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The 10 Best Gay Graphic Novels You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Gay Graphic Novels You Should Have Read Already By Now!

Like art, gay romance, and good stories all at the same time? Don’t worry – we’ve got you! The best gay graphic novels are influential, unique things that defy many literary traditions and make for a gripping read, no matter your age or the time of day.

Not quite comic and not quite book, they take the depth of a fully written story and give it the theatrical appeal of a movie, allowing the reader to see their characters with their own eyes, experience the world that they live in, and better immerse themselves in the narrative itself.

A graphic novel is generally defined as any book-like volume that comes in an image-laden format, and it can be said that some graphic novels have more pictures than others. The core of the thing is that the book itself has images that represent the world inside the book and are used as instruments to help with storytelling.

Another thing that sets the best gay graphic novels aside from gay erotic novels or gay romances (or books in general) is the fact that, more often than not, a graphic novel will have both an author and an illustrator, which adds an extra level to the massive dedication required to produce one.

The writer and the author must work out what the characters look like and how they act, and the writing needs to stay in touch with the visual representation it is accompanied by. Just when writing a book wasn’t hard enough!

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Some of the most renowned and captivating graphic novels have masterfully woven queer themes into their narrative fabric, showcasing the profound connection between artistic brilliance and the LGBTQ+ community. It’s as if a flair for exceptional artistry is a natural extension of gay identity.

The triumvirate of young adult, graphic novels, and queer romance genres merges seamlessly, creating a rich tapestry of storytelling. In our curated list, we celebrate this blend, featuring works that range from celebrated masterpieces to hidden gems, from epic sagas to tender tales. Included are not just narratives but also explorations of diverse expressions of gay identity, from the playful – like collections of gay shot glasses that celebrate queer culture, to the explorative – such as gay BDSM books that delve into the more intense and complex aspects of queer relationships.

Additionally, we acknowledge the role of physical intimacy in these narratives by including references to sex toys for guys, highlighting how these tools can be integral in exploring and expressing one’s sexual identity and desires.

So, with this rich tapestry of content, let’s immerse ourselves in our top ten gay graphic novels. Prepare to read, witness, and yearn, as we journey through these pages filled with art, emotion, and an exploration of the gay experience.


That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest

oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks

what a funny place to rupture!

and now it is raining on the ailanthus

as I step out onto the window ledge

the tracks below me are smoky and

glistening with a passion for running

I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

Now I am quietly waiting for

the catastrophe of my personality

to seem beautiful again,

and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and

brown and white in trees,

snows and skies of laughter

always diminishing, less funny

not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of

the year, what does he think of

that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,

perhaps I am myself again.

From Mayakovsky by Frank O’Harav
Queer Literature

Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer is a tale about things not being like they once were, about looking to get away from it all, and about finally realizing that running away from secrets and sadness will not make them go away.

It’s been the same every year for as long as she can remember. Rose and her parents go to the beach for the peak of the summer, and she spends the hottest and finest days of the year with her best friend, Windy.

Windy has always been there for her and is there even now when things start not going exactly to plan. Rose’s parents aren’t sharing her enthusiasm to enjoy this year’s holidays and have spent most of the time since the family arrived arguing.

It’s up to them to find a solution to the conflict around them that threatens to pull everything they’ve ever known to pieces, and it’s up to them to find a place where they can understand what they mean to one another and how that affects their entire lives as a whole.

Tamaki is a well-accomplished author and playwright, and her skill and experience with the trade of writing are greatly apparent in this work.

Her cousin Jillian Tamaki is responsible for the soft yet gripping illustration that fills This One Summer’s pages, and their work together makes for an unforgettable experience of a book that one can’t put down, even after you’ve finished reading it for the first of many times.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Moonstruck by Grace Ellis

Romance! Fantastical creatures! Magic! What more could one ask for in a stunning, adventurous gay graphic novel about a werewolf barista and her girlfriend? But Moonstruck has more to offer than just sounding good.

It lives up to its sparkly, unique premise and much more, taking readers on a supernatural journey through the quirky, unusual, and unexpected that they won’t forget in a million years.

While the volumes of this wonderfully illustrated series (still ongoing to date!) are supported well by their backbone of wholesome romance, quaint dates, and a good dose of relationship angst and friendship development, to boil it down as a cutesy heart-wrencher would be unjust.

Moonstruck isn’t without its fair share of real, world-shaking drama and throws its characters into the eternal conflict between good and evil more often than they’d like. Do people in the fantasy world never get to sit down and enjoy their time with one another? It seems not, as the characters of Moonstruck are more often on their feet trying to stop the big bad than off of them.

Riddled with on-point humor and witty subplots, Moonstruck’s depth is never ending, and its colorful, well-developed setting only adds quality to the central tale.

Illustrator Kate Leth – already well-known for her work on the original Adventure Time graphic novels – makes every page an amazing, unique work of art and puts an almost impossible amount of thought into the tiniest details – all pieces of the wonderful puzzle that is Moonstruck.

Moonstruck by Grace Ellis - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Fence by C. S. Pacat

Fencing is certainly a unique basis to put together a graphic novel, but if anyone can smash the concept out of the park, it would be best-selling Australian author Pacat.

Drawn by comic artist Johanna the Mad, colored by Joana Lafuente, and with text lettered by Jim Campbell, each volume of fence is a well-polished piece of art, sharp like a rapier, and with a pointier wit than even the most talented champion of the sport. 

Fence follows in the steps of illegitimate fencing prodigy Nicholas Cox. Cox was recently accepted into a high-brow private school, and now he’s between a rock and a hard place – end to end in competition with his half-brother at just about everything that makes up the school day. And that’s not to mention Seiji Katayama.

Nicholas’s first match against the mysterious young man ends in a deathly embarrassing defeat, leaving the two enemies from the very start. The problem isn’t helped by the fact that the pair are roommates, and isn’t made any more simple by the fact that the two slowly begin to realize that they are more alike than they could ever admit.

A well-received and praised read for all graphic novel fans, everything about Fence makes it a masterwork of inclusivity, tastefulness, and exploration of the self – taking each of its characters through very real journeys of emotion, success, failure, and personal transformation until the reader is left rooting for every last one of them til the very end. 

Fence by C. S. Pacat - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson

The Goldie Vance series is the story of a Florida girl with a big heart, a big dream, and an even bigger well of curiosity. Marigold ‘Goldie’ Vance has all of these things and more, and it’s good that she does, too.

Her resourcefulness makes her invaluable to running her father’s resort, which they call home, and even puts her in the shoes of a detective when things about town start to not add up.

Time for Goldie Vance to take charge.

Taking a rakish, retro approach to shaking up the well-explored genre of crime fiction, Goldie Vance offers more than just its stunning art style and witty writing, transforming volume after volume of its titles into page-turning sources of literary addiction.

Before you know it, you won’t be able to get enough of this sharp queer girl and her ass-kicking antics, and reading Goldie Vance will be a necessity of the day.

The top-notch illustrations of Brittney Williams give Goldie Vance an endearing, warm, and touching edge that makes it irresistible, and the novels as a whole are perfect examples of the heartfelt artistic genuineness that the best gay graphic novels have to offer the world.

That’s not to say that the series’ writing falls behind, however. Larson is an experienced comic writer, and it shows in the quality and balance of each volume’s plot. Together, the two approaches of storytelling and expression come together to make something that is truly unique and exquisite, making it a wholesome read for all ages.

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker

This is a list of the best gay graphic novels rather than history books, but the story that Queer: A Graphic History tells is more intriguing and gripping than even some of the best fictional stories out there. Don’t underestimate the book because of its eye-catching style and modern appearance.

Barker is here to conquer all competition with this one, producing one of the most comprehensive overviews of the LGBTQ community ever made.

She isn’t scared of taking the issue head-on, and no apologies are made in her bold reclamations of culture, but at the same time, the book doesn’t come across as preachy or too packed with information – the perfect balance for both allies and queer people learning about our history.

Queer: A Graphic History visually explores how we came to understand gender and sexuality as we do today and uses the colorful representation to crack some of the biggest issues dividing our world wide open.

Getting people to read books can be hard sometimes even if the book in question is exquisite – trust us, we’d know – but how can you say no to something so enticingly bright and engaging?

Backed up and empowered by the talented illustration skills of Jules Scheele, the book wastes not a page in getting its positive message across and dissects even the most complicated issues with ease thanks to its valuable dual-medium approach. What writing takes ten pages to achieve, Queer: A Graphic History achieves in one life-filled piece of art.

Queer A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier

You guessed it – this is a cheerleader story and a good one too. With a relatable narrative of conquering social expectations and the challenges of trying to grow up as your person amongst people all trying to grow up like one another, Cheer Up hits all the birds of queer young adult life with one well-crafted stone. 

The story follows Annie and BeeBee – two girls who were friends once upon a time, but only once upon a time.

Annie is being pressured against her will to join the cheerleader squad when she’s already busy trying to make her way through school as a lesbian who’d rather be alone than talk to other girls – let alone dance and hang out with them – and BeeBee is a trans girl who Annie sees as far better at making strangers happy and playing up to public expectations than paying attention to her friends. 

But not all is lost for the pair. As they will soon find out, they have much more in common than they think.

Val Wise – the illustrator of this fine work – is a well-rounded and practiced artist, and his unique style gives just as much character and personality to the book’s protagonists as their actual actions do.

It’s almost like readers can see the emotions and the mental progressions that the characters have going through their heads just by taking in the contents of the page. Is Cheer Up worth reading? You bet your tassels!

Cheer Up Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

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The Backstagers by James Tynion IV

Transferring to a new school is a classic theme in young adult fiction, but not many characters have as hard of a time handling the change as Jory. All the kids at his new school hate him and leave him wishing that he had never been born.

All that is, except the stage crew. Despite the fact that they’re considered quite close to the lowest point on the school food chain, the stage crew understands Jory and doesn’t judge him as simply being the new kid.

At first, he feels a little strange at falling in with such a strange assortment of characters, but before long he learns that he has made the best decision of his life.

The stage crew has a secret: a grand, fantastical, and unbelievable one that adds a whole new world to Jory’s understanding of what lies behind the big red curtain – literally. The magical and impossible lie strong in his future, and nothing will ever be the same boring way again.

Tynion’s already-established writing talent is the perfect combination with Rian Sygh’s gripping, eye-catching art style, and together they make every volume of The Backstagers an unforgettable experience for the ages.

It is a tale of finally finding a place where you belong in the most unlikely of surroundings and letting fate guide you to perfect unexpected circumstances. The Backstagers has it all – romance, adventure, theater-geekiness, and a level of personal transformation that would make most other high school stories blush.

The Backstagers by James Tynion IV - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Be Gay, Do Comics (Compiler) by The Nib

Even though Be Gay, Do Comics is a comic compilation of great wit and comedy, it is also the second non-fiction entry onto this list. We promise that it deserves a spot on the list nonetheless and makes up for its historical context with a sheer edge, talent, and inspiration.

Compiled by the political satire group ‘The Nib’, famous for a wide range of other nonfiction comics and graphic strips, Be Gay, Do Comics embodies everything good about the artistic streak of the queer community.

Full of color, variety, and personal experience galore, the comics in its pages cover countless crucial aspects of gay history and life as a queer person, taking on ancient and modern history alike with a rakish yet accurate take on even the most serious subjects.

Be Gay, Do Comics includes the work of other 30 cartoonists and the sheer scale and diversity of art styles that the volume possesses give it something to offer everybody, regardless of art or humor preferences. Diverse and unique, just like the community that made it!

Drawing you in with witty jokes and talented illustrations, the book makes you stay with the sheer depth and attentiveness of its commentary. Every page is a work of expression, showcasing the love and unity of the LGBTQ community and the great achievements that its members have made.

Reading this book is a journey of pride and representation and is an experience sure to make the heart of any ally or queer person bloom. 

Be Gay, Do Comics (Compiler) by The Nib - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Flamer by Mike Curato

Dipping back into fiction has never been more satisfying than with the fittingly fiery, conflicted pages of Flamer. Many other graphic novels on this list grapple with homophobia and the challenges of living in a judgmental society, but what about when that judgment comes from within? What about the one who doesn’t want to accept who you truly are? Is… that the same as you? 

That’s the exact position that Flamer’s main character Aiden Navarro finds himself in. He’s heard one too many jokes and seen queer people being made fun of one too many times, and it’s made being gay… scary. Not something that he wants to be associated with in any way. He tries to make himself hate boys. Hate everything to do with them. But will it keep working?

But, on the other hand, he knows something is wrong with his expectations of life. He can’t stop the feelings, the discomfort, and the fondness in his heart for the most special person in his life – Elias.

He can’t stop thinking about him, even though tries to keep justifying it to himself, and he doesn’t dare to consider what he would do if he truly listened to the voice in the back of his head telling him to take things further.

Flamer is a journey through self-acceptance that easily rivals the external dramas presented by the other novels on this list. Sometimes your greatest enemy is yourself, and sometimes the hardest thing to accept is that you were wrong.

Flamer by Mike Curato - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

A memoir second, and an exploration of what it means to be queer first, Bechdel explores her life as a young lesbian and as a growing adult spending as much time uncovering and trying to understand the past as adjusting and changing to live happily in the present. 

A large part of the book focuses upon Alison’s father, Bruce Bechdel, who was simultaneously an English teacher and the manager of her hometown’s funeral home, nicknamed ‘The Fun Home’. She thought that she had her father figured out and that she could summarize her childhood spent with him as distant and lacking any true connection, but that impression was not long-lasting. 

It turns out that Alison’s father had been gay all along, and it was only after his death and Alison’s own coming out that she was offered the key to unlocking her father’s real life – the existence he led only inside his mind, all while standing in the shoes of a different person entirely.

A husband, a father, and a straight literary teacher. The absent father that she thought she had known was nothing more than a shadow, as vague to the real Bruce Bechdel as he was to Alison. 

The real emotions of Fun Home are enhanced to a fine point with Alison’s illustrations, giving her yet another outlet to channel her experiences onto paper and share them with the world she is still trying to figure out how to live happily with and within.

Fun Home A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel - Best Gay Graphic Novels

eBook | Physical

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