8 books I bought from Flame Con to sate my need for LGBT indie books

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Aug 25, 2017

Flame Con is a New York convention with a focus on LGBTQIA creators and stories. There are panels, there are improv groups, there is singing.

Most importantly, though, there are books. Tables and tables of glorious books. And, chances are, most of them aren't ones you've heard of.

But ... maybe you should have? Maybe I should have. So I clutched some coin in my hands and used what I had to pick up some stories I'd never read before.

And this is what I wound up with. You know, in case you needed some recommendations to help feed your ever-growing comic book habit.

Magical Boy Basil

by: Rebeckah Murray and Jill Marie Hackett

A free-to-read online comic whose first issue recently dropped in physical form, Magical Boy Basil has everything you want form a magical girl/boy story: cute outfits, a talking animal (a platypus!!!) and mysteryious boys. It's got a haunted house, it's intersectional in its representation, and also it's a queer book starring young people.

Ramen Robot Cafe

by: Nika

Confession: this mini is not explicitly queer, unless you assume all people are gay unless told otherwise. Which I do. Regardless, this is a story about a brother and sister working at a struggling ramen shop. Then a robot shows up. I feel like, at this point, you either know you want to read this or you know you don't. It's adorable, though, if that helps.

No Hero

by: Nika

I double dipped with Nika! No Hero has a much more specifically lesbian narrative in that it stars two women who are dating. It's a sci-fi adventure with a bit of a Logan's Run element. No Hero is a one-off comic, but it's satisfying, and it's visual aesthetic (which involves an Order of the Dragon, biomechanoid enhancements, and big swords) is solid.

Jed the Undead

by: Andi Santagata

Not explicitly queer (although very, very explicit and NSFW), this story of a demon struggling with his burgeoning sexuality in a world of humans will feel relevant to, well... anyone really. But especially queer folks, I think. The plot is pretty basic: a young devil discovers that his burning desires cause literal fire, and struggles to figure out how to live in a world where his sexuality makes him feel isolated and alone from everyone else around him. I can't imagine anyone not finding Jacob's woes at least a little relatable.

Cloudia & Rex

by: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri

This story (published by Lion Forge) is about three women (two kids and their mom) embarking on a move after the death of their father/husband. It is also a story of gods from different cultures escaping monotheism and entering the bodies of these women. Cloudia & Rex is intersectional and very youthful. The art is dope, and I like how all these different figures from different world religions all come together in a common cause. The first two issues are out as of my reading, with one more issue in the minis-series on the way.

Saturn's Call

by: Joe Corallo and Robby Barrett

A touching all-ages book that mashes fantasy with a kind of X-Men vibe, Saturn's Call does a solid job of thrusting the reader into the protagonist (for this issue, at least) Colby's confused position. There's at least one genderqueer character present, but any tale surrounded about teens discovering they have powers and are hated for them has an inherently queer subtext. I really liked the color-work especially, which evokes water-coloring a little.

The Magic Fish

by Trungles

So this is a comic take on The Little Mermaid with a little bit of a Vietnamese fairy tale called The Magic Fish, which is a Cinderalla story. Trungles comes at both from the perspective of a queer person and an immigrant, which makes a lot of sense for both stories. Moreover, the line work and choices of color are absolutely lovely.

Destiny, NY

by Pat Shand, Manuel Preitano, and Jim Campbell

(Full disclosure: I know and am friends with Pat Shand.) Destiny, NY is a story that reimagines child stars growing out of their stardom as magical girls growing out of their destiny. It's a story that questions the nature of destiny and features no shortage of queer romance. This is a full trade paperback with two more on the way.