Your Brief And Wondrous Guide To Contemporary Queer Comics

03/25/2015 09:32 am ET | Updated Mar 26, 2015


Some like girls. Some like boys. Some are into sci-fi. Others prefer comedy. All are very into comics.

The following artists and creatives identify as queer, among other labels, like, for example, comic, illustrator, storyteller and writer. They defy rigid categorization in both life and work, weaving wonderfully unique and sex-positive tales about everything from college parties and intergalactic adventures to a criminal potato. If the following artists show us anything, it's that there's no one way to be queer. And why would you want to, when each individual perspective looks oh-so beautiful?

Behold, 18 queer comic artists you should know right here, right now.

"My work often centers around the supernatural and the world of myth, two interests of mine I've had since a young age. As a queer artist, who tells stories about queer characters, there is a tendency to want to take back control of how queerness is portrayed and what it is associated with. Queerness is often related in the mainstream of comics as being the other, or even at times, something monstrous or shameful. As you grow up, it's easy to internalize this negative and shallow image of yourself given to you by media.

"I think its important to explore those themes and subvert them. Portraying queer characters in a positive light, in many different shapes and forms, is incredibly important to me. It's also important to push those same characters into the types of stories they haven't had a chance to be a part of before, without being a punchline."


"During the time I’ve spent working with comics as a medium I have come to feel that narratives are capable of bridging gaps in societal narratives in a way that is subtle, significant and effective as a means for subverting established norms and creating cultural paradigm shifts. Stories show us the possible in a way that is neither divisive nor argumentative. When they are read they have the potential to transmit these possibilities. In them are the seeds of the future.

"I believe that transforming the way in which a story is told about a given group or thing -- done correctly -- changes the way in which a culture views that group or thing over time. If stories do not change, the world does not change."


"My work stems from my identity as a trans/queer individual, and my drive to create the kind of queer-focused work I so desperately desired to see when I was a kid: stories about queer people with diverse genders and orientations leading vibrant lives full of magic and adventure and above all, overwhelming acceptance, love, and support.

"I have a keen interest in fables and folklore, and love to incorporate elements from my life growing up on the edge of the ocean on the West Coast of Canada into the stories I tell and the comics I make. More than anything, I always want to show how important I believe queer stories are. I genuinely feel that our voices are strongest when we speak together, and that is what inspires me to continue to coordinate and collaborate with like-minded queer creators to make bigger and better projects full of incredible, unquestionably queer content."


"Comics are my way of interacting with and understanding the world around me. I use them as catharsis to process my own struggles and as a reminder to laugh at the small moments in day-to-day life. I started writing comics as a teenager to create the type of stories and romances that I felt were more in-line with my personal experiences (or the experiences I wanted to have). As I've grown older the types of stories I tell have expanded and I find myself doing more collaborative work. But, regardless of the project, if people can read my work and find it relatable, moving, and helpful to them then that means I've done my job."


"As a child, I sought out representation of what I felt in books and the media around me, and rarely found it. As an adult, I focus on creating it. The majority of my comic work includes queer characters, and I love to write them. All of these samples are from comics I have drawn for Filthy Figments, a subscription site for woman-made erotic comics.

"My webcomic can be found here. It follows a generation of children in a country with a strict one-child policy, born as authorized 'replacements' after a disaster killed their siblings. The comic launched last month, and will feature a number of queer characters as well."


"For me, creating comics that highlight the people who have been left on the sidelines of mainstream media is imperative. When someone picks up one of my books, I want them to be able to see themselves as the heroes and adventurers in the worlds I create, instead of being relegated to the role of 'sidekick', 'comic relief', or 'love interest'."


"I couldn't find the stories I wanted to read, so I took up writing."

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"My favorite characters in fiction are the ones who are strangers, unconcerned with how society tells them they should, or should not belong. They've always resonated strongly with my personal experience as a gay, binational kid, and ultimately man.

"My own stories tend to follow insecure, or introspective outsiders, placed in a world where dangers and limitations are imposed on them by location or circumstance. It's ultimately who they are, and what they can do that saves them (or not!) in the end."


"Growing up with media that didn't always include me left me hungry to make sure that the worlds I create are inclusive to all. This also drives me to continue working with diverse artists who I have found feel the exact same way."


Yvonne, drawn by Genue Revuelta created by Taneka Stotts for their comic Love and Sprockets


Lucos and Soju, drawn by Genue Revuleta created by Taneka Stotts for their comic Love and Sprockets


Rhadi in Full Circle - drawn by Christianne Goudreau colored by Genue Revuelta and written by Taneka Stotts for the webcomic Full Circle.

"I love working in science fiction because readers and writers are encouraged to think about how new ideas and technology might affect society over time, not to mention the individuals in it. That can be anything from challenging conventions about gender and love to imagining a world where death is starting to become optional.

" I wanted to hop back and forth across 20 years of these characters' lives and study how their actions changed who their are and what their world is like. Telling that story through the medium of comics gives me a lot of freedom to depict something as complex as a future cityscape and something as subdued as the meaningful glances these characters share with each other."


"I gravitated towards comics and storyboarding because of my desire to create strong, compelling narratives. My work is unabashedly influenced and inspired by the things I adored as a child, and still do, in fact, not the least of which being anime and Saturday morning cartoons."


"I create for myself first and foremost. I make what I always wanted to read, but never found. It turns out, a lot of other people were looking for the same thing. There's a lot more to being queer than just liking the same gender. We're unique. We're interesting. I like girls, but I also like monsters and surreal adventures and goofy comedy and conspiracy theories."


"I started drawing porn comics because I wanted to avoid taking myself too seriously. The trouble is, most porn is very serious and intense and kind of horrifying, and it adheres with fanatical rigidity to a set of stereotypes, gender roles, and proven money-making cliches.

"So with Curvy, I tried to make the kind of porn you wouldn’t be embarrassed about if your mom found it. A smut comic where the characters appear to be having fun, and readers can identify with them, not just ogle them. Although ogling is encouraged!"


"I’ve been seriously drawing and publishing comics the past 25 years. I don’t think I could ever run out of things to say through the medium. My identity as a cartoonist is just as important (or maybe even more so) than my identity as a queer person. My comics are generally not about being gay –- I prefer to integrate queer issues into larger narratives."


"My main motivation for drawing is to get my interior life on to the page. I've built worlds and lifetimes for many characters in my head, but if no one else sees them, they'll die with me. I have two major audiences. I do all ages humor comics, and I do LGBT comics of various kinds. It's very hard to sell to both groups at one table at a convention. I may try to do an all ages LGBT book to bridge that gap a little."


"Creating comics has been my tool for making sense of the world around me, to explore thoughts and feelings that aren't really tangible. I like to paint in watercolors to capture a raw personal touch, and let the character's dreams and fantasies take shape with colors and symbols. Fox Head Stew explores the awestruck fumbling that occurs when you discover yourself in college, whether you're exploring music, alcohol or sexuality, it's all a big personal mess. It's all pretty funny, but also earnest as hell."


"In creating the syndicated strip, Glen Hanson and I sought to depict urban gay life in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC circa the late 1990s to mid-2000s. As the stories evolved over the years and our narratives grew more complex, we set out to display and then shatter stereotypes, showing that all people -- gay and straight -- are often not whom they first appear to be. Our goal, ultimately, was to make readers laugh and also think, and hopefully to see their own lives reflected in the adventures of our three Chelsea roommates."


"The comics I wrote when I started, especially about sexuality and mental health, were my way of working through issues I had a hard time talking about. Now, my focus has shifted slightly -- it's more about including representation in everything I do that I would've wanted when I was younger.

"I introduced a queer relationship into Bravest Warriors, a book primarily aimed at kids and teens based off a cartoon. I'm currently writing a romance comic between two women in high school for Fresh Romance, an anthology currently being kickstarted. I'm terribly biased towards writing bisexual and queer women and men who find them empowering. It's my niche, I suppose. I'm happy in it."


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