It’s December! Gifts, snow, general frigid cheer! Regressive discourse and bizarre gimmicky marketing choices! Want to pick up some gimmick-free books that will absolutely not be published by the holidays? Look no further! (And listen, any of these still make great gifts. Just… send the recipient a card or an IOU or something.)
GlimmeringAlder & Vexingly Yours
Ends December 18
Queer creators have come together to create a legion of aquatic, fantastic queer stories in STRANGE WATERS. I’ve always been fascinated by the narrative power of water: because it’s ever-present in our lives as, well, mammals, it has tremendous flexibility as a metaphor and can reference back to any number of folktales or myths in any number of cultures. STRANGE WATERS immerses itself in water’s myriad meanings and uses, with stories ranging from swampy discoveries to maritime adventures.
Laurence Dea Dionne
Ends December 21
So, my dad’s partner is really into meditation. I’m not, so much, but she’s studied not just the practice of meditation, but also its psychological implications and therapeutic uses. What this means, of course, is that I’ve absorbed some information by a sort of epistemological osmosis, and have learned some unexpected things: primarily, that simply engaging in mindful practice in a semi-isolated environment can unleash intensely powerful, somewhat repressed emotions. Zen & The Ephemeral is about that experience: the story of a young woman who, after believing she had conquered her depression, re-encountered her demons in force at a meditation center. The story hopes to be about struggle and growth, a lifeline in the hazy dark.
Alice Clarke & Rob Zwetsloot
Ends December 22
Aliens! England! Queer kiddos! Star Bright is the story of a wish upon a star that became very tangible, very fast, in the form of a young alien girl crashing down in lonely teenager Zoe’s garden. Clarke and Zwetsloot have already completed (and published!) the story as a webcomic, and this campaign is meant to bring the story to print.
Ends December 24
Anna Roschker meant to move to Berlin for a few months and ended up staying forever. Of course, it wasn’t that simple: moving is hard, and being in your 20s is hard, and moving from the country to the city in your 20s is… hard. In new city – same me? Roschker tells the story of finding a new home and growing up, with gloriously un-glorious illustrations and a sense of humor that reminds me of Julia Wertz’s own coming of age comics.
Iron Circus Comics
Ends December 28
Letters for Lucardo: Fortunate Beasts is the sequel (the second of four volumes) to Otava Heikkilä’s absolute hit Letters for Lucardo. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, imagine this: There is a vampire. He is aristocratic, ageless, and beautiful. There is also a scribe. He is 61, working class, and aging. They meet, sparks fly, and Heikkilä captures the energy in a tender, absolutely 18+ this is not for kids graphic novel. And now she’s continued the story in a second volume! Please note: Letters for Lucardo is an erotic graphic novel series (the Kickstarter page is both safe to browse and extremely clear about that fact), and Fortunate Beasts is a sequel that will read better with knowledge of the first book. You can get both through the campaign!
Ends December 31
Radify starts with the death of a journalist and develops into a grand search for truth in the speculative, gene-editing near-future. This book is actually the first in a prospective three, each following the journey of a different person in the late journalist’s life; this first volume follows Cadence Morrow, the journalist’s girlfriend, as she navigates her grief, her curiosity, and the world’s demands on her own body. Cadence is intersex, a fact that her story deals with intimately; creator Emily Mode is not, though the Kickstarter page assures readers that she is working closely with activists, educators, and people of intersex experience to make sure that Radify is respectful and as fairly representative as a single narrative can be.
Elizabeth LaPensée & Michael Sheyahshe
Alternate History Comics Inc.
Ends January 30
MOONSHOT is an award-wining, multi-volume comic anthology with work by all-indigenous creators. This volume is focused on indigenous futurisms, telling stories of the “past, present, and future as being a nonlinear reality.” The stories use familiar tropes—robots, aliens, and parallel dimensions all show up—but they also tie into a distinct storytelling tradition outside of mainstream narrative structure. If you want to work on exposing yourself to stories outside of the white western tradition, MOONSHOT is a fantastic resource.
Dan Sheehan & Sage Coffey
Funding until complete
This month’s Unbound feature is I AM NOT A WOLF, which is the story of you: a human man, who is most certainly not a wolf. You have two legs (not four paws), a tie (that hangs around your normal, furless neck), and an appetite for normal human food (including but not limited to various meats). Dan Sheehan has kindly neatened up and expanded on your Twitter account to help other people understand your story, and Sage Coffey has provided gorgeous illustrations. A lot of them seem to have wolves in them, but don’t worry about that. You are not a wolf.