The X-Men series have had a firm place in the hearts of the LGBTQ+ readers for decades. Underrepresented groups, including the LGBTQ+ community racial minorities, saw themselves reflected in the mutants who didn't choose their mutations but were born that way. It's also not hard to find similarities between the social and political hostility towards these fictional and real life groups as they fight for acceptance. A few years ago, Marvel had one of it's oldest member's of the X-Men come out as a gay man. Now, Bobby Drake, or Iceman, has his own series!

cover of strangers in paradise, a woman with a heart tattoo on her arm is in handcuffs in front of a city skyline

Strangers in Paradise

Katchoo is smart, independent and very much in love with her best friend, Francine. Then Katchoo meets David, a gentle but persistent young man who is determined to win Katchoo's heart. The resulting love triangle is a touching comedy of romantic errors until Katchoo's former employer comes looking for her and $850,000 in missing mob money. First penned in 1993, this classic series is both hilarious, touching, and suspenseful and thrilling. With beautiful art by Terry Moore, and this is one of my favorite series.

cover of hellblazer, a man in a trench coat has his cigarette lit by a flaming hand

Hellblazer

John Constantine is a streetwise magician and occult detective who does morally questionable things, arguably for the greater good. He is also a bisexual man who smokes a lot. His series was the longest-running and one of the most successful titles of DC's Vertigo imprint, had a spin-off TV show Constantine, and is now a series regular in Legends of Tomorrow.

cover of the wicked and the divine, a white feather on fire that looks like gold

The Wicked + The Divine

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. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. A contemporary fantasy full of mystery, ethereal concert experiences, and sassy social media updates. Many of the gods are queer and create more of a love pentagram than a love triangle.

cover of wuvable oaf, a muscular bearded man is surrounded and covered in cute kittens

Wuvable Oaf

Oaf is a large, hirsute, scary-looking ex-wrestler who lives in San Francisco with his adorable kitties and listens to a lot of Morrissey. The book follows Oaf ’s search for love in the big city, especially his pursuit of Eiffel, the lead singer of a black metal/queercore/ progressive disco grindcore band. A romantic comedy at its core, Wuvable Oaf recalls elements of comics as diverse as Scott Pilgrim, Love and Rockets, and Archie, set against the background of San Francisco’s queer community and music scene.

cover of my lesbian experience with loneliness, a woman awkwardly sits naked in bed as she looks at another woman

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

An honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.

cover of queer a graphic history, someone running in a suit holing an umbrella, where their foot touches the ground, rainbow arrows shoot out

Queer: A Graphic History

Characters from the worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped ‘queer theory’. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender, and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged. Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’, such as Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum between heterosexuality and homosexuality, the play Wicked, which reinterprets characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.

What Are Your Favorites?

I had to scale my list back a bit for this post, but do you have any favorites I missed that you would like to add? Will you be at Silicon Valley Pride this weekend? Have you attended any of our Drag Queen Story Times or any other Silicon Valley Pride events? Let us know in the comments below, and have a happy Pride weekend!

Comments

I enjoy seeing LGBTQ as normal heroes. It is difficult when you don't look "gay" and need to come out to anyone new in your life. I am happily married to the butch of heart and we have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. OK I had them and she joined the family later. But she is Papa Bear to all of them and I couldn't love her more for it. Having books to help kids understand what it means to love a same-sex person is great! Thank for uncovering these titles for us! Cynthia Summers

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