Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Comics, graphic novels, and diversity

With the rise of crowdfunding, and the increased demand for diversity and representation (especially in children's and YA literature), there have been more and more artistic projects that gathered a lot of support from readers to bring that diversity to the surface. In this post, I brought you some of my recent favorites from the world of comics and graphic novels. I think they are not only great reads, but also very interesting projects that deserve more awareness.

Moonshot: The Indigenous comics collection
The first volume of this wonderful series came out last year, following a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. It contains a collection of stories created by indigenous writers and artists from the United States and Canada. The artwork is stunning, and the stories are amazing and diverse combining several genres, styles, and emotions. The freebies and swag that came with the Kickstarter were also very much worth having (all of my bookmarks are from them). Since as a teacher I often run into students having only the vaguest idea of contemporary indigenous cultures and art, I think it is a very important (not to mention great) project to promote.
The Kickstarer for the second volume is running right now - it is not too late to jump in!

Elements: Fire (A comics anthology by creators of color)
This is the first installment of an anthology series, created by writers and artists of color, inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement. The Kickstarter just recently ended, and the book will be out soon! The artwork we have seen so far is gorgeous, the cast of stories and characters promises amazing diversity in themes, and the volume has an impressive lineup of creators. You can follow editor Taneka Stotts on Twitter for updates!

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls
Edited by Hope Nicholson (the same lady who edited Moonshot), this collection was also born with the help of Kickstarter, and contains stories about geeky love. I can honestly say that this book changed my life. There are many types of love, and many emotions contained in the stories, all presented with humor, and empathy, and great skill in artistic expression. There is also a great range of gender identities and sexualities represented; it is indeed a diverse book. Presented with pop culture references, and all things geeky.
Nicholson mentioned that there might be a "Secret Loves of Geek Boys" in the works; keep an eye on Kickstarter and her news feed!

I know it might not seem like at first blink that a lesbian BDSM romance would make this list of diverse books, but bear with me. I am the odd Internet inhabitant who knew next to nothing about BDSM subculture (other than "Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT it"), let alone read a graphic novel centered on it... And yet when I read a review on Hanna Givens' blog during her 2015 A to Z of LGBT+ comic book characters, it sounded like such a fun story, I had to check it out.
It really is. It is a great story. It is a love story, with a whole lot of awkward cuteness and humor and very real characters with very real problems and flaws. It does not sensationalize BDSM culture, and also doesn't portray it as some kind of a dark, deviant thing - it is simply something people enjoy doing. The artwork is gorgeous, and while it is definitely NSFW, it stays on the tasteful and suggestive side. It was originally posted on Deviantart (still available on there for free); Stjepan Šejić is an extremely talented artist, whose characters can show a range of emotions just by facial expression and body language.

Now this is, obviously, an incomplete and subjective selection. I encourage everyone to browse freely in the world of diverse comics and graphic novels, and let us know about YOUR favorites!

(Or maybe make an A to Z theme out of them? ;) )


Carrie-Anne said...

I got into graphic novels when I took a class in YA Literature. Some of the ones which I read for that class were Anya's Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (about a Russian immigrant); Skim, by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (about a Japanese–Canadian private school girl with a same-sex crush on a teacher); and Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (about the upheaval in Iranian society after the Ayatollah Khomeini's takeover). I enjoyed Persepolis so much, I went ahead and read the sequel, even though only the first book was on the syllabus of graphic novels to choose from. This year, I also read Gene Luen Yang's companion graphic novels Boxers and Saints, telling the story of the Boxer Rebellion from both sides.

Unknown said...

Great Comics collection! I Love to read Comics. I am myself an essay writer and providing assignment help Sydney working with one of the company. I will share this blog with my students who are looking for academic help from the Assignment Help Website in Australia. I appreciate the way it’s written here. I will be happy recommend this useful website to my students who are also like to read comics.

Anonymous said...

I have also read Gene Luen Yang's companion graphic novels Boxers. I liked very much comics and graphic novels, when I was in school. I work at Elite assignment, providing assignment service in UK. I would like to share with our UK students. Appreciate such stories.

Unknown said...

I agree with you Sarah. Such a great comics collection! I am providing UCAS personal statement help at Personal Statement Folks. I love reading comics books and will share with our UK students, who also like to read such comics.