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12 Reasons Why I Love Her Cover
Title: 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: NSFW
Tags: graphic novel vignettes straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

The classic romance from the team behind Lady Killer is back in print with a brand new hardcover edition! Now in a larger size, and featuring excerpts from the original script, this 10-year anniversary edition is perfect for fans of Fresh Romance. Twelve vignettes reveal the story of young couple Gwen and Evan's tumultuous relationship, one small piece at a time. It all adds up to an unforgettable romance rife with drama, humor, and heart.

Love In Panels' Review:

At its simplest, this is the story of a relationship in 12 vignettes. They are presented out of order, which can be confusing during the first read. I haven't designated this "definitely a romance" because the story doesn't follow a traditional romantic arc. I was left feeling a bit heartbroken. The romance and love are certainly there, rendered beautifully, but there's also a lot of heartache and a very realistic look at why this one relationship fell apart.


14 Nights Cover
Title: 14 Nights
Creators: Format: Webcomic EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: R
Tags: gay disabled character
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Buy a Copy

Synopsis from the Creator:

A Russian immigrant, dissatisfied with his life finally meets a man who makes him happy. But when he discovers that his new partner is afraid of sex, he begins to question if a relationship between them is even possible.


A Boy and A Girl Cover
Title: A Boy and A Girl
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Tags: sci-fi graphic novel straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Oni Press

Amazon

Ask your local store!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Travis and Charley have just met. It’s Charley’s last night in town, and Travis can’t let her leave without getting her to go on a date. In a future where real people are rapidly being supplanted by lifelike androids, sometimes one shot is all you get. Intelligence may be artificial, but the emotion is real in a futuristic romance from the writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and the cartoonist behind Between Gears.


Alethia Cover
Title: Alethia
Creators: Format: Webcomic EBook
Color: Color
Romanciness: LGBTQ+ Elements
Tags: sci-fi robots fantasy lesbian
Synopsis from the Creator:

Abandoned by their creators, scattered groups of robots search for purpose in the factory-cities of their desolate world.
Though the robots differ dramatically in function and design, they share essential traits.
Drawing power from the common grid, they never suffer scarcity.
And the concept of violence is absent from their world.
What new ways of being might such creatures create?

Alethia is a science-fiction comic. Each chapter is a complete story with beginning, middle, and end. But each is also part of the larger story.

***

Love in Panels note:

Alethia is available in both English and Chinese.

The creator says there are lesbian romance subplots in a couple of the chapters, so feel free to read descriptions on ComiXology if that's what you're after.


Alex + Ada Cover
Title: Alex + Ada
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: R
Tags: sci-fi straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Image Comics

Amazon:

Collected Deluxe Edition, Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3

Buy it from your local comic shop!

Synopsis from the Creator:

From JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids, but after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences?

Available as 3 volumes, 15 issues, or 1 complete Deluxe Edition.

Love In Panels' Review:

A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):

ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people love it, but some older people prefer the more personal touch of a video call to relatives. Just like today, but advanced so that I'm one of the old people.

The male protagonist, Alex, is somewhat heartbroken, slogging through life in an office job. His well-meaning grandmother decides to send him a lifelike robotic Tanaka corporation companion, Ada. He's immediately put off by the idea, and with good reason. A few years back, there was a robot that achieved sentience and went on a killing spree. It's not the killing spree that frightens Alex - it's the fact that this creature, who must obey his every command, might be sentient, and completely unable to grant consent. The treatment of women is definitely a prominent thread through the entire series.

Alex decides not to return the unit - something he considers to be a moment of weakness. He starts to frequent internet forums where people discuss how to "unlock" the sentience within a Tanaka robot. When Ada wakes up, neither Alex, nor the world, are ready for what happens next.

The first volume is a story of emotional exploration and confrontation of bigotry. Lifelike robots fall into the concept of the "Uncanny Valley," and make some people extremely uncomfortable. They're all tattooed so that they can't be mistaken for a "real" person. The second volume deals with the social strain of someone trying to pretend to be something they're not - Alex and Ada have broken the law by unlocking her sentience, and Ada has a huge struggle ahead of her as an illegal entity. This volume is much more centered on her than on the romance. The final volume is much faster paced than the prior two, and relatively violent (compared to the rest of the series). This should not be mistaken for rushing the ending (as many comics do) - it feels well-planned and is the end of a steady accelerative curve. Their illegal actions have real world consequences, and the ending was definitely not what I expected, but gives a really great perspective.

It's a very delicate romance that blooms between Alex and Ada, as they didn't meet in the best of circumstances. One partner has trouble treating the other as anything but a child; the other has difficulty with the brand new emotions she's capable of. Somehow, with a lot of reliance on their mutual friends, they're able to work through. The ending is satisfying and heartwarming.

The artwork is very straightforward, and simple enough to convert the messages. It's a very sanitized future, which fits in well with so many of the themes. There's a similarity between the sanitization of AI and the meticulous nature of streets, offices, houses. The robots aren't the only AI creatures, and the remaining AI force keeps everything well-groomed, and you can feel it. This also leaves the facial features of many of the characters feeling a little bland, but it's made up for in body language.

Overall, I can definitely recommend this to fans of science fiction, romance, or both!


Alex Priest Cover
Title: Alex Priest
Creators: Format: EBook
Color: Color
Romanciness: LGBTQ+ Elements
Heat: PG13
Tags: fantasy horror paranormal queer vampires lesbian
Where to Buy or Read:

Buy It From ComixCentral

Issue #1 is out now, with Issue #2 looking to Kickstart in Nov 2017

Synopsis from the Creator:

In a world where vampires and demon ilk are very, very real, two agencies work to keep the world safe from the forces of darkness. Demon Eradication And Denial (DEAD LLC) is a corporate entity that charges itself with the training and employment of demon slayers – specialists in combating magical beings. Living Corpses that Bite (LC & B) is a tax exempt public entity that relies on time proven traditions to keep humanity safe from vampires. When hunting evil evolved into blue collar work, the evil had to evolve.

Recent evidence suggests vampires have learned to use magic, meaning they’re more than just a nightly threat. For the first time since their inception, DEAD LLC and LC & B will have to join forces. Which means, for the first time since their bitter break up, Alexandra Priest and Janelle Garcia will have to face one another – or risk an apocalypse. No pressure.


Ares & Aphrodite Cover
Title: Ares & Aphrodite
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: NSFW
Tags: graphic novel straight comedy
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

Will Ares, a successful divorce lawyer, find himself working alongside Gigi Averelle, a wedding planner, when their respective clients — movie producer Evans Beatty and Hollywood starlet Carrie Cartwright — plan to marry. As Beatty's ex-wives come out of the woodwork to cause mayhem, Gigi and Will make a bet — Gigi agrees to go on a date with Will if Evans and Carrie really do go through with the wedding. Should they break up, however, Will must reveal, in a full-page newspaper ad, how many marriages he's ruined. Is Will a fool for love, or is this the start of a beautiful relationship


Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology Cover
Title: Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: LGBTQ+ Elements
Tags: sci-fi fantasy anthology gay lesbian character of color creator of color queer
Where to Buy or Read:

Buy it here!

Synopsis from the Creator:

In both sci-fi and fantasy and comics there is a long history of allegorical and implied queerness—using the trappings of genre to code characters and themes as queer while keeping them superficially straight enough to not make waves, or queering them in ways tied to their general otherness (like gender-flexible shapeshifters or gay aliens from single-sex species). Queer representation is better now than it was in even the recent past, but we want more. We want to see people like us as heroes—slaying dragons, piloting spaceships, getting into trouble, and saving the day—without having to read their queerness from between the lines. We want to see beautifully crafted stories in the mediums and genres we love, that reflect and celebrate our own experiences of gender and sexuality. So we’ve decided to do it ourselves. We’re assembling, crowdfunding, and publishing an anthology of the comics we want to read: science fiction and fantasy exploring and showcasing queer characters, themes, and relationships, from a broad spectrum of world-class creators. Beyond is a black-and-white comic anthology of 18 original science fiction and fantasy comics. The first volume was successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter and completed in 2015, and the second volume: post-apocalypse and urban fantasy edition is taking shape in 2016. -Sfé Monster, Editor

(Volume 2 reached funding today, 5/11/17!)


Bingo Love Cover
Title: Bingo Love
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: PG13
Tags: lesbian second-chance character of color creator of color
Where to Buy or Read:

The copy LiP reviewed is a backer reward from the Bingo Love Kickstarter campaign in Spring 2017. Since then, Image Comics picked up the book for wide distribution and it will be in stores for Valentine's Day 2018!

Buy from:

Amazon

Pre-Order from your local comic shop!

Synopsis from the Creator:

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray 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.

From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & the Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

Love In Panels' Review:

BINGO LOVE is the heartwarming, second-chance, family-centered romance I hoped it would be. It's just under 100 pages, but the story spans over 70 years, from the time the two protagonists (Hazel and Mari) are young teens to their last breaths. It's effortlessly inclusive and tells us just enough about the secondary characters to have me impatiently waiting for the promised digital shorts that will follow.

In addition to a central romance that made me cry three times (it's so sweet! that's so unfair! they're getting the happiness they deserve!), the comic is full of the little gems that I love to find in comics, like repeated panels. One such panel is of the Hazel and Mari's linked pinkies. We see it when they're first friends, when they get together, when they're reunited, when they're older and watching their grandbabies. *swoon* Each time, their hands are slightly different, slightly older. It's a thoughtful touch that strings the narrative together nicely.

St. Onge did a fabulous job with the art, moving the characters and their settings through the decades with subtle and not-so-subtle details. Outfits, furniture, and color palettes change, but so do the characters' physical appearances. They gain wrinkles and freckles. Their hairstyles and colors change. When we see the future? There are technological advances that I won't share due to spoilers. You'll have to read to see them.

Though some of the dialogue is a little on-the-nose, it felt like a realistic depiction of the ways in which queer relationships were (and still are) treated by a lot of people. Centering the narrative on a church bingo game brings the religious message to the fore early on and highlights the ways in which communities have changed as time passes. We see Hazel's children examining their preconceived notions about their mother and her happiness, and it's a beautiful thing.

TL;DR - This comic is exactly what I hoped for when I heard about two grandmothers of color getting a second chance at the love of a lifetime. It's cute and sad and endlessly romantic. I hope it sells like hotcakes.


Blessings Cover
Title: Blessings
Creators: Format: Webcomic
Color: Color
Romanciness: LGBTQ+ Elements
Tags: character of color queer fantasy adventure nonbinary character trans character
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Wynn is struggling to survive when the Immortal Swigne gives Wynn their Blessing. The only explanation Swigne gives is that Wynn now has “Power”.
Wynn meets people Blessed by other Immortals that can help guide them. In searching for knowledge of their new gift Wynn finds love, friendship and a more full sense of self identity. Wynn learns that being Blessed is a gift with a price tag of responsibilities and constant hunger attached, but the pay off is fantastic strength and the resources they’ll need to thrive in the world they live in. As long as Wynn keeps overcoming the challenges their new status brings them. 


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