Okay, so we might be on the verge of the end of the world, but for those of us who aren’t plagued by the constant feeling of dread that seems omnipresent, especially if you aren’t sure your job will actually exist with shutdowns of related businesses, you might find yourself with free time. Admittedly you might find yourself with free time even if you don’t want to have free time and in that case you may need a distraction. As I ponder what my life might be in the next coming weeks, months I thought I would share some comics that can help you get through the down time that include queer female leads.
Now I know with funds being tight for many people right now that trying to get comic could be an issue, but there are a variety of legal and free sources for reading comics and books that you can use. I often read things on Hoopla, a library linked site that lets you check out comics, books, movies, etc. as long as you have a valid library card. This first comic I am recommending I actually read completely through their app and it was super easy to do. The Avant-Guards focuses on Charlie, Liv, and the quirky basketball team that is trying to gain ground at the Georgia O’Keefe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics. Charlie is a recent transfer and while readers learn she has played basketball in the past she is reluctant to return to the court. With Liv, the team captain and very dedicated promoting of the team, trying her best to woo Charlie, totally for the team and not just because she is crushing on the new person at school. Beyond this pairing, which over the course of two collected graphic novels does come to some fruition, there are also some casual queer elements. Liv’s ex, Nicole, is never officially presented as a trans female character, but there are secret trans pride flags in her room. In what I read one acted as a curtain and in a preview of a new issue a trans pride flag is visible behind her bed. The core characters are also diverse and showcase not only non-white main characters, but also diverse body types and personalities. The two volumes I read were an absolute delight and I will definitely read more of this series by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes in the future.
The next fun read that will definitely keep you in high spirits during these dark times, which one of the main characters you’ll meet would probably relish, is Giant Days. John Allison’s series with art from Max Sarin and Lissa Treiman, follows Esther de Groot, Susan Ptolemy, and Daisy Wooton as they make their way through university. These women are all very different and while Esther is probably my favorite, Daisy is the reason this comic makes this collection. Now Esther is totally my aesthetic, Victorian clothing for no reason, loud music, super pale and gothy, but bright as sunshine Daisy is a character who goes on her own journey to understand who she is. This coming to realize she is interested in women journey does not get presented immediately, but when it does become part of her plot we see her struggling with a first girlfriend, trying to navigate coming out to her grandmother, and also falling for someone else after a break up. Daisy always wants to be prepared and in control, but much of this journey is beyond her planning and this leads to some hard times. She though does have a great friend group that supports her no matter what, though at one point Esther and Susan do completely loathe her loud and messy girlfriend who casually moves in. Giant Days is one of my favorite comics and one that I try very hard to keep up with.
While these first two suggestions are more all ages, this next suggestion is definitely a mature read and has also appeared on The Nerdy Girl Express before. Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic is a BDSM rom-com romp, which is a description I would totally not expect to work. This began as a web comic and has evolved into graphic novels, which you can definitely get online. I’ve ordered a few of them through Amazon and I believe the author also sells copies through his personal online shop. The main romance in the series is between Ally and Lisa, who meet online and ultimately decide to begin an in person relationship. Since I have already written in detail about this series, here is a link to my full article that gives a better idea of the series. The main romance of this is female/female and their is another spin-off element titled Mercy that includes a bisexual woman should you delve into the universe of Sunstone more fully.
The next one ties in a bit to Sunstone and sort of flexes the queer content element of this list. Sejic recently released a new comic focused on Harley Quinn through DC Black Label. This series titled Harleen focused on Harley as she worked to try and understand the well known Batman villains in Arkham Asylum. We watch her falling for The Joker, who at one point she begins calling Mr. Jay, against her better judgement and trying to understand her own motives as she feels herself being pulled closer to him during their sessions. While this specific story is not focused on Harley in a female/female relationship, her character is canonically interested in women and I have often referred to her as bisexual. Sejic teases a connection between Harley and Poison Ivy during their sessions and part of the bonus content shows a scene that he drafted outside of this specific comic shows Ivy helping Harley prepare herself to take down The Joker. Sejic has shown images of Ivy online and I am hoping to see a comic focused on the green lady, hopefully with some hints at a Harley and Ivy romance.
Going off of Harleen I have also read the first issue of Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity and in that Harley has a girlfriend early on in her storyline and the plot itself was really interesting I just couldn’t keep up with it with no local comic book store to order from. I would also say if you are delving into Harley books you should check out anything with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. They have done some great books and if you liked the Birds of Prey movie they had some nods to their work in the comic. If you are delving into DC books now would be a great time to check out Batwoman, especially if you have any interest in the CW show. Alice doesn’t play as big a role in all of the comics, but Kate Kane is a fantastic character and outside of her books you can also find her in Detective Comics for a while. If you have your own suggestions for comics to check out please feel free to leave them in the comments below!