New graphic novels showcase the spectrum of sexuality, the complexity of queerness, and the history of trans joy and resistance.

Our Work Is Everywhere

Syan Rose. Arsenal Pulp, Apr.

Conversations with trans organizers, artists, and others, illustrated with strong portraiture and impressionistic scenes, showcase a breadth of experience and activism. Each story is rendered in its own color scheme, such as the bold red, black, and white of “Martial Arts Is the Most Fluent Asian Language I Speak,” the muted golds and blues of “We Give Money to Trans People,” or the pink/taupe combo of “Everything You Love About New Orleans Is Because of Black People.” PW’s review called the book “an inspirational volume for current and aspiring queer community workers to ‘keep showing up’ to build a better world together.”


The Secret to Superhuman Strength

Alison Bechdel. HMH, May

Fun Home creator Bechdel’s latest delves into her lifelong preoccupation with exercise. Throughout the graphic novel, which PW’s starred review said alternates “between soul-searching angst and dry self-satire,” Bechdel traces how, the more she works to improve herself physically, the more she gets in her own way. “Eventually she begins to suspect that her fanatical focus on a variety of exhausting workouts offers her a way to avoid difficult issues, particularly in her relationships,” the review continued. “Bechdel’s ever-elegant drawings, with nuanced coloring provided by her partner Holly Rae Taylor, perfectly match the tonal shifts of her kaleidoscopic narrative.”


Sexuality: A Graphic Guide

Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele. Icon, June

Barker and Scheele bring their “hopeful and welcoming attitude” (per PW’s review of 2016’s Queer) to this eccentric look at the history and theory of sexuality, depicting the emotions around sex and gender expression as a tongue-in-cheek house of horrors complete with creepy clowns and fun house mirrors. Illustrated pop culture figures, including Frank-n-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and a recognizable but slightly askew Scooby-Doo gang, recur throughout the text, offering a way into the frequently complex subject matter: the erasure of bisexuality, for instance, or the elements of polynormativity, or the distinction between wanting sex and consenting to it.


Stone Fruit

Lee Lai. Fantagraphics, May

This “subtly layered graphic novel debut” (per PW’s starred review) explores the fraught relationship of Bron and Ray, a queer couple playing mentors and aunties to Ray’s niece Nessie, and what it means to be emotionally vulnerable with loved ones. “Lai’s cinematic juxtapositions and dreamlike fugues give visual structure to a breakup story that’s heavy on processing, sharpening its edges,” the review said. “Lai also skillfully captures the ways family dynamics and histories play out in romantic relationships, and how heavily those legacies can land. The result is a poignant and mature rumination on how people change, and change each other.”


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