Pride Month Reading by Luke Simkins
It’s pride month, and you know what that means? Time for some corporate shilling! But don’t worry, I won’t be shilling today (much). Just know that if I shill, I do it only to shill what I love. I would never shill irresponsibly. Alright, enough of that word and onto the shil- I mean suggested reading for pride month and beyond!
1) Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison & Richard Case
Not many people know this, but in 2020, writer Grant Morrison came out as non-binary. This came as an absolute delight to me, someone also identifying as non-binary. Much of my awakening actually came from Morrison’s fantastic run on Doom Patrol which included some queer characters. Danny the street (a non-binary, sentient street/world/brick/ambulance), and Rebis (a trans-coded combination of Larry Trainor a.k.a. Negative Man, the negative spirit, and Eleanor Poole) are just a few examples of Morrison’s queerness finding its way onto the page. Outside of the great representation this run on Doom Patrol showcased, it is still an overall fantastically wacky ride for anyone who is a fan of the stranger side of comics.
Another icon of the queer comics community is Gerard Way, best known for his involvement in the band My Chemical Romance and comic-turned- t.v. series The Umbrella Academy. Although he has never publicly stated his explicit gender identity or sexual orientation, Way has stated he has experienced gender identity issues and enjoys pushing gender boundaries. If you’re a fan of fun dystopian sci-fi comics, you should definitely check out the Killjoys comics. A prequel to the MCR album and 2013 comic series, National Anthem is the perfect blend of punk angst and rebellion that I highly recommend.
I’m still working my way through the trades of this series (because I missed it as it came out), but so far it is very fun! If you want a heist book with a fun cast of characters and an interesting and multilayered lead, this is the book for you! Not to mention, Black Cat is also bisexual! It’s tough to find mainstream queer characters that don’t just feel shoehorned in, but this feels much more natural to me.
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have one of the most famous queer relationships in comics, thanks to both the popularity of the comics and their portrayal in the fantastic animated series on HBO Max. But what happens when relationships aren’t just all mallets and roses? This book takes place after the disaster of a story that was Heroes in Crisis, but it does expand on a really cool new Swamp-Ivy that started in that book. If you want a wacky road trip with some deep life lessons about holding onto relationships for too long and needing space to grow, this is the perfect book for you.
This all-ages trans coming of age story is perfect for anyone who’s a fan of tropes turned on their head. The main plot of this book revolves around Max, a trans-masculine teenager, realizing he comes from a long line of magical girls destined to fight back the evil darkness. Despite his moms constant push to be more “lady-like”, Max finds ways to use his powers, despite them being linked to the femininity he is desperately trying to escape. It’s cheesy, deeply emotional, and highly relatable.
While I could go on and on about queer comics and creators, I decided to start out small for suggestions for now. If you ever want more suggestions, you can always come find me at the Normal location of GCC. Until then, happy pride month!