It’s Pride Month, and we here at Bleeding Cool have covered the discussions, conflicts, and LGBTQ creators and projects that we found inspiring to date. But what of the new and rising LGBTQ voices in comics now? Which creators do we think are going to be making waves in the time to come?
Well, here a few creators that may be worth keeping your eyes on in the coming years, and who show that no matter what part of the LGBTQ community you are from, you can make a difference, provide a voice, and give hope for others in the community with the same dreams. Here are my LGBTQ creators to watch!
We start with the writer of Marvel’s Iceman, Sina Grace:
Los Angeles’ Sina Grace is not new to comics. He’s been working as artist on Shaun Steven Struble‘s cult hit, The L’il Depressed Boy, as well as co-writing and arting Image Comics’ Burn the Orphanage. He’s also known for his personal, auto-bio/memoir graphic novels like Not My Bag, Self-Obsessed, and the recent Nothing Lasts Forever.
However, he has now made the move to Marvel, writing the company’s first gay man-led ongoing series in Iceman. A huge step for representation at the company, Iceman is also one of Marvel’s oldest and most well-known characters, so Grace being handed the reigns of the character is a big deal. Moreover, his first issue has shown that he will tackle the character with the same insight and honesty as we see presented in his personal works.
Grace also understands the audience, and his work reflects that. Certainly, in Iceman he shows a respect for the character but also a respect for the audience, and he crafts a book that is accessible and fun for all readers, LGBTQ or not.
If Iceman proves to be the hit it deserves to be, then it can only be a matter of time before we see more from Grace at the publisher.
Next, we have an incredible voice not just creatively in their comics, but also as an advocate for representation, consideration and fairness: Magdalene Visaggio.
Visaggio is the creator and writer for Black Mask Studios series Kim & Kim and Quantum Teens Are Go! She is also a writer at Paste Magazine, and has used her platform and voice to speak out on matters of trans representation in the media, in particular in the comics medium.
With the sequel to Kim & Kim out shortly and soon her first Marvel work in a short as part of the Secret Empire event, Visaggio’s star feels very much on the rise, and she has already established herself as a firm fan-favourite. Her comics that are filled with action, fun, and adventure, while also being progressive and inclusive.
With a strong voice and message that desperately needs to be heard, Visaggio could very well be an instrumental part of changes in the comics medium going forward.
Another face who is no stranger to comics but will see a massive new platform in the coming year is artist Kris Anka.
Anka has been working at Marvel now for a few years; in fact, he’s already been signed as a Marvel Exclusive artist. Initially doing mainly cover work while still in his final years at California Institute of the Arts, Anka’s penchant for well-constructed and thought-out character redesign led to him being involved in numerous costume redesigns for characters that have had a lasting effect, such as his Spider-Woman redesign.
Moving into internal pages, Anka started on big books, quickly even making it to the pages of Uncanny X-Men with Brian Michael Bendis. However, it was with Chip Zdarsky on Star-Lord that he got the chance to do a complete arc and really show a consistent artistic voice. Sadly, that series was cancelled before it had the chance to reach the heights it could have.
Marvel’s faith in Anka is obvious though. He’s got to have his hands on some of the biggest characters from relatively early in his career, from the X-Men, to Captain Marvel, and now handling art chores on the most long-awaited fan-favourite characters for the modern generation, The Runaways.
Another creator making a splash this month in particular is Nagata Kabi.
Nagata has crafted a story based on her own experiences with her sexuality, depression, and the eating disorder that arose from her struggle. It’s an honest and frank portrayal that is making waves and being incredibly well received, especially now that the book has been translated into English.
Now making it available to a larger market, Nagata’s story can reach new audiences that can relate to the ideas of sexuality and mental health, issues that are both under-represented in the medium and often stigmatised.
Finally, we have another creator who is making waves not just for her work, but also for social commentary: Tee Vixen Franklin.
Franklin already made waves with her hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that garnered a great deal of industry attention and support. For her graphic novella Bingo Love, a queer romance story featuring POC characters, Franklin won over many with the sheer amount of inclusivity and attention to audiences vastly under-served by the medium.
She also saw herself getting reached out to by Bendis when she pointed out the poor representation in that now infamous J. Scott Campbell Riri Williams variant cover with the #TeensThatLookLikeTeens hashtag.
Also the creator of #BlackComicsMonth, Franklin has a tireless ethic of increasing inclusiveness in the medium for all audiences, and the strength of that is evident. As she is called upon more and more at comic cons for appearances on panels exploring themes of race, sexuality, and representation, Franklin is likely a voice to pay attention to as she continues her hard work and perseverance.
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