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!)
An alien crashes on Earth with a mighty bang. He's alone on this strange planet, unable to communicate or ask for help. If only there was someone who could help him understand this new planet..!
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Colleen Cavanaugh’s home world is ruled by Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet’s mineral resources. Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Shattered Warrior is a gripping science fiction adventure with a sweeping romance at its heart.
SHATTERED WARRIOR is a solidly YA graphic novel, but with lots of violence and, in Matt's words "an attempted rape scene and a boob." So, trigger warning for sexual assault and violence. (The breast in question is visible after a very subtle and consensual interlude.) All this has led to my R-rating, but I think it's totally appropriate for teens.
On to an actual review! SHATTERED WARRIOR is a modern take on classic themes of invasion, colonization, rebellion, and hope. The book includes a diverse cast, a bisexual hero, and acknowledgment of the ways in which privilege impacts our relationships and our approach to the world. Contains people doing awful things for the greater good, a good guy/bad guy in the Derichet establishment, and a heroine terrified of loving anyone (because they all die).
I picked up the book at least 90% because I love Molly Ostertag's art, so you can be sure that I found the artwork compelling. Because of the dirty, war-torn state of the humans and their environs, entire pages are rendered in shades of brown and gray. It's lovely and evocative. In her first graphic novel, writer Sharon Shinn has taken a step back and allowed panels to speak for themselves, not inserting dialogue or exposition where the setting can tell the story. It's a partnership I'd like to see more of.
Speaking of wanting more... My biggest gripe with the book is that it's one 246-page volume. The story is one of an epic struggle, and (spoiler?) ends with the beginning of a new war. I don't often say this, but I wish this was a duology or a trilogy. There aren't gaping plot holes, but certain plot points feel rushed, as does some emotional development.
Should you read it? If you want sci-fi with romantic elements and some people making hard choices and holding onto their humanity... yep. If not, I guess don't read it. I'm not really a sci-fi fan and I really enjoyed the book, however.
If anyone from First Second reads this - I would like a sequel with Lucy's story, please.
Leslie J. Blair is a simple pig girl, she loves sushi and she is trapped in a job that she hates. She lives with Trish, her best friend. In her world, which is full of anthropomorphic creatures, with a totalitarian government that interferes in the personal lives of its citizens, up to the point of allowing only relationships between individuals of the same race. The transgressors are punished. They are accused of being... unnatural!
Leslie dreams of something different for herself. But these dreams are becoming dangerous, especially because they feature a mysterious wolf. And, when she wakes up, she thinks that she is being watched... And, as if that were not enough, on the day of her twenty-fifth birthday, Leslie receive an email that she would never have wanted to receive.
But she still does not know it's just the beginning...
The hit Italian comic, a fantasy, erotica, romantic suspense series by MIRKA ANDOLFO (Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, DC Comics Bombshells) will bring you in a colorful but terrible world, where personal freedoms are superfluous. Follow Leslie on a breathtaking plot, between thriller and fantasy with a touch of sensuality.