Julia’s Pick of the Week: Be Gay, Do Comics!

Be Gay, Do Comics! Queer History, Memoir, and Satire from The Nib is an Ignatz Award-winning comic anthology edited by Matt Bors, featuring contributions by Sasha Velour, Matt Lubchansky, Melanie Gillman, Maia Kobabe, and many, many other indie cartoonists.

The book explores a wide variety of different aspects of the LGBTQIA+ experience, containing autobiographical comics, comics about gay individuals in history, and comics exploring the intersections of race, religion, and sexuality in other countries. They’re funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking in turn, but they are above all celebrations of marginalized identities.

As with any anthology collection, your mileage will inevitably vary. While I enjoyed just about every comic in the book, I particularly loved Joey Alison Sayers’ “A Lifetime of Coming Out,” in which a trans woman finds herself facing more shock at her admission that she’s never seen Titanic than she does when she discloses her transgender identity, as well as Matt Lubchansky’s “Brands Love Pride,” which satirizes the corporate exploitation of Pride Month. I also appreciated the editors’ focus on intersectional identities, which led to the inclusion of comics such as “Decolonizing Queerness in the Philippines” by Trinidad Escobar and “A Covert Gaze at Conservative Gays” by Sam Wallman (both of which, I think, are fairly self-explanatory).

I may be biased due to years of adoring the format, but I never feel as close to a particular creator than when I get to see their comics. Everyone’s drawings and writing styles are so utterly unique that even the most sardonic comics feel intensely personal. The contributors of this anthology each take a massive risk, revealing their fears and insecurities so that you can better step into their shoes and understand their experiences in the margins of society. And really, what is more queer than allowing yourself to be radically vulnerable through your art?

A panel from “Dancing with Pride” by Maia Kobabe

You can find the book in the catalog here. If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes and The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen.

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