The Flame Con content just keeps coming! I did promise that there would be a lot of articles covering the comics and books I picked up at FlameCon and this week I am focusing on four graphic novels/anthologies. While I picked up a slew of different genre comics this week three of the four are a bit mystical. Let’s delve into more of my comics hoard from Flame Con 2019.
The first collected book is Grease Bats by Archie Bongiovanni. I recently read another comic by Bongiovanni A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, which I found completely by chance at my local library. I loved how that book explained pronouns so easily and beyond having a clear message it also had great illustrations. I had heard Grease Bats was coming out and was so excited to see Bongiovanni on the vendor floor, with the book, at Flame Con. Originally the Grease Bats comics appeared on Autostraddle.com and this collection showcases how great this series is. The representation throughout is exceptional and all of the characters are so diverse. I instantly fell in love with their personalities and found myself binge reading this book. I didn’t want to put it down, though my cat did attempt to distract me from Andy, Scout, and all of the great people in their lives. This book is perfection and anyone within the LGBTQ+ community I think could find themselves in some way in Bongiovanni’s comics.
Now to move into all of the slightly spookier graphic novel reads I picked up. The first of these is a bit of a follow-up from my first trip to Flame Con in 2018, Innsmouth by Megan James. I previously read and reviewed the first issue of this series because when I saw it I scooped it up right away. James’ story takes the ideas of H.P. Lovecraft and brings them into the modern world with better representation and none of the creepy racism and sexism that lurked in Lovecraft’s work. Randolph is a young man living in Innsmouth, which is cult like community that worships the old gods. He finds himself becoming a crucial part of the apocalypse and is trying to find some way to help himself figure out what he needs to do. Along his journey he meets Fatima Alhazred, a descendant of the original writer of the Necronomicon, and the two wind up teaming up with re-animators and a former super focused cult member named Abigail. The story is full of humor and spooky moments and there is not only explicit representation with a male/male couple, but hints at a possible female/female couple going forward. If you like Lovecraft this is a great read.
The next is Immortal Souls, subtitled Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology Series. This collection of stories showcases queer women doing assorted magic, whether it be good or bad. There are sweet stories with romances that crop up between witches and demons and we see women helping women manage their powers. Outside of sweet stories there are also eerie stories involving ghosts and bringing the dead back to life. One that stuck with me involved a woman binding herself to a witch so that she can wait for the return of her lost love, but when she believes she is destroying the man standing between her and the woman she loves she realizes she had made a terrible mistake. This particular story was heartbreaking. This has a little bit of something for everyone with a super diverse creative element bringing to life these stories.
Namesake is the final graphic novel I have for this comic wrap-up and it focuses on other worlds and mysterious destinies. Emma Crewe finds herself in another world after a library fire and when she arrives she learns she is a Namesake. This means she can open portals to other worlds, think Alice from Alice in Wonderland or Wendy from Peter Pan. Emma is surprised to find herself in Oz and part of a story that is over a hundred years in the making. The story takes the world of Oz and gives it an interesting update with the witches changed and the magic of the world connected to a benevolent female power who has loved the Dorothies that have come to this magical land. If you love twisted fairytales and new takes on old classics this is a series you should delve into.
There are more Flame Con comics to come, keep an eye out for more Bi Lines every other week.