As Pride Month draws to a close for another year, we're taking a look at some more of the fantastic trade paperbacks and graphic novels that feature LGBTQI+ characters, or which are created by people from the LGBTQI+ community.
We've already talked about Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Heathen, Alters, Wonder Woman and Love is Love. But there is so much more out there to discover.
Take Twisted Romance, for example. Billed as "Stories of Love and Lust", this anthology tells romance stories about characters whose sexualities don't quite fit into the usual boxes and whose romantic interactions don't conform to society's general expectations - whether it's a princess who doesn't want the Knight in Shining Armour, or a big name star whose interest in the production assistant isn't what the stereotype would have you imagine.
Four comics stories written by Alex de Campi and illustrated by some top notch artists, complimented by a selection of prose stories by various writers - everyone is at the absolute top of their game - this is romance like you've never seen it before!
If it's romance you're after, you might also want to consider Bingo Love - although make sure you have a hanky ready..
Written by Tee Franklin, with art be Jenn St-Onge and Joy San Bingo Love tells the story of Hazel and Mari, who meet at the church bingo in 1963. Their friendship deepens into love, but it's 1963 and the world refuses to accept to women in love.
Forced apart by family and circumstance they live their lives apart.
But then, many years later they meet again by chance and the great love of their lives is re-kindled in the autumn of their lives. Sweet, serious, life affirming and brimming with heartbreak this is a story for the incurable romantic in everyone.
Now available in an extended "Jackpot Edition" featuring extra content from Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman, InSEXts) and newcomer Beverly Johnson, Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie, F.O.R.C.E.) and Paulina Ganucheau (Zodiac Starforce) and Gail Simone (CROSSWIND, Domino), with illustrations from Sara Alfageeh (Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy) and Ariela Kristantina (InSEXts, Mata Hari). Plus a sneak peek of BINGO LOVE, VOL 2: DEAR DIARY, with an afterword from Gabby Rivera (America, Juliet Takes a Breath).
Perhaps the greatest love story ever told in comics - gay or otherwise - is to be found in the pages of Terry Moore's epic Strangers in Paradise. Running for fourteen years between 1993 and 2007 SiP follows the turbulent relationship between the wild artist, former sex worker, former agent of a major international crime family Katina Choovanski, known to her friends as Katchoo and the straight-laced, conformitive Francine.
Francine and Katchoo have known each other all their lives and Katchoo has never made a secret of the fact that her feelings for Francine have always been much deeper than just friendship. Francine was always less sure, and when Katchoo moved away after High School, Francine opted for conventional marriage with a nice, safe, dull man.
That didn't work out, and when Katchoo crashes back into Francine's life with all her baggage and wildness an incredibly complex love story is ignited. What follows is a tale of gangsters, murder, art, identity, betrayal, family, loyalty and love.The anchor that keeps the whole tapestry grounded and real is always the developing relationship between the two central characters.
Gripping, tense, charming, terrifying and frequently hilarious, all illustrated in Terry Moore's exquisitely clean black and white lines SiP remains one of the best comics series ever committed to paper.
Equally romantic, but with fewer gangsters, we have Breaks by Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden.
Billing itself as a "love story...but a bit broken" this is the tale of Cortland Hunt and Ian Tanner, two lads from very different backgrounds working through the process of discovering who they are.
Cortland has made some dangerous mistakes in his life and is constantly on edge as he waits for those mistakes to come back and bite him. Ian seems more relaxed and is just coasting through life and failing to address the blaze of anger that he hides behond a relaxed carefree persona.
When school politics and personal issues make both their lives into warzones they discover that the one thing they have in common might just be their salvation.
Breaks is a sensitively told story - we defy you not to identify with the central characters, because whatever your age, background or sexual orientation you definitely went through some of their issues when you were at school. The art is also subtle and expressive, making the whole book an immersive and intense reading experience.
Finally, we present for your consideration the wonderful Heavy Vinyl. Yes, we think it's a stupid name too, and its original title, "Hi-Fi Fight Club" is significantly better. Why the change? Well, we don't know, but it is a fact that the name change was made on issue four of the original four issue series. the official line is that the creators felt that the original title was misleading and they wanted the trade paperback collection to have a name that wouldn't be as violent. Which is fine, except why not just change the title for the trade? Personally we suspect a "cease and desist" order may have been sent by the rights holders to the "Fight Club" comics, although this is denied by all parties.
If we were to give you the elevator pitch for this book we'd say it was "Empire Records meets Nancy Drew". Set in New Jersey at the end of the eighties it follows Chris, a teenager who has just landed her dream job - working in her local record store.
Right from the start she has the feeling that something is not right, that she's being excluded from something - because shre doesn't believe for a second that they're sorting records in the basement they won't let her go into... But she's an awkward kid and is used to not quite fitting is as she deals with all the usual teen stuff and totally fails to deal with the crush she has on her cute co-worker Maggie.
But then the store's favourite singer goes missing and Chris is finally introduced to what really goes on in the basement as the girls from the record store set out to right some wrongs!
Heavy Vinyl is a beautiful coming of age story which treats sexual orientation as a perfectly normal background thing - nothing is made of the fact that she has a crush on a girl, it's just a fact of her life. The real story here is in all of the relationships between the young women who work at the store. Their loyalties, concerns and hang-ups. It's a beautiful story that cannot help but make you smile.