Lots of people don’t know where to start when it comes to graphic novels, but sometimes the only way to start is to dive right in! When it comes to LGBT+ content, graphic novels have shown themselves as strong contenders for excellent content. So for Pride month, I thought I’d pull together a list of LGBT+ graphic novels that I’ve read and share them with you!
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Gay & Bisexual characters
Heartstopper is and always will be one of my favourite stories, and I’ve gone on about it enough on this blog to last a lifetime. Heartstopper is the story of Charlie and Nick, who slowly start to fall in love after becoming close friends. It is a story of understanding sexuality and learning to accept yourself, as well as opening up a dialogue of coming out to others. If you want a delightfully charming love story this summer, Heartstopper is the one!
Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Gancheau
You know how when you watch a Studio Ghibli film and want to eat every single food made on screen? I felt exactly the same with Bloom. Utterly gorgeous illustrations pair nicely with a great story about being true to yourself while also showing respect and care to those around you. The characters in Bloom learn lessons throughout this whole book, and it really shows how much they’ve learned at the end.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The Prince and the Dressmaker is a joyous book, full of pride, and is utterly perfect to read during the summer. A young dressmaker is hired by the mysterious Lady Crystallia, who is actually the alter ego of Prince Sebastian, who feels far more comfortable in elegant gowns. The entire book shows the theme of acceptance, friendship and being true to the person you know you are, but also doing this at your own pace without letting others to rush you.
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Spinning is more of a memoir of sorts from author Tillie Walden. It tells the story of how she figured out she was a lesbian while falling for a friend, but also tells of her rigorous skating regime that dominates most of her life. It is a beautiful story and heart-wrenching during some scenes. However, this is quite a sad read at parts and does deal with mentions of abuse so please keep that in mind before reading.
Fence by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad
Gay characters, genderfluid character
Fence is the perfect graphic novel for fans of characters with deep rooted rivalries. Nicholas is the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champ, and now is a new student to private school Kings Row, famed for its talented fencing students. There’s a fair few LGBT+ characters in this, including genderfluid character Bobby.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Continuing with more sports themed graphic novels, Check, Please! is all about ice hockey! Eric ‘Bitty’ Bittle is a brand new student at Samwell University, and has fallen head over heels for Jack, the teams very handsome captain. Check, Please! is quite a fun read and has swarms of online fans, so if you like sports romances, wonderful characters, and also cooking, this one is for you!
Dead Endia by Hamish Steele
Trans boy character, gay characters
Dead Endia is absolutely perfect for fans of haunted houses, talking dogs and even the odd demonic ritual. Barney needs a job desperately, and thankfully Pollywood is hiring – at Dead End, the haunted house. This is a quirky read, and touches on subjects like correct pronouns use. The art style is super bright and colourful too!
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
Lesbian characters, trans girl character
Lumberjanes is an excellent series, and is one that’s also great for younger readers too! Lumberjanes focuses on five new friends at summer camp who embark on mysterious quests and find that the camp isn’t so normal as they expect. There is an utterly adorable blossoming relationship between two of the girls, and one of the characters comes out as trans later on in the series. One of the characters even has two dads, so it’s safe to say that this series is a beautiful mix of everything LGBT+!
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Gay characters, trans girl character
While the main romance of Saga is straight, the graphic novel series doesn’t shy away from having LGBT+ characters in the supporting cast. We also don’t know of Hazel’s sexuality, the girl who is retelling the story of her parents lives to us, the reader. One of the major characters further along in the series has a discussion with Hazel about her transition, and teaches her about respect.
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
Bisexual characters, gay characters, lesbian characters, nonbinary characters, trans characters
The Wicked + The Divine will always have a special place in my heart, despite losing its way quite a bit storytelling wise in the later volumes. However, it has always done diversity excellently. Every 90 years, twelve gods return as young people, but die after two. We follow the stories of these gods, many of them who fall onto the LGBT+ spectrum in some way, and it almost becomes a celebration of these gods lives living however they want to be as freely as possible. Here is a really interesting article discussing more on this topic! Be warned for spoilers though!
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch
This is one of my favourite graphic novels! If you love Dungeons & Dragons, witchcraft, and badass heroines saving the world from impending doom, then you definitely need to pick up Rat Queens! One of the main characters is pictured often with her girlfriend throughout the series too. This is an unmissable read!
Goldie Vance by Hope Larson, Brittney Williams & Sarah Stern
I may have only read one volume of Goldie Vance, but my goodness I loved every single second of it. Giving off strong Scooby-Doo vibes, Goldie Vance follows 16 year old Goldie who loves solving mysteries in her dads Florida resort. With gorgeous art and a colour palette to die for, this is such a feel-good story with a little splash of f/f romance on the pages.
Moonstruck by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle
Lesbian characters, nonbinary character
It’s been a while since I read Moonstruck, but I remember falling in love with the beautiful illustrations and the smooth, pastel-like colour palette. Moonstruck is the story of werewolf barista Julie, who starts dating a brand new girl and decides to take her to a magic show as their first date – which goes disastrously! As well as showcasing lesbian characters, Moonstruck has the inclusion of a super fun centaur character Chet, who is nonbinary.
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chang
Paper Girls is perfect if you’re a fan of Stranger Things – seriously, the amount of Stranger Things vibes I got while reading this were strong! Set in 1988, Paper Girls follows four newspaper delivery girls as they stumble upon the most important story in the world. Through time-travel, mystery and drama, their lives are about to be changed forever. This was such an intriguing read, especially including one of the main characters discovering her sexuality through time travel.
Steven Universe by Katy Farina & Melanie Gillman
Lesbian character, nonbinary characters
Steven Universe is one of my favourite cartoon shows, and it’s actually a wonderful resource for teaching and showing children about same sex relationships and gender identities. It’s excellent to see this reflected in the graphic novels too! All of the gems are confirmed to be nonbinary by series creator, Rebecca Sugar, but many present as female. There are also love interests between characters, mainly gems Ruby and Sapphire who, when together, fuse through love and mutual understanding of each other to become Garnet. Here is an interesting article I’ve been reading about Steven Universe and the importance of its nonbinary representation.
Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin & Nina Vakueva
More badass heroines galore in this one! Heavy Vinyl mainly follows the story of Chris, who has started her brand new job in the record store, Vinyl Mayhem. By day, this is your usual record store, but in reality the store is a front for teenage girl vigilante club! Romance is peppered through this story of crime-solving and ass-kicking, and the art style is absolutely stunning!
Love is Love (various authors)
All sexualities and gender identities covered
In response to the horrific murders of many LGBT+ people in Pulse nightclub, artists and comic creators came together to create Love is Love, a wonderful graphic novel anthology, celebrating everything there is about LGBT+. The greatest thing about this graphic novel is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the families, friends, survivors and victims of the shooting, via Equality Florida,
On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Lesbian relationship, nonbinary character
This has got to be one of the biggest graphic novels I have ever read. Clocking in at 544 pages, On A Sunbeam is a story that follows a group of space exploring restoration experts. Deep down, it is a story of lost love and reminiscing, as main character Mia reflects on her previous relationships and how everything went wrong. There is also a nonbinary character named Eliot. On A Sunbeam is told in both flashbacks and present day for the book, but it does take a little while to get sucked into the book completely!
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Lesbian characters, gay characters
This graphic novel deals with the idea of toxic partners, and how they end up affecting people’s entire lives. It deals with a toxic lesbian relationship, and also includes a gay relationship through the supporting characters. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is essentially everything the title says. Freddy likes to believe she’s in love with Laura, but how can that be real love when Laura keeps cheating on her and treating her like dirt? Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is actually quite an important read to show that there can be toxic relationships in LGBT+ partnerships, and that the important thing is to look out for your friends instead of ignoring them for one relationship.
I’ve read all of these graphic novels, but I’m always eager to read and hear about more! If you have a recommendation, especially if it’s LGBT+, let me know in the comments! For some of them, I made sure to research the representation as it has been a while since I read some of the titles. I’ve included a link here for a database containing all graphic novels with LGBT+ representation, which ended up being incredibly helpful for me!