June’s Small Press Bites features three queer stories by queer creators — just in time to stave off that post-Pride slump!
The second in her Meet Cute series of “gentle queer stories,” Postseason Blues is a familiar rueful tale of doomed love many a queer woman can relate to — crushing on a straight girl. Jen plays on an adult rec league soccer team, where she meets a Suburu driving, earnestly supportive striker named Sarah. The best thing about this little book (which you can check out for free online) is the way Kristen Rosa handles the passage of time. Jen isn’t pining hopelessly, but the crush stays on through season changes and good natured ribbing from her queer circle of friends. The art is black and white, and while the figures are simple, Rosa has a great sense of anatomy and movement — while there’s not a ton of soccer-playing action, we do get some fun poses and falls. Rosa also has a knack for facial expressions, her well-designed characters conveying a lot with a tight grin or eyeroll. It’s a short, soft read, and if you’re looking for more, check out the first Meet Cute, too.
— Kat Overland
Gamer Girl & Vixen
Kristi Mcdowell, Sean Ian Mills, Gemma Moody, Taylor Esposito, and Emily Kudla
Joy Cat Comics
Gamer Girl & Vixen is a stunning bright colorful super world that proves what indies can do with concepts like superheroes. We follow two budding supervillain women who are falling in love and discovering what they really want in life. It’s a story that cuts past a lot of queer respectability politics by exploring queer people who really just want to steal stuff. The book has a defined and fun art style that I really adored. It’s lovely that in the indie space you can really break from the house styles of publishers and have a world that feels very much it’s own. You have the dorky gamer girl who is allowed to be a bad person sometimes and Vixen who is freeing herself from her awful life at night dealing with having to hide her queerness. The story has some really funny scenes, the romance is super compelling and the action is a ton of fun. It’s amazing to see such a fresh take on capes coming from some own voice folks. There are small little flaws here and there, and the cast is mostly white/cis folks. However, it’s hard to knock points off of it because it’s such a tight book everything feels necessary. I was taken away by this cute world where all the cool people are queer and hope one day they create more.
— Alexis Sergio
Taneka Stotts and Sara DuVall
Deja Brew is a combination of a few of my favorite things–magic as a fact of life, Sara DuVall’s beautiful artwork, and tea. It follows Tobias, an employee at a magic coffee shop called Bijou, where a mysterious customer tests his magic skills.
The world Stotts and DuVall wave in Deja Brew is an intriguing one. Everything about it is introduced matter-of-factly; the writing doesn’t dwell on the ins and outs, instead immersing you wholly through beautiful artwork, believable dialog, and realistic character expressions. You’re breezed along on an ever-growing plot; while not every question is answered, you don’t need it to be.
Deja Brew is a neat little comic easily finished in one sitting. Though I’d love to see more in this universe–the character designs and worldbuilding are so neat that it’s shame to leave them so quickly–it’s a fun, breezy read with enough growth and action to get you invested quickly.
— Melissa Brinks