Ever since I watched the insane phenomenon that is Yuri!!! On Ice, I’ve been interested in learning about the LGBT+ community. And to do this, I’ve been scouring the internet for webcomics. And of course, the internet delivers to me the sweetest, most heart-wrenching comics to me. What I have listed below are only ones that I am caught up with or finished with. I have others that are on my “to-read” list, and maybe I’ll talk about those in a future post.
I know this is a bit of a strange post. I have never strayed from anime or manga, and I actually didn’t think I ever would. Though, I felt that this would be great to talk about. I have never shared my love for these comics with anybody else before, and I assure you that I have not been pushed to praise these comics. I genuinely adore them.
This was the first LGBT+ comic I read, and I have mentioned it before, during my first OWLS post. Though, I felt that the little nudge was not enough to do it justice.
This comic is available on LINE Webtoon, where you can read a large selection of comics for free. This comic also has been completed.
Always Human was written and drawn by walkingnorth (this is both her author name on Webtoon and on tumblr).
There are countless things I adore about this comic. The very first thing that stood out when I saw the cover and read the description was the artwork. The coloration is a bit like a watercolor painting, and she uses vibrant colors, which only adds to the beauty. Another thing that stood out is that in every episode, or chapter, there was a song that went along with it. Each piece was written specifically for that particular section of the story, and every one perfectly captured the mood. It made the reading experience unique and memorable. Unfortunately, when I read most of it, I couldn’t find my headphones, and was unable to hear much of the soundtrack. Though, I plan on rereading it soon.
Enough of my art ramble, on to the reason I’m bringing it up. The story focuses on 22-year-old Sunati and 18-year-old Austen, two women who meet at a train station. After Sunati spots Austen at the station a second time, she works up the courage to talk to her. Shortly after this, they go on a date, and eventually become a couple.
Though it seems like a simple romance story, there is a bit of a twist. It takes place in a futuristic society, where people can easily obtain things called “mods.” They can heal diseases, change a person’s hair color, maintain a person’s weight, etc. Sunati is someone who relies on mods heavily, as most people do, and she continuously changes her appearance. Austen, unfortunately, is unable to use mods at all due to something called “Egan’s syndrome.”
Much of the plot does not focus on Austen’s disability, which I thought was nice. It’s more about them just being human and in a relationship. They make mistakes, and have to work them out. Just like real people. And the fact of their gender isn’t brought up once.
The world is unlike ours not just because of the mods. Much of the LGBT+ community that would be ridiculed in our world are easily accepted without a second thought. Some things represented are: lesbian, gay, polysexual, asexual/aromantic, genderfluid, and agender.
It was insane to see so many, honestly. Going in, I had no idea that it would be more than just the main relationship, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise.
I feel I’ve rambled enough about this one, you really do need to check out out, so here’s a link.
Oh boy. I’ve been obsessed with this comic for the past two months. As in, I’ve reread all of it at least three times obsessed. And it only gets worse every time it’s updated.
This comic is available for free on Tapas, and more of it is available on Patreon if you pay $5 a month. I’m about 60 pages ahead of everyone on Tapastic since I decided to pay, and I get a new page almost every day.
About the author: this comic is written by Alice Oseman, who has written two young adult novels as well and two novellas to accompany the first. All of her stories connect in some way, which I found was fascinating. There is no one way to read them. The comic is her most recent story, but I decided to purchase her first novel, “Solitaire,” and have been reading it just fine. Though, Heartstopper takes place about a year before Solitaire does.
For the most part, the story focuses around two high school boys, Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring. As you can most likely figure out from the list this is on, the plot focuses on their developing relationship. Starting from being classmates sitting next to each other, to teammates on the rugby team, to being best friends, and beyond.
Besides being a sweet story of two boys falling in love, there are some other themes that are in this story.
In the very first panels of the comic, Charlie is seen with another boy, secretly meeting in the library. This boy is Ben Hope, who claims to be dating Charlie, but on the side is also dating another girl. It’s assumed that Ben doesn’t want to be caught with another boy, but is craving the attention of one. It’s established early on that Ben doesn’t have any real feelings for Charlie, and is only using him. Charlie tries breaking off the “relationship,” but Ben is a complete jerk about everything and doesn’t listen. It quickly turns to be abusive, and Charlie does end up breaking it off eventually. This was something that I’ve never seen in media. Abusive relationships exist, and not only between men and women. It’s absolutely terrible to see a character in this situation, but I feel it was an important message to send.
Another is how people view Charlie’s sexuality. It’s established that he’s very open about being gay, and even his family has known for quite some time. Though most kids at his school did not like this fact. He attends an all boys school, so some kids say that he should have expected being bullied for it. Obviously not fair to him. He was incredibly brave to say this to his peers, and all he got was rude comments and someone who abused him. The news had spread incredibly quickly, and suddenly his whole grade knew and most mocked him. This was very real, and hurt to read. I haven’t been in this situation, but I have been somewhat one of those kids. In eighth grade, my friend told me she was bisexual, and for some stupid reason, I wanted to avoid her. I thought that she would be interested in me, and it made me uncomfortable for a while. I decided it didn’t matter later on, but I regret thinking like that. I see where these kids were thinking, but it doesn’t make it right in the slightest.
Also, when Charlie joins the rugby team, many of the other members of the team ridicule his abilities due to his being gay. They think Nick was stupid to ask Charlie to join the team because they feel he’ll slow them down.
On to some more lighthearted themes, let’s focus on Nick for a bit. Well, not really lighthearted, but more so than the previous two. When he and Charlie become friends, and hang out often, Charlie develops feelings for him. He tells his friend, who immediately tells him there’s no hope in crushing on a straight guy. Charlie, being quite pessimistic, takes the comment hard, and almost gives up right then and there. Meanwhile, Nick begins struggling with his own feelings. He lived his life never really considering liking someone who wasn’t a girl, so when he does begin to like Charlie, his head gets a bit muddled. He ends up questioning his sexuality for quite some time.
I can’t explain much more than this, since things change at the part I’m at. I know I went a bit more in depth with this one, but as I said before I became a bit obsessed with the comic and am passionate about what is shown in it. If you go read it on Tapas, you’ll get the first two chapters, and the very beginning of chapter three. Though that doesn’t seem like much, each chapter is roughly 100 pages.
Overall, I’m completely obsessed with this comic, and I think you should go check it out. There’s equal amounts rough topics and pure, cute moments. Though, if you’re not cool with a lot of swearing, I’ll say there is quite a bit. I understand that in America, where I live, things are censored much more than in England, where the author is from.
Here’s the link to the first chapter on Tapas.
Under the Aegis
This comic is available on Webtoon, and was created by Vimeddiee. I became a bit obsessed with this one as well, and read all of it in about a week. There are 85 chapters, none of them very short, and it all goes pretty in depth with the story.
I didn’t expect this one to have much involvement in the LGBT+ community, since it’s a futuristic fantasy. But the involvement it has is nice to see. It’s not the main focus, but it’s a sweet addition.
The characters we see are the six wielders of weapons that have been passed down generation after generation. There should be seven of them, but the last one is of a race that has been targeted for years and is unable to meet with the others immediately. Their mission in the beginning is to find their final member to fulfill their duty as wielders.
There is so much more to this story, but this is the briefest way I can explain without spoiling. All of the members are of different races, which make for an interesting combination. Some races have been known to hate each other for years and years, but when forced to get along, friendship blossoms.
I expected this to have much more action in it, but there really isn’t much. I’d say like 80% is just the wielders being buddies and hanging out, or researching on how to find their final member. It doesn’t seem interesting, but somehow the author did a great job of keeping me engaged. Things don’t get very intense until about five chapters before the end.
On to the representation: there are two cases of gay relationships, one lesbian, and one character is asexual. So that’s how it made it on the list. I don’t really want to name names on who is what, because I feel that defeats the surprise. So, go read it now and you’ll know.
Also, I couldn’t find any full pages on the creator’s tumblr and I didn’t want to screenshot from Webtoon, so all I have is one of the covers, I’m sorry. I searched at the last minute and couldn’t find a darn thing.
Anyway, here’s the link to this comic.
**Weird Announcement, Kind of**
So, with the end of this post comes something that I want to say. It’s really no big deal, but something I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. And, after looking into it a lot, I’ve decided that it is true. I realized that I identify as asexual, or aromantic, I’m not entirely sure which. In my 17 years of life, there has not once been a time I was truly interested in being romantically involved with another person. Sure, I had silly crushes
here and there, but it didn’t go past wanting to hang out a lot. I’ve had a lot of people say that it’s sad that I’ve never dated anyone, but I just tell them that I’m okay with it. I haven’t told anyone I know besides my brothers, and they don’t really care. None of my friends know, but they are aware of my anti-dating ways. I just don’t know if they’re aware that there’s a name for it or that it is sometimes part of the LGBT+ community.
There’s that. Not a big deal. I haven’t had anyone give me a real hard time. Just the typical “Oh, you’ll find that special someone” or “You’ll feel different when you’re older” and I just bob my head and go along with it. I may be wrong about this, considering how young I am, but right now at least, I feel it’s right.
I guess that was my “coming out” or whatever.
So, after that little tidbit of personal information, I hope you enjoyed this weird post. I’m thinking that maybe after I’ve read some other comics related to this topic that are on my “to-read” list, I could do a second post like this, if you’re interested.
I know it’s also late, sorry. I started college classes (I go to something called a middle college, where I take all classes on a college campus, but some are high school and some are college classes) recently, so I’ve been more focused on that. It’s hard to get adjusted to a new schedule all over again. Hope you guys understand, as I am human.
Also this is WAY longer than I intended, so I’m sorry if I bored you, haha. Nearly 2,500 words, jeez. I usually try to keep my posts around 1,000, but there are some I just have more I want to say.
See you next week, where I’ll be talking about the topic of “treasure” as a part of the OWLS blog tour. I’m excited to share what I’ve been working on with that!
Follow me on Twitter! @letstalkanime1
All images, besides the Under the Aegis cover, were directly from the creators’ tumblrs, I do not own these photos, all credits go to the artists.
Always Human: alwayshumancomic.tumblr.com