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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 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.


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.


Blue is the Warmest Color Cover
Title: Blue is the Warmest Color
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: R
Tags: queer lesbian coming of age graphic novel
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Arsenal Pulp Press

Buy it at your local comic shop or bookstore!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

Vividly illustrated and beautifully told, Blue Is the Warmest Color is a brilliant, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel about the elusive, reckless magic of love. It is a lesbian love story that crackles with the energy of youth, rebellion, and desire.

First published in French by Glenat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, Europe's largest.

Love In Panels' Review:

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR was recommended to me by an instructor as a masterwork of sequential art, so when I picked it up, I had high expectations. It's also won several awards and been made into a movie, which is rare for non-cape graphic novels.

It's a lesbian coming-of-age story that starts and ends with pain, but the romance is beautiful and immensely moving. I was reminded of the work queer communities have done to get us to this place of openness. Yes, there's much work to be done, particularly with and for the trans community and for PoC in queer spaces. But to be taken back to the not-so-distant past as we follow Clementine through her journey of self-awareness and self-acceptance in the 90's? Oof. Spoiler: Clem's parents kick her out at age 17 when they find out her best friend is really her lover. I know that still happens today, but maybe a little less frequently? I can't speak to gay culture in France today, but in the US it's improved.

This is one of those stories in which one of the queer protagonists dies, but it's not because she's queer. This isn't a spoiler - the book opens with Emma visiting Clem's estranged parents following the funeral for Clem. Most of the narrative is told as written in Clem's handwritten journal, giving Emma and the reader a look at Clem's emotional journey. I was weeping at the end of the book, but I'm not sorry to have read it. It's not going to give you the feeling of Brokeback Mountain or other stories that mine gay pain for emotional power.

As for the art, Julie Maroh makes interesting and successful choices throughout. The only pop of color in the book is blue. Several pages have no written dialogue, giving facial expressions and action more weight. Maroh gives readers close-ups of Clem's smile after her first positive sexual interaction. We can feel the joy with her, just as we later feel her intense sadness. Emma is best depicted in the opening and closing scenes of the book, after Clem has passed on. Only then is Emma given the freedom to have her own story told, which makes sense considering that the entire middle is from Clem's POV.

TL;DR - this is an excellent book. I'm glad I read it. It's not a traditional romance, since there isn't a Happily Ever After, but considering that the two protagonists have a solid 13 happy years together? I'm willing to bend my definition.


Body Music Cover
Title: Body Music
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: PG13
Tags: vignettes in translation gay lesbian bisexual polyamorous character of color disabled character
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from the Creator:

Julie Maroh’s first book, Blue Is the Warmest Color, was a graphic novel phenomenon; it was a New York Timesbestseller and the controversial film adaptation by French director Abdellatif Kechiche won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Maroh’s latest book, Body Music, marks her return to the kind of soft, warm palette and impressionistic sensibility that made her debut book so sensational.

Set in the languid, European-like neighborhoods of Montreal, Body Music is a beautiful and moving meditation on love and desire as expressed in their many different forms—between women, men, and gender non-conformists alike, all varying in age and race. In twenty separate vignettes, Maroh explores the drama inherent in relationships at different stages: the electricity of initial attraction, the elation of falling in love, the trauma of breaking up, the sweet comfort of a long-standing romance.

Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship will see themselves in these intimate stories tinged with raw emotion. Body Music is an exhilarating and passionate graphic novel about what it means to fall in love, and what it means to be alive.


But I'm a Cat Person Cover
Title: But I'm a Cat Person
Creators: Format: Webcomic
Color: Color
Romanciness: LGBTQ+ Elements
Tags: queer fantasy lesbian
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Synopsis from the Creator:

Two ordinary graduates adopt a puppy…which turns out to be a magical shapeshifting battle monster. Now one of them is involved in a soul-binding ownership contract, rich and powerful people are lurking around looking to challenge them, and they still can’t find any companies that are hiring.

None of this would have happened if they’d gone for a kitten instead.

A webcomic about adventure, politics, magic, and lesbians. Combines the struggle of modern-day underemployed geeky twentysomethings with the ethical dilemmas of ownership and interspecies relations that you normally try not to think about while playing Pokémon.


Chester XYV 5000 Cover
Title: Chester XYV 5000
Creators: Format: Webcomic EBook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: NSFW
Tags: steampunk victorian gay lesbian straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Buy from Top Shelf

Amazon: Book Two

Synopsis from the Creator:

Book One:

1885: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Pricilla is a woman with needs, and her inventor husband Robert is a little too busy with his experiments to keep her fully satisfied. Science to the rescue! With a few gears and springs, the proper appendages, a little lubrication, and a lot of love, Chester 5000 is born! He's the perfect tool for the job... but what if Chester is more than just a machine? What are the consequences of trying to engineer love? A vintage delight for adult readers of all stripes, Jess Fink’s Top Shelf debut reads like a whimsical love-child of steampunk, silent film and erotic comics. CHESTER 5000: Because sometimes love comes with detachable body parts.

Book Two:

1889: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Isabelle is a lonely orphan, reprimanded at every turn by her strict matron. George is an inventor on the cusp of a brilliant discovery. Together they find love, but in an age of violent mechanization and military secrets, can their passion survive? After the smash success of CHESTER 5000’s first volume (the tale of a Victorian woman and her robot lover), beloved webcartoonist Jess Fink returns with another triumphant story of boundary-breaking love, sex, and technology. Discover the origins of your favorite characters along with all-new thrills. All the drama and adventure of the silent film era is here, enlivened with modern whimsy and erotic charm.


Cindersong Cover
Title: Cindersong
Creators: Format: Webcomic
Color: Color
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Tags: gay fantasy queer lesbian
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Synopsis from the Creator:

Cindersong is the tale of a misanthropic healer and her mild-mannered dragon as they search for her girlfriend's murderers. Unfortunately, her quest for bloody vengeance is frustrated by a series of increasingly cordial and well-meaning companions who insist on helping one another, learning new things, and exploring their feelings. Their travels take them through a wild and unexplored world- making friends, dodging foes, and skirting a deadly war.

Cindersong will contain mild language, mild romance, LGBTQ themes, lush food drawings, and genre-typical violence. It is not recommended for readers who are emotionally unprepared for any of those things.


Closer to Home Cover
Title: Closer to Home
Format: Webcomic
Color: Color
Tags: queer lesbian space sci-fi
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Synopsis from the Creator:

The SS Odysseus was a long term, long distance research vessel tasked with finding alien life. Technically, the mission succeeded when, 20ish years into the mission, the astronauts– Kay Chalabi, Latoya Monroe, and Nike Marmaledov– were woken from cryosleep and were immediately kidnapped by aliens.

Before they could be sold off to the highest bidder (or eaten) the crew were rescued by the Argo; a sentient-ish ship with a motley crew.

The crew: Fuzz, the foul mouthed Furby-looking engineer, Tachs, the four-armed HR rep, Dr. Worm, a doctor who is also a worm, Charli, the teaching robot with calculated control over her emotions, Vee, last dude in the universe with a tragic backstory, and finally Captain Samira Doshi; morally ambiguous space pirate captain with a heart of gold and indisputable leader of the ship.

Now they all travel from place to place, trying to solve the mysteries of the universe: why are we here? Is there common ground between species? Why was humanity wiped out? And can you make bonds with people who don’t have your past– just your present?


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