fantasy · graphic novel · lgbtqia · own voices · speculative fiction

Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

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Featuring 18 stories by 26 contributors, Beyond is a 250+ page, black and white, queer comic anthology, full of swashbuckling space pirates, dragon slayers, death-defying astronauts, and monster royalty. Each story celebrates and showcases unquestionably queer characters as they explore the galaxy, mix magic, have renegade adventures, and save the day!

The Beyond Anthology was born from a desire to see stories inspired by people like us (queer people with diverse genders and sexualities) slaying dragons, piloting spaceships, getting into trouble, and saving the day—without having to read for their queerness from between the lines. We wanted to see beautiful, heartwarming, and adventurous stories that reflect and celebrate the many facets of gender and sexuality, without having to worry that their queerness would cast them as a villain, a pariah, or turn them into a cautionary tale.

Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

Edited by Sfe R. Monster & Taneka Stotts

Published: September 2015

Source: My bookshelf

Thoughts:

This was incredibly heartwarming and fun to read. I’m still relatively new to comics and graphic novels but there’s something relatable about how a character’s thoughts, words and silences co-exist with images to show the diverse world as it is. I love how this anthology fulfills its promise in that shows a spectrum of individuals motivated by love as they tackle all sorts of space adventures, planetary survival stories, technological confrontations and/or magical quandaries.

Each story shone with its own distinctive style. There are many different stories centred around same-sex couples, gender-fluid couples and their ambitions in space. A sense of wonder, technological progress and a grounded closeness between the romantic female couples and astronauts is conveyed in ‘Luminosity’ and ‘Duty and Honor.’ There is a lot of joy in the stories across the anthology but occasionally, loss is present too. These latter stories do not leave the reader without comfort, hope or resonance either.

The focus on family in some stories was also sweet. The David Bowie jokes that the dads throw around while they rescue their daughter from goblins in ‘Of families & Other Magical Objects’ were gold. I also appreciated the adoptive fathers in the wintry world of ‘The Grave of Wolves.’ The parental wisdom about the war they survived in their world is timely as ever: ‘That men cannot be monsters. That is the lie righteous men tell themselves.’

Passing on critical thought around leadership is pivotal for the next generation.

Love, acceptance and protection is present throughout all the stories that feature families. The single-parent that raises her trans son as he readies himself against a dragon is wonderful in ‘The Dragon Slayer’s son.’ It’s a great coming of age story that subverts a few genre tropes. The close-knit unit around the trans female android in ‘Optimal’ was heartwarming too.

A few more stories caught my eye as per the nature of anthologies but I’ll leave them to new readers. I recommend this collection to anyone who reads SFF comics. I have a small list of webcomics I follow at the moment, so I will be checking out the individual creator’s links later on.

*Thanks to Naz for putting this anthology on my TBR all those months ago. Also, thankful to the publishers for recently putting the e-book on sale and donating all proceeds to the Trans lifeline.

Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

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12 thoughts on “Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

  1. This sounds like a fantastic anthology. It is on my list to pick up and why not now when all the processes go to the Trans Lifeline. Amazing. Thank you for providing this review!!

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  2. Oh, this sounds completely brilliant. I saw you reading ir on GR and was very intrigued, because the cover and title are so intriguing (especially the cover, because it just instantly csaught my attention and I like it a lot), and it just sounds so wonderful, Glaiza! I’m definitely adding it to my bookshelf right now, because I am only getting good feelings about it.

    I’m also quite keen on it being an anthology – the last I read was Eat the Sky – because I surprised myself by enjoying having that variety of stories and storytellers, all with their unique tales, and I’d like to find that again here, not to mention because the stories you’ve touched on here have all completely captivated my imagination and I cannot wait to read them for myself. I hope my library has this available to order, because I’m really excited to delve in.

    Lovely review, and thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! I’ll definitely discuss once I’ve read it! xx

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    1. I definitely think there are standouts/standalones just like in Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, so I think you’d enjoy this one too. I hope the library picks it up as well!

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  3. Thank you so much for reviewing this anthology! I would’ve never heard of it, if I hadn’t stumbled onto your blog. I’m still pretty new to graphic novels and comics, myself, but this is exactly the sort of thing I need in my life. Great review! =)

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