Hello, Gentle Readers, and welcome to The Queerosphere!
I’m happy to bring you my list of top 10 ongoing comics that I believe queer lady comic fans should be reading right now.
Now, keep in mind, there are a few specifics with this list. All of the books are printed in either single or trade format and are currently running. (Webcomics and completed runs will get their own lists!)
So, we know what that means: no Batwoman or Bombshells. Yes, I love them too but I want queer ladies (and everyone else) to be able to look at this list and head to their local comic shop for a fun and queer shopping spree.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS…and a few history lessons
(So don’t say you weren’t warned.)
10. Asgardians of the Galaxy
Taking the number 10 spot on our list is a galactic adventure from Marvel, superstar writer Cullen Bunn, and fan favorite artist Matteo Lolli. The team of space-faring Asgardians consists of Angela, Valkyrie, Annabelle Riggs, The Destroyer, Skurge the Executioner, Thunderstrike, and Throg. (Yes, that Throg.)
What makes this notable for queer women is that we see the return of a few of Marvel’s more notable queer female characters.
The first is Angela better known as Asgard’s Assasin, The Queen of Hel, or just that one chick from Spawn. Angela has previously headlined 3 different solo books. In all 3 titles she journies with her lover Sera. (Marvel’s most prominent trans character.)
Where things go weird here is that during the most recent Bendis run of Guardians of the Galaxy, when Angela returns home from galavanting with that team she discovers that Sera has left. No note, no explanation.
Now there is a moment at the end of the first issue of Asgardians of the Galaxy that could hint at a possible reunion.
The other notable lady loving lady is fan favorite character, Annabelle Riggs (and her girlfriend Ren makes an appearance as well!).
Annabelle was co-created by Bunn in 2013’s Fearless Defenders and is a lesbian archeologist who watched one too many Indiana Jones movies and became addicted to adventure.
Annabelle’s situation becomes an odd one that ends up with her sharing a body with Valkyrie. Now, this is a huge plot point to Fearless Defenders, so I don’t want to go too much into it. Read Fearless Defenders and discover for yourself.
Asgardians of the Galaxy is shaping up to be one heck of a galactic adventure with space gays!
Crowded, the hit title from Image Comics, takes place in a not-so-distant future where the economy is comprised almost entirely of job sharing and crowdsourcing apps.
The series focuses on a young woman named Charlie who ends up being targeted by a 30-day million
What makes this fun for queer women? The whole damn book. Vita is confirmed queer and Charlie isn’t far off. The two have the silliest meet cute and their low key flirt game is amazing.
In addition to the superstar team of writer Chris Sebela, artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, colorist Triona Farrell, and variant artist Rachel Stott: actress Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) has optioned the rights to Crowded with the goal of starring in and producing a movie adaptation.
One of DC’s biggest leading ladies cracks her whip and takes the 8th spot on this list. Now, I’m sure at least one person reading this list just paused and said “Wait, Catwoman?” Yes, Catwoman.
The Cat’s sexuality has always been poked at and sort of a running joke, but in 2015’s Catwoman #39, from writer Genevive Valentine, Selina’s sexuality is confirmed when she shares a kiss with Eiko Hasigawa. The two do share a brief romance and it is hinted that Selina might have been in love with her, but it ends all too tragically.
If you want to read this arc (which you can walk into without having read the earlier arcs) pick up Catwoman volumes 6 and 7 from the New 52.
So, this leads us to the Rebirth era Catwoman book where we see our feline-inspired heroine investigating who are the folks pulling all the heists around Gotham City after the wedding to Bruce Wayne fails flat.
Superstar writer/artist Joelle Jones takes us on a wild ride that has this bisexual babe battling her way through the criminal underworld and even the not-so-criminal underworld.
7. Catalyst Prime: Summit
A year ago, a mission to stop a meteor from hitting Earth and causing an extinction level event was launched and 5 people embarked on a suicide mission to save the world. 5 people embarked on a suicide mission to save the world. 5 lives to save billions. They succeeded in stopping the full meteor put pieces broke off and slammed into the Earth causing widespread damage, but nowhere near the catastrophe that had been expected. But that isn’t the full story. (To find out the full story check out Catalyst Prime: The Event (FCBD) for free on Comixology! A must read before starting Summit!)
The only thing we know for certain is that Doctor Valentina Resnick-Baker was the only person to survive this mission. Her survival wasn’t the only thing that was astounding when she landed back on Earth it was discovered that Val has essentially become a walking plasma reactor.
She meets up with old friends to help explore her powers and even gets sidetracked with some heroics. She does all of this while being haunted by the voices of her ‘deceased’ crewmates as well as her late girlfriend Kay, who died in the fallout of “The Event.”
Val is a brilliant scientist, a damn hero, and an unapologetic queer woman. Writer Amy Chu brings this character to life so well. The “superhero” element doesn’t downplay Val’s brilliance, her mental health issues, and her grief over losing her girlfriend. (We all know that superheroing can downplay the truly humanizing aspects of a character which makes this a breath of fresh air.) So, if you love badass science, superpowers, and queer women than Summit is for you.
6. Wonder Woman
The Queen of DC Comics and the foremost queer superhero enters to lasso our 6th spot. The Amazonian Princess’ sexuality has long been poked at our her 75-year history, dating back to her Golden Age days. (Marston’s Wonder Woman is not so subtly homoerotic…)
However, her bisexuality was officially confirmed during Greg Rucka’s Rebirth run. After Diana leaves Themyscria, Steve Trevor asks if she left anyone “special” behind and Diana mentions Kasia, her lover. She said that Kasia understood, but it was hard for Diana to leave. (Poor Io. She never seems to get a chance.)
While Diana pursues a relationship with Steve Trevor throughout her run that doesn’t diminish her (finally confirmed) bisexuality. It’s worth a read for queer women because the world’s foremost female superhero is a lady-loving lady.
Bisexual women in opposite-sex relationships are still bisexual.
5. Strangers in Paradise XXV
Now this entry is a little complicated because it has a lot of required reading to get to this series.
Strangers in Paradise XXV is a direct follow up to Terry Moore’s groundbreaking comic Strangers in Paradise (which ran for 13 nonconsecutive years). It also builds off of Moore’s other works like Echo and Rachel Rising. However, if you want to dive in faster than you can get away with just reading Strangers in Paradise before picking up this series.
It’s a little difficult to get into this series without spoiling A LOT for SiP, but it absolutely deserves this spot.
*Spoilers for SiP* (Keep scrolling if you don’t like that sort of thing.)
Katchoo and Francine have finally found their happily ever after and have settled down with their daughters. However, just when Katchoo thinks she’s finally free from her old life, it rears it’s ugly head and drags her right back in.
I don’t want to get too much into the plot, but take my word for it. This series is worth it. Read Strangers in Paradise and then jump right into to Strangers in Paradise XXV. The love, drama, and excitement are well worth the journey.
Writer, artist, and publisher Terry Moore has spent 25 years crafting a beautiful love story, riveting action, and a truly terrifying criminal underworld.
Plus, there are a lot of queer smooches.
Trekker is a “retro-futuristic” sci-fi comic from writer/artist Ron Randall. It follows Mercy St. Clair a bounty hunter (or Trekker) who travels the galaxy (after leaving her home in New Gelaph) hunting down criminals. She is joined by faithful companion Molly Sundowner, who original owns a small music shop but then becomes a traveling bard.
(I’m not entirely convinced that the creators of Xena didn’t rip off Trekker.)
Mercy St. Clair and Trekker are best summed up in the words of legendary writer Gail Simone:
“It’s of stuff like Trekker that revolutions are begun. A female character that is sexy but not sexualized, that is tough but not without flaws and doubts, and that is dangerous but not without compassion.”
“What gets Trekker on this list?” You ask.
Well, THIS IS THE SLOWEST SLOW BURN IN WLW COMIC HISTORY.
“Now, Mary,” You say. “That seems a little extreme.”
Well, dear reader, I am not lying. It took about 30 years (30 actual publication years) for this queer lady relationship to come to fruition and I can guarantee that was absolutely worth the wait.
It wasn’t a “let’s just toss them together” moment, but it was the culmination of the friendship, love, and respect that was built by Randall over 30 years. Their love forms slowly but the payoff is so goddamn beautiful that it brought me to tears. Not to mention Randall brings his A Game.
Also, want to know the glorious thing about Trekker? Randall has it all up online. You can hit up his site and read Trekker for free.
However, I strongly encourage you to support the books print runs. In fact, Randall has just launched a Kickstarter to fund his latest print edition for Trekker: The Darkstar Zephyr. On Randall’s Esty page you can also find previous print runs. The exception is the Trekker Omnibus which was published by Dark Horse and is now out of print. It can be found in digital on Comixology here.
I actually talked to Ron not too long ago and asked him about the relationship between Mercy and Molly and he said this: “Only thing I can think of is, I try to make their relationship as convincing, as believable as I can. Gratified that readers are enjoying the depiction as much as I am enjoying creating and exploring it further as the series continues.”
3. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra
Alternate Title: Gay Panic in Space
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra is a solo title from Marvel in their Star Wars line and tells the story of a rebel archeologist who may or may not be a sociopath and has an obsession with all things old and expensive.
She is also a lesbian disaster.
Chelli Lona Aphra was recruited by Darth Vader after the Battle of Yavin. Aphra, along with her assassin droid companions, 0-0-0 (Triple-Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), ran several missions for the Vader before an attempted power move backfired on her. (You can read about this in the 2015-2016 Darth Vader run from Keiron Gillan. The easiest place to do this is on Marvel Unlimited.)
Have you ever wondered how the hell Vader found out Luke was his son? Read Darth Vader (2015-2016) and you’ll find out just how Aphra had a hand in the discovery.
Aphra comes across as a relatively jovial person, but a bitch will not hesitate to cut you or leave you for dead if you get in the way of her of a juicy find. She has been even known to betray lovers. (*cough* Sana *cough*) Aphra acknowledges that she’s a bad person, but claims she isn’t “that bad.” She uses people when she needs to but does show some remorse after the fact.
The only person we see her actually try to avoid using (and the times she does use them seems to do so reluctantly) is Imperial Officer Magna Tolvan.
Aphra manages to catch the attention and ire of Tolvan after an artifact hunt goes ass up and both are being attacked by an ancient Jedi ghost. (At one point during that arc Aphra says the only reason she neglected to kill Tolvan was that she was “cute.”)
A heated sexual tension between them ends up turning into a full-blown affair as they keep happening across each other. However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows when a relationship is made up of an Imperial Officer and a wanted criminal.
What makes Aphra so interesting and important is that she is one of the only queer Asian women to headline/lead a book.
Seriously, check her out in Darth Vader (2015-2016) and then roll right into her solo. You can read her solo without having read Vader, but I think it makes for a better read.
Get ready to run, because the Runaways are back!
The Runaways, created by the legendary writer Brian K. Vaughan and superstar artist Adrian Alphona, was originally published in 2003 under Marvel’s ill-fated Tsunami imprint. The book featured a group of teenagers who accidentally discovered that their parents were part of a secret cult that would sacrifice children to otherworldly deities for power and money. (Also to try to save themselves from the end of the world.)
Mid-2017, Marvel announced the return of the cult classic just ahead of the live-action adaptation’s premiere on Hulu. Promo images touted the return of original characters Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, Chase Stein, Molly Hayes, Old Lace, and teased the return of Gert Yorkes.
Considering the Runaways hadn’t had an ongoing title since 2009 (The Secret Wars mini doesn’t really count…) the announcement was met with a lot of excitement. Best selling author Rainbow Rowell was tapped to write the relaunch with art and colors by fan favorites Kris Anka and Matthew Wilson.
Given the almost 10 year gap in publication, Rowell and Anka had a lot to work with but a lot to work in. Nico and Chase had experienced the horrors of Murderworld, Nico ran with the A-Force, Gert had…well…moved on…, and Karolina and Molly had left the Runaways behind.
Rowell does a masterful job bringing the team back together. She also tackles the 13-year-old dilemma of the relationship between Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean.
A bit of history is needed here to fully grasp the situation: In the second volume of the Runaways, we see Karolina try to make a move on Nico and the latter is startled and turns her down. What is interesting this that even in that rejection Nico expresses some confusion over her own sexuality.
To make matters more complicated Karolina leaves the planet a few minutes later. After Karolina’s departure, Nico experiences depression and when Karolina does return she openly expresses jealousy at Karolina’s new relationship.
Karolina is happy in her relationship but isn’t exactly subtle about the fact that she’s still desperately in love with Nico. The two always seem to gravitate to each other and have several would be romantic moments. After Karolina’s relationship ends the two are more openly physically affectionate with other.
The moment that overtly confirms Nico’s romantic feelings is the revelation that Nico and Karolina shared on an off-panel kiss. Karolina confronts her about it in a game of Truth or Dare when she asks Nico which one of the Runaways is the best kisser. (Nico has kissed Alex, Victor, Chase, and Karolina.)
Given all of this history, Rowell approaches their feelings from a similar angle. Karolina was dating and in a happy relationship, but when reconnecting with Nico, we see old habits popping up again. Karolina begins finding reasons to see Nico, even going so far as to have her girlfriend look up Nico’s address in the Avengers’ directory. Nico openly expresses jealousy when Julie is brought up and at one point tried to kiss Karolina but the latter refuses the kiss.
The relationship between Karolina and Julie Power ends (a little conveniently might I add) and Karolina is single for about an issue before Nico admits her feelings for Karolina. The kiss confirms that the two are finally in the right place and the right time after 13 publication years.
This current Runaways comic is a fantastic book for queer women, long-time Runaways fans, new readers, or all of the above. It pairs well with the show on Hulu in more ways than just the relationship between Karolina and Nico. (As a fan of this relationship it is fun to see it in comics and on the show.)
Also, how great is Kris Anka’s artwork?
I really hope this book continues past it’s greenlit 18 or so issues. A lot of us have really missed this book and these characters, so fingers crossed that sales numbers and the runaway success of the show spell a great future for this book. (Get it? Runaway success? I’ll see myself out.)
1. Raven: The Pirate Princess
Here it is folks: The #1 book queer women should be reading right now!
Raven: The Pirate Princess is a spin-off of the incredibly popular young adult series Princeless from writer Jeremy Whitley and Action Lab comics.
Titular character Raven Xingtao originally appears in Princeless and is the daughter and heir of the Pirate King. She embarks on a journey to take revenge on her brothers who stole her inheritance.
In her spin-off solo series, Raven returns to her pirate roots and begins to assemble an all-female crew. She first recruits the half-elf rogue Sunshine Alexander and the tall and muscled Katie Kling before tracking down her childhood best friend and first love Ximena. Soon after Raven recruits the large majority of her crew.
The ladies set out on their adventures but run into a few snags along the way including a showdown with some of Raven’s brothers.
The first year of the comic establishes a whole cast of well-rounded characters and has a strong feminist voice with plenty of lady-loving.
The second year (which is currently on-going), has the ladies fighting off attacks from other pirates, a member of the crew escape an underwater realm, and the continued mission to take revenge on Raven’s brothers. Now, along with all of that, it just dumps ALL THE GAY on the reader.
Having gotten to know the characters individually in year one, year two explores the various romances that develop among the crew. (And there are a lot of them!)
What really makes Raven: The Pirate Princess so revolutionary is the sheer amount of representation in this book. The cast is racially diverse and is packed full of queer women.
A lot of Young Adult books and comics tend to shy away from queer characters as a whole, but this comic, and Princeless proper, turns this narrative completely on its head.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a breakdown of some of the characters and their orientations that writer Jeremy Whitley gave me.
- Raven: Lesbian
- Sunshine: Lesbian
- Zoe: Lesbian
- Ananda: Lesbian
- Katie: Bisexual
- Ximena: Bisexual
- Quinn: Demisexual
- Jayla: Asexual (Sex repulsed)
- Cid: Asexual
- Verity: Queer
And those are just a few.
What’d I tell you? Raven: The Pirate Princess is set to flip the script with Young Adult comics. (Get it? Script?)
If you have young queer women in your life, and I can’t stress this enough, get this book for them! Comics helped me a lot when I was coming out and this book can and will do amazing things for queer girls.
Since I’m wrapping this up I do want to make one other point. I believe these are books that queer women should absolutely be reading, but that doesn’t mean I think *only* queer women should be reading them.
I think everyone will enjoy these books, but I wanted to highlight them to queer women. (I’m also not saying these are the only queer lady focused books there are.)
There are many more books that are all fantastic, but these are just some of my favorites. I hope this list proves helpful and provides you with many hours of lady loving lady comic enjoyment.
Thanks for taking a walk into The Queerosphere!
I’ve heard Crowded being touted on Twitter by Chris Sebela, it looks like a gem. Perhaps I should add it to my pull list! I like the idea of crowdfunded assassinations – at least in fiction, because the IRL dark web stuff is too damn scary to think about. I love this article, thanks for the info!