The comics industry isn’t exactly known for equal representation among its characters, but many flourishing webcomics are taking positive steps towards introducing equality to their storylines. Here are five that successfully depict queer characters without reducing plots to just gender or sexuality:
Girls with Slingshots
Created by the talented Danielle Corsetto in 2004, Girls With Slingshots follows a group of twenty-somethings, including protagonist Hazel Tellington and her friends. With a smart sense of humor, this daily—Monday through Friday—comic tackles storylines that range from the hilarious to the emotional. Corsetto doesn’t shy away from exploring complicated relationships or from normalizing such relationships with ease. Readers are introduced to a dynamic cast that includes the bisexual/label-defying Jamie and her asexual girlfriend Erin, editor extraordinaire Thea and her roller derby wife Mimi, and professional dominatrix Clarice and her new boyfriend Joshua (who recently shared a very sweet arc). You can begin reading Girls with Slingshots here.
The subtitle of this one reads: “A comic about centaurs in the American old west.” Intrigued? Hotblood! is set in a mostly realistic 1800’s with one major difference: centaurs exist, and there’s nothing strange about that. Readers are invited to suspend disbelief and step into a story that’s a pretty exciting Western. James Rook, our leading centaur, finds himself embroiled in a complicated situation when he’s sent to work for steel magnate Asa Langley. Updates are every Tuesday and Thursday, and Hotblood! can be found here.
Check Please! follows the almost unbearably adorable Eric Bittle, “former Georgia junior figure skating champion,” as he enters his first year at college and joins the university hockey team. Created by Yale graduate Ngozi Ukazu, Check Please! offers readers a charming look into the team dynamics of this lively cast of hockey players and college students. Just over a year after its inception, the comic has already garnered a faithful fan base with its irresistibly cute art and delightful writing. The first page of Check Please! can be found here.
Knights-Errant and its reboot, Knights-Errant: Pavane, follows a group of mercenary knights during a time of war. Years after it first launched, it surprised readers by becoming one of the few comics to feature strong trans characters. The comic has since been restarted on a different site, but both versions are readily available online. Knights-Errant in its original incarnation can be found here, and Knights-Errant: Pavane, the reboot, can be read here.
The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
I saved the best for last: TJ and Amal is a gorgeous saga created by EK Weaver. After calling off his arranged marriage and coming out to his family, Amal is unceremoniously disowned in California mere days before his sister is set to graduate in Rhode Island. He meets TJ, who has his own reasons for needing to get to the other side of the country, and, after a truly ill-advised number of drinks, they strike a deal: Amal will drive them to Providence in time for his sister’s graduation if TJ will take care of everything else. This completed series is a lovingly crafted masterpiece that tracks an intimate journey that simply can’t be missed. Join TJ and Amal at the beginning here.