Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond “Gay” and “Straight”

This color anthology from LGBT comic publisher Northwest Press collects stories involving sexual orientations and relationships that fall outside the typical binary definitions and boundaries.

As you might expect, many are autobiographical, with cartoonists visually discussing their preferences and coming-out experiences. This is the best kind of comic to drive understanding of unusual (to many readers) perspectives, since there’s nothing more affecting than hearing directly what it feels like and what drives, for example, coming out as trans (as in Alex Dahm’s piece) or being a gay man who likes transmen (by Bill Roundy, with nifty rainbow coloring).

The book starts out strong, with Kate Leth’s taco strip and some of her pieces explaining bisexuality. It’s a good introduction, since she talks simply and directly to the reader while drawing what look like demented newspaper strips. They’re approachable and friendly.

More visually symbolic is Agnes Czaja’s piece, using a board game branching track as metaphor, although it appears to have been reproduced from pencils, giving it a washed-out look. Josh Trujillo and Dave Valeza’s story shows that love (or a crush) isn’t necessarily reciprocated, but the learning is valuable. (It also has some incredibly distinctive red-and-green coloring by Zoe Chevat that should be eye-searing but somehow works.)

Lena H. Chandhok was a new discovery for me, but I liked her contribution, “Comics Made Me Queer!”, so much I’ll be seeking out more of her work. I share her appreciation for the work of Erika Moen, although it didn’t have quite the same effect on me. Erika’s work is also represented in the book, with several of her comics included.

I don’t want this to become a book report summary, so I’ll just hit a couple more highlights. (This is a book to savor over time, not read at one sitting, or one risks finding a few of the pieces repetitive.) Jason Thompson’s story left me wanting to know more about his work for manga companies and confused about what sexuality he was expressing, so I’m not sure it was successful at its goal for this book, but it was neat to see his art after reading his writing for so long.

Amy Falcone wraps up the book with “No Big Deal”, a reassuring piece where her older self reassures the confused younger. Overall, I found the content eye-opening and informative, a welcome reminder of the variety of human sexuality.

The full list of contributors and some sample pages can be seen at the publisher’s website. Anything That Loves can be ordered from comic shops with Diamond code SEP13 1245 for release in early November. (The publisher provided a review copy.)


4 Responses to “Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond “Gay” and “Straight””

  1. Choosing Sides | Process Wonk Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson just posted a review of the collection, which has my interest further […]

  2. Jason Kimble Says:

    I saw the Roundy comic via Upworthy, but since it looked from there like it had been out since earlier in the year (the Amazon listing has it as January of this year?), I figured I’d just missed it before. Sounds like it just didn’t have Diamond distribution prior to this? So I’m not as late to the party as I thought. :)

  3. Johanna Says:

    The book was done as a Kickstarter earlier this summer, and some of the pieces are reprints. But yes, it’s just now been through Diamond.

  4. Good Comics at the Comic Shop November 13 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] a different note and for a different audience, Anything That Loves (Northwest Press, $29.99) is now available in comic shops. This anthology collects a variety of […]




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