Now that the Kickstarter is over and Vol. 1 has gone to print again, you can pick up Volume 1 and 2 in both print and digital. Buy 'em all here!
Dates is an anthology of queer historical fiction comics, Kickstarted in September and October of 2015 and published by Margins Publishing in February of 2016. When we started work on Dates, we wanted to create a book that showcases queer characters and experiences throughout the ages without being constrained by what a lot of media might have us believe is “historically accurate.” Since so much of historical fiction only features queer characters in the context of tragedy–if they appear at all–we were desperate for more stories. Stories that better represented the diversity of our experiences, in all the times and places that we’ve existed. Dates is a book that doesn’t rewrite history, but instead reframes it so that the spotlight is on people who are all too often ignored.In the first volume of Dates, we had three rules:
Though our length requirement has changed, rules 1 and 3 are as central to Dates as they were when we launched the first book.
(Dates 2 is now through the Kickstarter process, you can see the campaign here.)
Review based on Dates 1:
Cravats. Latin. Rope-walking. Androgyny. Pirates. Girls in gowns running away together. Boys and boys and girls and girls and people who don't identify any particular way... This book is hard to review because not only is it an anthology, the stories within span thousands of years of history, continents, empires, cultures... it's impossible to pin down. This is a good thing if you want short, sweet stories of love and adventure.
As with any anthology, if you're looking for a longer, cohesive narrative, this isn't the book for you. If you want something you can pick up and read for a bit? It's perfect. With 25 tales, the art and plots are as diverse as you'd expect. You won't love every piece, but I think you'd have to be a true curmudgeon not to find a few you like. As for queer rep? Lots of relationships and orientations are represented, and some of the characters are never "defined," which is as it should be.
Short review because the title says it all: Dates is an anthology of queer historical fiction. If that sounds like something you'd like, you should pick this up.
Read about Dates II here!
Marvel continues its bestselling graphic novel adaptations of Jane Austen's classics! Award-winning author Nancy Butler, adapter of Marvel's best-selling adaptations Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, brings you another Jane Austen classic! Joined with the beautiful illustrations of Janet Lee, Butler brings to life Austen's most precocious heroine, Emma Woodhouse. Discover what has made this story so enduring, as its re-told in the Mighty Marvel manner!
Read the Webcomic
"The curtain pulls back, standing in center ring is a man.Brewing inside this man is a darkness we all hold.In the center ring, stands this man.The tent becomes silent, his act has begun."
Updates Every Tuesday/ThursdayMystery/Drama/1920's/LGBT
Warning, this Comic Contains: Violence/Gore/
Harlan is a brilliant scientist who follows his own path and refuses to let anyone tell him how to live just because he's a wheelchair user. He has only one passion: to prove that there is no such thing as the supernatural. He doesn't believe in ghosts any more than he believes in love. One night in an abandoned chateau on the outskirts of Paris just might change his mind . . . if he survives.
Because even though no one's lived in the old Vine estate for over a century, Harlan's not alone there anymore.
Future Echoes: A different kind of long-distance romance.
It's Robin Hood like you've never seen him before, based on scholarly and historical speculation about what's really behind the outlaw's legend.
13th century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert—nicknamed Robin—is reluctant to help, but equally eager to get rid of this perplexing stranger... and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It's Robin Hood like you've never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what's really behind the outlaw's legend.
"A grudge as old as mankind.
Three travelers entwined by fate.
This road, once traveled, can never be undone.
Between damnation and salvation,
you find the truth hidden by god
Nigh Heaven & Hell."
Updates Every: Tuesday/Thursday
Medieval/Fantasy/Comedy/Action/LBGTQ (But not until later in the series)
Warning, this Comic Contains: Gore, Non Sexual Nudity
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...
Tailored from the adored Jane Austen classic, Marvel Comics is proud to present PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Two-time Rita Award-Winner Nancy Butler and fan-favorite Hugo Petras faithfully adapt the whimsical tale of Lizzy Bennet and her loveable-if-eccentric family, as they navigate through tricky British social circles. Will Lizzy's father manage to marry off her five daughters, despite his wife's incessant nagging? And will Lizzy's beautiful sister Jane marry the handsome, wealthy Mr. Bingley, or will his brooding friend Mr. Darcy stand between their happiness?
Award-winning writer Nancy Butler, adapter of Marvel's best-selling adaptation of PRIDE & PREJUDICE, returns to Marvel with another Jane Austen classic: SENSE & SENSIBILITY! Alongside incredible artist Sonny Liew (My Faith in Frankie, Wonderland), Butler brings to life the world of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, two daughters without parents or means, forced to experience hardship, romance, and heartbreak, all in the hopes of achieving love and lasting happiness.
(Also, a little shop with some 18+ extras)
A thousand years ago, the last colour in the world faded to grey. Now, after the great archaeological discovery of Queen Sorizahana’s shade-stocked tomb, it stands ready to enter the world again. Ironwell City will become the birthplace of the burgeoning colour industry, where colour is pumped out of factories, poured into perfumed bottles and sold at exorbitant prices to those wealthy enough to afford the luxury.
At least, that’s the plan according to the Five Financiers of the Sorizahana excavation.
One part Prohibition fantasy, one part Robin Hood, and a whole lot of epic heist, Shaderunners follows a group of ragtag bootleggers and bohemians who band together in an effort to steal colour from the wealthy echelons of Ironwell’s high society. Among them: a philosopher, a puppeteer, a gutter rat, an opera singer, a naval officer and a hopeless romantic. Together, they run The Glass Dial, former watch shop and future night club, where all the house drinks run red.
Speak easy, pal, ‘cause the road to ruin is paved with good intentions.
Beatrice “Bea” Whaley seems to have it all; the seventeen year old high school senior is beautiful, wealthy and the star performer of the drama club. And with her uncle’s connections to Broadway theater, the future looks bright ahead of her. Little does she know that her future might actually be brighter behind her. Bea begins having vivid dreams about a brave and handsome soldier named Alan Warren–a member of an elite group known as Knowlton’s Rangers that served during the Revolutionary War. Prone to keeping her head in the clouds, Bea welcomes her nightly adventures in 1776; filled with danger and romance they give her much to muse about the next day. But it is not long before Beatrice questions whether her dreams are simply dreams or something more. Each night they pick up exactly where the last one ended. And the senses–the smell of musket shots and cannons, the screams of soldiers in agony, and that kiss–are all far more real than any dream she can remember.
THE DREAMER turned 10 years old this Independence Day. That's 10 years of Revolutionary War nerdery and romance! Like pretty much anything having to do with American history, I have complicated feelings, but I think this comic has figured out what it is and does that pretty darn well. It's worth noting that this comic came before Hamilton, but has all the names you'd expect to see dropped, like Hercules Mulligan and Alexander Hamilton.
What It Is:
A time-slip story with a teenage protagonist who quite literally dreams herself into the early days of the Revolutionary War. There's a strong parallel between the literal dreaming that she's doing and the metaphorical dreaming of the rebels as they envision a future for their new country.
Peppered with references to battles, historical people of note, and uniforms/attire that much have been dreadful to illustrate, the story feels well-researched and educational as well as fantastical.
The romance is confusing at times, as Beatrice doesn't remember the life she had in the past, or her relationship with Alan, just that some part of her loves him. She tries to stay interested in present-day Ben, but it's hard for her to do so when she's visiting another man every night in her dreams. Any confusion felt by the reader is likely that of Bea, trying to sort out what she should feel and what she does feel.
What It Isn't:
A treatise on race or on the roles of free and enslaved African-Americans in the war. The heroine's best friend in the modern day story, Yvette, is dark-skinned, as is her present-day love interest, Ben. In 1776, however, we see people of color only in serving roles, and a couple as soldiers. If you're looking for a story that will emphasize the parts played by PoC in the war, this isn't the place to go.
It's also not a story in which the main character is perfect. She kind of sucks a lot of the time, to be frank. She's selfish, treats Ben, her friends, and her family poorly, and generally acts like a self-centered teenager. BUT she also appears to be growing as a person. She's realized how her actions are not only unhelpful, but pretty destructive. If you start the comic and hate her, know that she does, in fact, get better.
What made me keep reading is that this is also not a HELL YEAH AMERICA story. The characters, particularly Alan, are conflicted about the toll the war is taking on the populace. Are stamps really worth this many lives? There's very little emphasis on American exceptionalism, with more focus on liberty and self-governance.
The art is clean and beautifully colored, though some of the numerous white men in uniform eventually blur together (this may be entirely on me). I bought the first volume digitally, which was I believe 5 issues. As of 7/6/17, I couldn't buy the next volumes digital, but all three are available in print or you can do as I did and read the rest as a webcomic.
As for the research, creator Lora Innes has a "Library" tab on her site, where you can find a bunch of the research and supplemental materials she's used while creating this comic.
THE DREAMER is still running, updating 3x a week. If you're curious, A couple of issues worth of reading will give you a good idea of whether you'll like the comic as a whole.