Tag Archives: Webcomics

Guest Recs from Erin Ptah: Webcomics with Bi & Pan Characters!

Webcomic recs, continued! This is the roundup I promised last time.

It can be hard to make it clear when a character’s supposed to be bi/pan. A lot of webcomics aren’t long enough or romance-focused enough to give the characters multiple love interests, and there’s not always an organic way to have people just announce their preferences — especially in fantasy universes where words like “bisexual” don’t exist. (To be fair, it wasn’t a word in our universe until the ’60s. And “pansexual” is even younger….)

Here’s a set of strips that do pull it off. For purposes of this list, it’s all in-text representation. If a character’s sexuality is specified by the author but has yet to be involved or even referenced in the strip, I’m leaving those for someone else to rec.

Today’s theme: Webcomics with explicitly bi/pan characters!


sample-powerballad

(1) Power Ballad by Molly Brooks

As personal assistant to an international pop star, Meera Verma has her hands full trying to keep the gorgeous and talented Carina Peterson primped, polished, and mostly on time. As personal assistant to a Los Angeles-based masked vigilante, Meera has her hands full trying to keep the mysterious and reckless Skeleton alive and out of trouble

Superhero adventure drama, complete. Full of competence kink, especially for Meera — she figures out Carina’s secret superhero identity within days of working for her, and Carina learns about this when Meera has her costume clandestinely repaired. Plus: funny, snappy dialogue; identity porn with regard to other characters; interweaving of faux social-media reactions whenever their adventures make the news.

Meera is openly into women from the beginning; Carina eventually comes out to her as bi, in a scene with a realistic mix of sweetness and awkwardness. They spend a lot of the strip having mutual crushes that they’re too awkward to confess, but it feels natural and organic with the plot, rather than dragged-out for drama. It helps that they’re busy with the overarching plot (a case about a fashion designer’s work being stolen).

…And then eventually they do get together, and finish working the case as girlfriends, and it’s all-around great.


sample-girlswithslingshots

(2) Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

Slice of life adventures of best friends gregarious Jamie and cynical Hazel.

Comedy, complete (but currently doing full-color reruns of the original B&W strips). Mostly-realistic (there’s a talking cactus thrown in) stories about a bunch of struggling twentysomething artists/retail workers.

A lot of the cast is straight, notably Hazel, but there are a couple of lesbians in their friend circle from the beginning — like Thea, who gets married over the course of the strip. And then there’s Jamie, who identifies as straight for the first few years of the strip. Especially after one instance of f/f experimentation, where they part as friends but it doesn’t rock her world.

Some time after that, she meets Erin. Things get romantic. And intimate. And…stop just short of sex, because Erin’s on her own little arc of self-discovery, with “asexual” somewhere at the end.

Jamie’s sexuality is complicated — she struggles with pinning down the nuances of exactly what she’s into, and hesitates over all the terms her friends suggest to sum it up. (Worth noting: the phrase “biromantic heterosexual” wasn’t in wide circulation at the time.) I don’t remember if she ever settles on a single label, just that she does get back to a place of comfort and self-understanding over the whole thing. And none of this derails the writing or characterization, or undermines the strip’s ability to deliver regular punchlines.


sample-oglaf

(3) Oglaf by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne

NC-17 fantasy comic. Better have a really open mind.

Sexy magical comedy, ongoing. Mostly-disconnected short arcs and strips, about a whole range of characters and situations. You can tell the authors have a generally healthy outlook about sex, even when the characters don’t. Sometimes pokes fun at fantasy tropes. Mostly NSFW. (To the point where, in the archives, the “safe” strips are the ones that are marked.)

The sample image here is from a short arc about the Snow Queen, who needs to have sex in order for winter to end, but every man who tries to satisfy her gets his relevant bits frozen off. At last, a female mercenary shows up with a strap-on. Which gives you some idea of the tone of the rest of the series.

To be clear, this isn’t an “all about sex, therefore everyone is bi” strip, it’s an “all about sex, and all sexualities are represented” strip. Obviously not for every reader! But if you like fun dumb sex jokes, this is the motherlode.


sample-homestuck

(4) Homestuck by Andrew Hussie

It’s a story about some kids who are friends over the internet. They decide to play a game together. There are major consequences.

Fantasy/gaming adventure, complete. Four human kids play a video game, which turns out to be an immersive-reality experience that destroys their universe, and they have to win the game in order to make a new one. They’re joined by a group of alien kids — the trolls — who played an earlier round of the game, the one that created our universe in the first placce.

It’s a huge, sprawling, ridiculously complex series. Includes animation, chatlogs, flashing images, and mini-games. If you’re just trying to get into webcomics, it might not be the easiest place to start. Or it might suck you in so hard that it ruins you for the rest of the genre. Could go either way, really.

Troll romance is…culturally complicated. (If you’ve picked up one thing about Homestuck by fandom osmosis, this is likely to be it.) The relevant point here is that they’re default-bi, which pays off in various relationships as the story goes on. There’s also at least one human whose romantic prospects include a male human and a female alien.

(If you look at both pre- and post-Scratch incarnations, at least. And this is the point where I hit the brakes on Trying To Explain Homestuck, because if I go any deeper into the backstory we’ll be here all day.)


sample-skinhorse

(5) Skin Horse by Shaenon K. Garrity & Jeffrey C. Wells

The stated mission of Project “Skin Horse,” a federal Black Ops department located in the notoriously pointless Annex One complex, is to aid and asisst the U.S. population of nonhuman sapients. Any humans willing and able to work there may be presumed deeply weird.

Supernatural comedy, ongoing. A government support agency that focuses on robots, demons, talking animals, and various mad-science experiments. Tip, the team psychiatrist, is a hot crossdressing human. Unity is a multitalented multiracial zombie, and by “multiracial” I mean “stitched-together parts of humans from multiple races.” Sweetheart, the leader and administrator, is a talking dog. Their job isn’t easy, but by golly they work hard at it.

Tip has an uncanny ability to attract women — including, in one instance, a female alternate-dimension version of himself. He’s also had at least one fling with a guy, Artie, who was human-shaped at the time but is technically a sapient gerbil, and recently described himself as “straight-ish” (before going on to seduce a mixed-gender crowd). Sweetheart has had male love interests in the past, and more recently has gotten crushes on women. Including an ambiguous thing with Unity (or maybe it’s gone unambiguous? I don’t remember, it’s been a while), although Unity is generally mostly interested in brains.

The strip is a sequel to the completed Narbonic, about a mad scientist and her assistants. You don’t have to read it beforehand to follow anything, but if you like Skin Horse’s general ethos and sense of humor, or if you want Artie’s backstory, it’s worth adding to your list.


Erin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (featuring bi librarian Bianca) and Leif & Thorn (where Leif is into strong handsome people of all genders). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.

Advertisements

Guest Recs from Erin Ptah: Webcomics About Magical Lesbians!

Today on the site, Erin Ptah’s webcomics recs continue! If you missed her recs on webcomics with major non-binary characters, you can find them here. For magical lesbians, read on!

Another webcomic reclist! At first I was just going to do Comics About Women In Love, then the list got way longer than 5, and had to be narrowed down somehow. (And that’s just comics where they’re explicitly in-text wlw, after weeding out all the cases of “don’t know if this is going to the yuri place, but I’m shipping it really hard.”)

All of our heroines in this subset have some kind of supernatural powers. All of them want to get the girl. Some of them even pull it off.

Today’s theme: Webcomics about magical lesbians!

(Some explicitly identify as gay/lesbian on-panel, and with some I’m just extrapolating from the way they’re only ever shown being into women. Bi characters will get their due on a future reclist — stay tuned.)


sample-ladyoftheshard

(1) Lady of the Shard by gigi d.g.

A comic about an acolyte in love with the goddess she serves.

Sci-fi romantic drama, complete. People living throughout the Distant Stars revere the Radiant Goddess, who brought peace to the galaxy. An enthusiastic but easily-flustered acolyte accidentally causes her to manifest. (She recognizes this particular Acolyte as the one who sacrifices cute decorated pancakes at her altar.)

Their fluffy temple domesticity is interrupted by an ancient evil. It’s out to dethrone the Radiant Goddess, and mind-control her worshippers into serving it instead. You can see how this sets up the Acolyte to save the galaxy with the power of love.

A comic with a bunch of twists, none of which I predicted on the first run-through, although in retrospect they all make perfect sense. The style is minimalist — mostly pixel lineart figures on a field of black — and at first glance you wouldn’t think an artist can do much with it. Then you keep reading.


sample-lovespells

(2) Lovespells by Ryan and Sage

A comic featuring a super gay witch who falls in eventually-reciprocal love with a gay (and also asexual!) lady magic knight.

Fantasy romance, ongoing. Esther, the witch, has a lot of power but a fantasy health condition that keeps her from going on adventures. Maria, the knight, is a painfully earnest do-gooder who uses a lot of magic and wouldn’t mind a coach. Esther jumps to agree, mostly because she is thirsty as all get out, and Maria is too innocent to notice the ulterior motives.

The tone is upbeat and feel-good — the “about” page has a whole list of depressing themes that the authors assure us will not be involved — without being shallow or boring. Our heroines are charming, well-rounded, and downright fun to watch.


sample-pizzawitch

(3) Pizza Witch by Sarah Graley

Your Favourite Pizza Witch is about pizza! young love! falling in love with beautiful lactose intolerant babes and trying to woo them!! cat familiars?? and so much more!

Fantasy comedy, complete. Roxy is a witch who mostly uses her magic for pizza delivery, and gets a major crush on a customer…who can’t eat cheese. Will the power of love overcome their differences??

This one’s very short, so don’t expect a lot of depth. It’s just cute wacky fun.


sample-tnbtu

(4) The Night Belongs To Us by L. R. Hale

Hank gets attacked by a werewolf. Ada saves her life. Hank then becomes a werewolf. Ada is a vampire. Hank discovers the underground society of vampires, werewolves and more. Ada sells weed for money, and is kind of a bounty hunter. Hank is a medical illustrator. Ada is complicated. Hank is attracted to Ada. Things get complicated.

Modern fantasy drama, ongoing. There’s a supernatural bureaucracy that handles new arrivals, and normally recently-turned werewolves get mentored by the wolf that bit them — but Hank was bitten by a murder-y creep, so her new sorta-friend Ada gets the job.

Slow-burn romance, on the back burner while they deal with conspiracies, kidnappings, and not always being around to feed Hank’s cat. There’s lovely attention to the practical details of surviving in the modern world as a horror-movie monster. (Bonus: sometimes this involves Ada being smuggled through broad daylight by turning into a bat and hiding in Hank’s cleavage.)

The strip has had some unexpected hiatuses, but it’s gotten back to regular updates. With any luck this means it’s not too much longer before we get a page where they kiss.


sample-serenityrose

(5) Serenity Rose by Aaron Alexovich

Serenity Rose is small, shy, and sexually confused. She can also conjure monsters out of ectoplasm, hover 20,000 ft. in the air, and shapeshift anything she sees. Serenity Rose is a witch, one of only 57 the world over, a real supernatural oddity. And she lives in the glare of a small town that THRIVES on supernatural oddities….

Goth fantasy, complete. Sera grows up in a beautifully-rendered town that has a whole gimmick about horror, which means it’s not too disruptive when her emotional issues spawn ectoplasmic ghouls that slink off into the woods. But a teenage meltdown prompts her to hole up in a mansion on the edge of town, where she mostly stays until our story begins.

She does have a couple of loyal friends, and end up getting a mentor, in the form of a much more put-together witch/popstar she’d been admiring from afar. They’re all supportive as she wrestles with various issues, including a much-delayed reckoning with her sexuality.

The magic and the alternate-universe worldbuilding are absolutely fascinating, and the comic would be worth reading on that count alone — but also, the basic portrayal of confused young lesbian angst is more relatable than a lot of “realistic” series that comes to mind. One of the few webcomics where I’ve gone and spent money to get the print version.


Erin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (where lesbian Sparrow just learned to teleport) and Leif & Thorn (where lesbian Ivy can wipe the floor with water mages twice her age). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.

Guest Recs from Erin Ptah: Webcomics with Major Nonbinary Characters!

We are super lucky to have Erin Ptah on the site today, doing the first in a series of webcomic recs! You may recognize her name from this cover/excerpt reveal, and if webcomics are your thing, you’re not gonna wanna miss her posts or her work! Take it away, Erin!

Hey there, LGBTQReads, I heard you might be webcomic-curious. Let me hook you up with some recs.

The plan is to do a whole series of these, and I’m totally open to suggestions. So if there’s something you want to see more of in webcomics — whether it’s an identity thing like “f/f romance” or a trope thing like “queer stuff with robots” — just say so in a comment and I’ll give it a whirl.

Today’s theme: Webcomics with major nonbinary characters!


sample-hazardsoflove

(1) The Hazards of Love by Stan Stanley

The story of a queer teenager who made a few bad decisions and has found themselves in a world very far from Queens.

Fantasy drama, ongoing. The main character’s birth name is Amparo, and I bring this up because it’s not a deadname that was deliberately changed, they just inadvertently lost it in a bargan with a supernatural creature. Along with the rest of their identity. (Oops.)

So now they’re stuck in a fantastical alternate dimension, Bright World, which has these lovely designs and aesthetics drawn from the artist’s Mexican heritage. Nothing in Bright World gets given for free, and our hero doesn’t have much left to bargain with. As of the most recent comic, they’ve picked up a new name (Fawn), but lost some memories and a couple of appendages (hands).

Word of God is that Fawn would specifically ID as “agender butch” if they knew the terms, although it’s not something that comes up in-universe, because, you know, they have other stuff to worry about.


sample-chaoslife

(2) Chaos Life by A. Stiffler

Focuses on a queer relationship between A. Stiffler and K. Copeland, who create the comic! It also delves into politics, GSM issues, mental health, pop culture, cats and other randomness.

Autobio comedy, ongoing. Not nearly as much to say about this one because it’s mostly cute one-shot gags. The artist, A., is agender, and got married to K. over the course of the strip. They own an assortment of ridiculous cats. (Pet death does get addressed, when it comes up.)

This is the one comic in the list that’s grounded in actual reality, so it’ll have reactions to current events like the US’ legalization of same-sex marriage, and strip topics like Being Agender 101. Some of you may find this a useful resource…others may find it a minor annoyance to click past so you can get to the next joke. Either way, it also has a lot of good jokes.


sample-floraverse

(3) Floraverse by glip

Floraverse is a webcomic and open world project focused on making stories and music. Viewer participation and discussion is highly encouraged.

Surreal fantasy, ongoing. And when I say “surreal” I mean…look, it starts out linear enough, with a little story about a cute bird-pixie and an even cuter jelly-critter trying to make a delivery. Then it skips around to some other stories in the same universe without resolving the first one, and eventually it becomes clear they’re not in chronological order, but now there’s something to do with time loops and characters getting reversioned and maybe the whole thing is just a play Jupet is watching? Or is Jupet writing the play/story/universe?

I have no idea. What I do know is, it’s beautiful. The character/creature designs are lush and varied, the art goes through a couple different complex styles, the color palettes alone are worth reading for.

There’s no explicit discussion about how gender is treated in-universe, just multiple characters who go by they/them, without any fuss or slip-ups by the people around them. The major ones are Beleth, a cat-demon who shows up in two different incarnations (versions? re-embodiments? something like that), and Jupet, a childlike but deceptively-powerful critter who appears to be 90% fluff.


sample-jobsatisfaction

(4) Job Satisfaction by Jey

What is everyday life like for a professional summoner, their zealous assistant, and the demons who crash on their couch and help out with taxes?

Fantasy comedy, ongoing. Started out very slice-of-life, though it’s developed more drama and intrigue as it goes on. The nonbinary main characters are demon summoner Sinh Thùy — I’m not sure if they’re a demon themselves, or just a human who’s blue for some reason — and fussy assistent Lemme Laviolette, who seems to have a crush on their boss that may or may not be going anywhere.

Sidenote: Dr. Thùy uses forearm crutches, and there are scenes where you can see bars and other mobility aid architecture in the setting. I don’t remember if it’s been stated whether they’re for a chronic disease or a demon-inflicted injury or what, but either way it’s a detail that most artists wouldn’t bother to include, so it’s cool to see.

Most of it takes place in the normal world, where the general public knows that demons exist, they just mostly would rather not meet any. The trans characters get some misgendering from fellow humans, although ironically not so much from demons, which don’t seem to fit into human gender schemas anyway. Sure, they might eat you, but they can’t be bothered to figure out which pronouns would upset you.


sample-dropout

(5) Drop Out by gray

A comic about two girlfriends who go on a roadtrip.

Bittersweet drama, complete. You have to be in the right frame of mind to read it — girlfriends Lola and Sugar are actively suicidal for most of the story, which follows them on a trip to the Grand Canyon to jump over the edge. But if you’re in the right place, it’s cathartic and amazing, with some of the best writing about ongoing depression I’ve ever seen.

It’s also an anthro comic, with a pixel-y style and handwritten text that can be hard to read, but don’t pre-judge it on any of those things. You’ll miss out.

Both characters are different varieties of intersex, which comes up in their conversations, how the conditions have affected their backstories and interacted with their emotional issues. Lola seems to be comfortably nonbinary, in contrast with Sugar, who’s nominally a woman but talks about struggling with it, in a way you almost never see — characters either have their gender already settled when the story starts, or go through a linear discovery process along the way.

The whole thing is natural, and earnest, and comes in between silly random conversations about the finer points of ninja throwing knives. The author is also a depressed intersex nonbinary person, which shows through in how everything feels deep and well-integrated, not caricatured or pasted-on.

Seriously, it’s great and you should go read it.


ptah_profile_by_erinptah-dbwe6fuErin Ptah likes cats, magical girls, time travel, crossdressing, and webcomics. She’s the artist behind But I’m A Cat Person (featuring bigender social worker Timothy/Camellia) and Leif & Thorn (featuring agender magic knight Juniper). Say hi on Twitter at @ErinPtah.