cover image The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions

The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions

Edited by Alison Halsall and Jonathan Warren. Univ. of Mississippi, $30 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4968-4135-3

Halsall and Warren, both professors at York University, bring together a rigorous collection of essays that examine the rich history of LGBTQ comics, from the mid-1960s to the present. The essays “represent and manifest the collective urgency of queer togetherness,” as the editors write in their introduction. Michelle Ann Abate’s “Rude Girls and Dangerous Women” traces the history of lesbian comics in the 1980s and 1990s and the “queer female anger” and defiance that resonated in publications from such pioneers as Alison Bechdel and Jennifer Camper. Sheena C. Howard’s “BLK Cartoons” is a deep dive into the ahead-of-its-time comics produced by American monthly BLK Magazine in the late 1980s and early 1990s that explored Black lesbian identity, and “Comics, Community, and Kickass Women” documents a conversation between Halsall, Warren, and Jennifer Camper—“Creating evil or flawed queer characters is a privilege that comes only with having many opportunities for stories about multitudes of LGBTQ+ experiences,” according to Camper. Halsall and Warren feature an impressive diversity of perspectives, examining a wealth of groundbreaking comics that have, over the years, combined politics and personal experience. Smart and wide-ranging, this is a worthy contribution to the history of comics. (Oct.)