ARC Mini-review: Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman // western f/f + trans heist comic

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor–also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk–robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.

Release date: September 3rd

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★★★

This comic is set in the Wild West and it’s a fun, heisty story about a trans woman who gets kidnapped and ends up working together with her kidnapper, who is a queer Latinx.

The style of the comic is cute although maybe not a personal favorite, but I love the color scheme and how it fits the scenery, and the facial expressions are so good!

This first volume is divided in a few chapters and I assume it’s going to be the first in a series, because the story is by no means done. There’s no cliffhanger though, and it’s satisfying as a standalone too, until the next one comes out.

So! Heist, Wild West, badass women falling in love while having adventures! Get on it!

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LGBTQIAP+ Webcomic Recs #2

It’s my favorite time of the year, AKA time to post my recommendations for my favorite queer webcomics. And folks, I’ve read so many since my first rec post (which you definitely need to check out) that I couldn’t even fit them all in this post and I’ve already started a draft for a 3rd post.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of webcomics, they’re completely free comics that creators put online, usually posting one page or one chapter at the time, and they can be found on the creators’ websites or on sites like tapas or webtoons.

🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈

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🏳️‍🌈 Always Human by Ari Walkingnorth

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Status: complete

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: eating disorder, body image issues

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I can’t believe after ONE YEAR I finally get to recommend this on my blog too! This has one of the sweetest and softest f/f relationships, also the art, colors and music are so soothing and reading it feels like a warm hug.

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🌈 Long Exposure by Kam “Mars” Heyward

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Status: ongoing

Audience: YA

Content warnings: bullying, homophobia, violence, mention of pedophilia, abuse

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I love this webcomic so much. It definitely has heavy themes as you can see from my content warnings, but it also has a really nice and atypical m/m relationship and paranormal elements. 

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🏳️‍🌈Heir’s Game by Suspu  

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Status: ongoing

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: mild violence

Goodreads | Read here

This is by the same creator of Shootaround so I immediately started it after finishing that one. It’s still in its early chapters and I anticipate it’s going to be very long, so it’s kind of hard to talk about it so far. But it has duels, court intrigues and disaster gays.

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🌈 No End by Erli & Kromi

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Status: ongoing

Audience: YA

Content warnings: violence, mild gore, past abusive relationships,

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I’ve said this before but I would nominate this in my top 3 favorite webcomics without a doubt. I love the characters and the art, and how everyone is queer. There’s something in this for everyone: zombies, characters that will capture your heart, relationship drama, soft romances, found family.

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🏳️‍🌈 The Prince and the Swan by April Pierce

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Status: ongoing

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: captivity, abuse

Goodreads | Read here

This is a loose retelling of Swan Lake with a m/m romance. I really like the subdued humor in it and the fairy tale setting, and I appreciate the slightly slower pace that allows to get to know the characters better.

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🌈 Sonnet by Emily Cheeseman & Lindsey Rodgers

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Status: complete

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: fights/duels, injury

Goodreads | Read here | My review

This is a webcomic entirely written in sonnets and if that scares you let me tell you that once you get a little used to it it’s really easy to read. It could even be read without the text as a children book or something and it’d still be 100% understandable. It’s a story about two knights falling in love and it doesn’t hurt that they remind me a lot of Damen and Laurent.

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🏳️‍🌈 Shootaround by Suspu

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Status: complete

Audience: YA

Content warnings:

Goodreads | Read here

This was such a pleasure to read! I wanted more queer zombie webcomics after No End and this had a very different tone from it and just what I needed. This made me laugh so much and at the same time it has its serious moments, but it’s very hopeful and it has tons of rep (trans, bi, polyam, POC, etc). Also, found family! Who doesn’t love that.

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🌈 On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

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Status: complete

Audience: YA

Content warnings: bullying, misgendering

Goodreads | Read here

This is a story about a girl who is trying to find her high school girlfriend in space. It’s told in both the present and in flashbacks where we get to see the two girls a few years ago and how they got together. It is really diverse and the art, while not my personal favorite, is by all means beautiful.

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And that’s it for today, but I’m sure I’ll be back with more webcomic recs in a few months because I’m always looking for more to read, and when I do I can’t contain my excitement for them and I need everyone to read them.

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’re planning to read them, and if you have any recommendations definitely drop them in the comments!

 

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ARC Review: Cretaceous by Tadd Galusha 🦖

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: When a Tyrannosaurus Rex is separated from its family unit, it embarks on a harrowing journey to reunite with them before the raw, real dangers of the Cretaceous Era separate them for good. This heart-wrenching story takes to the skies and dives into the sea—and explores everywhere in between—in this research-based, fictional account written and illustrated by Tadd Galusha (TMNT/Ghostbusters 2).

Release date: March 26th

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★★★

If this review was a flow chart, and I asked you, “Do you like dinosaurs?” and your answer was Yes, then there’d be a handy arrow that would point you to the option “read this graphic novel”.

If you’ve ever seen illustrations of a dinosaur and the first word out of your mouth was “COOL!!!!”, then this book is for you.

Maybe I’m a little dramatic or maybe my whole childhood and consequently my whole life has been heavily influenced by Littlefoot’s mom’s death in The Land Before Time, but when I saw how stunning the title page was (not the cover, which is kind of…not good, compared to the art inside) I didn’t even care what the story would be about, I just knew I would love it if the whole book had art Like That in it. And I was not disappointed.

The fact that this book has no dialogue in it might make you think it’s a children book about cute dinos running about their lives, but I wouldn’t say this is for kids. Teens, maybe, if they can handle the gore. But basically, you should only go into this if you’re prepared to be the powerless witness to the brutality of a nature without finality or purpose, and leave your own human ideals in the Anthropocene where you belong. This is the Cretaceous, baby.

Webcomic Review: No End by Erli and Kromi /// the zombie apocalypse has never been gayer

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Summary: No End is a webcomic about a group of people struggling to survive in a post apocalyptic country ravaged by an unyielding winter and hordes of undead. Living amid a world of horror doesn’t erase the cast’s day-to-day worries about identity, family, friendship and betrayal, as they seek people they can trust, as well a legendary place called “Haven” rumored to be free of the cold and horror.

Just as none of them are sure that it even exists, they aren’t sure what their place in their world is. But each step forward leads towards who they are, who they should become, and where they belong.

Due to it’s initial inspiration from an RP shared by the creators, No End has always strongly focused on its characters – their growth, their motivations, and the bonds woven between them. The post-apocalyptic setting is used to add suspense, and to put emphasis on the character’s internal struggles. This webcomic also features LGBTQA+ themes and characters – all the characters in the main cast are queer.

The comic updates every Sunday and Wednesday!

Add on Goodreads | Start reading

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★★★★

Ever watched The Walking Dead and then got fucking bored of it but you’re sort of missing those zombie vibes?

Look no further, this extremely queer webcomic is just the right thing for you.

The story follows a main cast of five: Modra, Benny, Wight, Jenn and Cotton, as they team up and travel to search for the mythical town of Haven.

It’s been decades since the zombies appeared so things are somewhat static (as opposed to those “the zombie apocalypse just started” plots), with towns run by the military and towns run by civilians, and spread out between them a wasteland that not many like to venture.

Of course, all of the main characters have some secrets, things they are running from and things they can’t outrun, and things that catch up with them as they visit new towns and meet old and new people.

The main squad that I mentioned above is supported by an amazing cast of secondary characters. There’s honestly not one that you won’t fall in love with, and best of all, they’re all diverse and the allocishet have never been heard of in that world ever. Yes, everybody is queer and there’s both sweet and endearing romances and frustratingly (in the best sense) angsty romances that will make you yell at your screen quite literally.

This is very much a character-based webcomic (just how I like my webcomics tbh), but it has some truly heart-stopping moments and some seriously scary characters and plot lines. I wouldn’t say this is horror but there is some gore sometimes and personally one storyline creeped the hell out of me.

Meet the characters:

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Modra, actual cinnamon roll, blue aesthetic gay, comes from a privileged family and needed a change of air. Wouldn’t know how to survive on his own but is trying to learn.

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Benny, angry bisexual, biracial white/Korean, a disaster at romance, needs to work on communication.

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Wight, tragic gay, will make you want to kill everyone in the room and then yourself if something happens to him, doesn’t always smile or laugh but when he does you can see it in his eyes, actually makes you want to cry.

 

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Jenn, asexual queen of not trusting anybody, actually a mom friend, level-headed, Cotton’s best friend, relatable because of her love for her brother Wight.

 
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Cotton, fingergun bisexual, Iranian, bad puns and double-entendres, can read people except when it directly affects him, I actually yelled at him?? needs to learn coping mechanisms, always puts the others first.

 

prof_ramona

 

Ramona, Black lesbian, accidentally adopted a son at 15, backbone of our society really, looks like a cinnamon roll but might kill you.

 

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Maverick, puts the “foul language” in “pansexuality”, looks like he might watch you die without raising a finger but is actually always ready to help, loves his mom and cats.

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Jerry, charming pansexual, steals the scene whenever he’s there, smoothest flirting game, needs to quit smoking tbh.

 

 

The comic is already really long with 9 full chapters but it’s also ongoing and I know there’s still a lot of characters we’re gonna meet and I can’t wait, but this is already in my top 3 “webcomics with the best characters” list. Seriously, it’s been weeks and I can’t stop thinking about them, and while I was reading it and had to pause to like, go to uni or shower I kept finding myself thinking about them as if they were real people.

Also, I love the art so much?? I don’t know how to describe art but I love the colors used and how the artist draws expressions. Even in Wight it’s always so clear when he smiles (please make him smile more) or his expression changes because it’s all in the eyes.

GSHGSHSGHSLGSLHLFSHG I just love this so much, please don’t even waste time adding it to your TBR and go read it immediately (and then come back and talk to me about my children).

Comic Mini-Review: The Ghost, The Owl by Franco

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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Summary:On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, The Ghost, the Owl.

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★★★★

This was a stunning graphic novel with a simple but captivating plot about generosity and how much a single kind act can do.

The art is however what’s truly magnificent about it. It’s worth spending a good minute or two studying every detail of each page, or simply go back after you’ve finished the story and look at every page again to really absorb the amazing details. I’ve only read an e-copy but I would love owning the finished, physical product.

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Definitely get this if you’re looking for a graphic novel that’s not only good but also utterly beautiful. It would look stunning on a bookshelf.

Comic Mini-Review: Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary:Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

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★★★★

I think when reading Sarah’s Scribbles you have to be in a mood where either everything is funny or your life is literally going to shit, and anything in between would kind of ruin your experience with these collections.

As it happens, I loved this third book so much (I’ll let you guess which mood I was in). The little comics made me laugh and the last part where she talks about the issues that online creators face online was very relatable and honest. She also gives advice to artists and writers on how to deal with trolls and harsh criticism, and I basically agreed with everything she had to say and found it to be a helpful reminder.

I wouldn’t particularly care for a star rating in this case because it might just as easily be a 5 stars or a 3 stars, but it made me smile and laugh and I don’t want to be picky so I’m giving it a full 5 because what the hell, I enjoyed it a lot.

Comic review: Fence #3

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★★★★

In many ways this was my favorite out of the three issues already out (but I feel like that’s gonna be the case for every new issue).

I can’t really make a coherent review this time but one thing I will say is that, if it wasn’t already clear from issue #2, this is really fucking queer and what else do you need to know really?

Things I loved (SPOILERS!!!):

🤺 We finally learn a bit more about school life! The different uniforms and dresscode for different events, the lack of privacy, the care packages, the awful food, who rooms with whom.
⚔️ Bobby and Nicholas being friends!!!
🤺 Coach telling Nicholas he’s the worst but also telling him he has potential
⚔️ Harvard “actually to blame for this” Lee
🤺 “You want me to tell coach we kissed and made up” NICHOLAS DO YOU EVEN HEAR YOURSELF
⚔️ I feel like we’re starting to learn a bit more about fencing which is great
🤺 NICHOLAS WAKING UP AT 4:30AM TO TRAIN AND FINDING SEIJI THERE
⚔️ “Do we need a line on the floor here too” Seiji pls
🤺 DANTE IS ALIVE AND WELL I’M SO RELIEVED
⚔️ Kally and Tanner are the real power couple
🤺 Also??? Kally is The Purest??? I love him so much
⚔️ BOBBY WITH BRAIDS I’M MELTING
🤺 Nicholas and Seiji doing the thing where they look at each other when the other one is not looking 👌🏻 good shit 👌🏻 right 👌🏻 there 👌🏻 good shit
⚔️ JAY YOU POOR SOUL HOW COME YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF AIDEN’S REPUTATION
🤺 Okay but that kiss was so pretty??? Imagine when it’s going to be Harvard in Jay’s spot wow that’s only gonna take 3837598 issues but I’m fine
⚔️ Aiden pls you could at least try to remember your hookup’s name
🤺 Is Harvard only being fake nice to Jay or????
⚔️ “I’ve known him since we were five” wow I already knew this but it made me emotional
🤺 Aiden casually hugging Harvard
⚔️ “He’s so good it hurts” oh Nicholas baby
🤺 “You can’t look at anyone else” OH NICHOLAS BABY
⚔️ The Bons gossiping are honestly so relatable and they speak to my soul
🤺 “So why is Seiji watching his match?” mmmmmmmh yeah Bons why tell me
⚔️ FINALLY SOME SEIJI INTERNAL MONOLOGUE and of course that’s where the issue ends cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool
🤺 “It doesn’t meant he’s…” HE’S WHAT SEIJI WHAT, good??
⚔️ I can’t believe Seiji, a Useless Gay, hasn’t stopped thinking about Nicholas for six months

Are you reading Fence? What did you think of this issue?