The Best All Ages Comics for Pride, from Lumberjanes to The Backstagers

In recent years, all ages comics and graphic novels have proven to be some of the best LGBTQ stories in the industry. Several of the most heart tugging and captivating titles are written or drawn by LGBTQ creators; meanwhile, other artists and writers have improved on queer representation, pulling away from tokenizing depictions and addressing LGBTQ stories in a more respectful, organic way. Whether queer kids want to see themselves in comics, parents wants to educate their childrens and themselves on LGBTQ matters or someone, regardless of age and sexuality, is in need of a good read, these stories will satisfy anyone.

One of the most popular all ages comics in recent years is Lumberjanes, and its positive reception is for good reason. Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types is not the average summer camp, with cryptid beasts and supernatural mysteries around every corner for the characters to uncover.

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With a premise like this, the comic easily appeals to kids who adore the likes of Scooby Doo, Gravity Falls and Adventure Time. Furthermore, along with the characters being tons of fun, the cast includes several LGBTQ members, like Jo, who is the de facto leader and a transgender girl, Molly and Mal, the later two making an adorable couple. The creative crew behind this series, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson and Brooke Allen, deliver on capturing the wonder of camp while also proving that accepting queer identities should be the norm for children and adults.

For Disney fans, this graphic novel captures the scale, romance and style of movies like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, but Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker has a queer twist. While Prince Sebastian’s parents are searching for a bride for their son, Sebastian is looking for a dressmaker for himself, and he meets Frances. Together, Frances helps Sebastian become Lady Crystallia, who is an overnight, fashion sensation.

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Sebastian bounces between identifying as a girl and boy, and he finds empowerment and confidence in his femme identity of Crystallia. Sebastian is a genderqueer character, who challenges the gender binary, making him a role model for kids. His struggle to come out to his parents is relatable, and the end of the book, without spoiling it, is an excellent lesson for parents trying to better understand how to support their children’s identities. The comic is also a successful romance by developing the two characters as individuals first, and, in turn, their relationship is more engaging.

Bouncing back and forth between the past and present, the main timeline follows Mia as she becomes part of an intergalactic crew that repairs abandoned architecture throughout the stars; however, the past focuses on Mia’s romance in boarding school with another girl, making it the perfect graphic novel for space opera fans. Tillie Walden blends science-fiction with fantasy, creating a lore that leaves readers wanting to explore the deepest corners of this colorful galaxy. Furthermore, the writing endears fans to the crew of characters, making them feel like a part of this found family by the end of the book.

The comic also features only LGBTQ people, treating them as the norm, the same way many mainstream comics have treated straight people for decades. Along with this, the graphic novel addresses the microaggressions within the queer community with a supervisor invalidating Elliot’s non-binary identity. While the story shows how harmful misgendering someone can be, it also shows how important it is to stand up for those being invalidated, with Elliot’s friends standing up for them and explaining why misgendering someone is harmful, making it an educational and tear jerking read.

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For a nostalgia trip, Heavy Vinyl delivers, making it perfect for The Powerpuff Girls and Totally Spies fans who want to share similar stories with their younger relatives. Carly Usdin’s writing captures the fun antics and embarassing moments of childhood, and Nina Vakueva’s pencils, Irene Flores and Lea Caballero’s inks and Natalia Nesterenko’s colors capture the youthfulness, puppy love and excitement of being a teen with this rock-n-roll girl gang.

Following a group of girls working at their local record store, readers can find a character that speaks directly to them, whether it’s the hyper femme Maggie, the goth hacker D, the music expert Kennedy or one of the others. Furthermore, the comic is full of love, with protagonist Chris trying to navigate her crush on Maggie, D attempting to play it cool around her local hero Carmen and the unfoldings of two long term relationships with Irene and Simone, as well as Kennedy and Logan.

After transferring to an all-boys school, Jory finds his home amongst the stage crew. While this comic acts as a great coming of age story with plenty of found family, as well as love, it also captures the magic that happens behind the scenes in theatre, literally. James Tynion IV blends realism and fantasy in a way that emulates the magic of friendship, love and theatre many techies find in real life.

Meanwhile Rian Sygh’s art and Walter Baiamonte’s colors show boys from all sorts of backgrounds being proud of who they are, regardless of looks or identity. The art work also embraces boys showing emotions, breaking away from the toxic masculinity depicted too often in popular media. The comic is perfect for the tech kids who feel unseen, as well as the D&D players who are able to create magic out of thin air.

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All age comics and graphic novels have seen a boom in amazing LGBTQ stories, and here are a few of the many greats to check out this Pride.

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