Looking Ahead: San Diego Comic Con + All Things Queer!

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By the time you read this, San Diego Comic Con will just be getting underway. The convention is one of the biggest in the world, and a must for fans of the geeky– comic books, video games, TV, movies, and more are on display over the four (and a half) day convention.

It’s also an oasis for queer geeks, and the convention has grown over the last few years to be more diverse and inclusive. This year’s SDCC will have several fantastic panels focusing on queer culture and characters in media, so we wanted to take a few minutes to highlight those.

We’ll also have two Just Love bloggers at the Con– El and DMac are on duty, and we plan to report back with the hottest upcoming books, shows and movies… and maybe a few super awesome interviews! We also have our top three “must see” items for the con.

So check it out!

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Interview with Ngozi Ukazu, author and illustrator of “Check, Please!”

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At last year’s Flame Con (the queer comic con held in NYC), I had the pleasure of meeting up with author and artist Ngozi Ukazu. Her web comic, Check, Please!, was the most funded Kickstarter of all time, and has taken the internet by storm. In between talking about the amazing art on display and our shared love of hockey, we took a few minutes to chat about pies, queer rep in sports, and #Hockey, the first volume of Check, Please!, which will be published this autumn by First Second!

College, baking, coming to terms with your sexuality, and hockey… what more could you ask for in a comic? “Check” it out:

Eric Bittle—former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. And it’s basically nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South. For one?

There’s checking.

It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best 4 years of your life.

Today I’m thrilled to feature Ngozi on the blog! And be sure to check the end of the post for purchase links and more.

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El Goes to FlameCon!

Apologies, a gitch in our blog’s media library means all of my images for this post have gone missing! Please be patient while I attempt to find the backups and re-upload them.

This past weekend (August 19-20) was Flame Con, the annual queer comic con held in Brooklyn, NY! This was my second year attending, and I’m honestly so excited to see how much it’s grown! 2017 brought more attendees, more artists, and more fascinating panels, turning this into the queerest and most amazing weekend of my year!

Flame Con is a must-attend for any fan of queer comics and art, so I’d love to give you a tiny glimpse into the con itself and the fantastic time that I had there… and hopefully help convince you to join me in NYC in 2018!

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Friday Five: Free Fiction

I know, the alliteration is cheesy, but I couldn’t help myself.

It’s Friday, which means the weekend is almost upon us! And since everyone loves free things, I wanted to recommend five of my favorite novel-length romances… all 100% free to read online! So if you’re not sure what to do with your weekend, give one of these recs a try; you may end up getting so hooked that you’ll forget to do laundry and run errands, but you won’t regret it!

In no particular order…

More Than You Know, by ColdCoffeeEyes25: She’s an incognito pop star trying to break away from her white-supremacist family while fighting off paparazzi, homesickness and forbidden romantic feelings that could sever her family ties once and for all. This novel is absolutely beautiful! Pop star Liberty was raised by a prominent white-supremacist family, but has finally left her childhood home to go to college and study music. There, she meets Max, whose dark skin is almost as forbidden as the sexual relationship she offers. Liberty slowly grows into her own person with her own opinions as the relationship blooms between her and Max.

Shadow of the Templar, by M Chandler: Simon Drake is an up-and-coming young FBI hotshot, an agent with a personal track record so outstanding that it borders on unbelievable. Jeremy Archer is the brilliant and unpredictable scion of a long line of international art thieves, and one of the most infamous criminals in the world. This is a classic, although I’m surprised by how many people haven’t heard of it. Simon is snarky and rude, but the best at what he does, and he has an amazing team backing him up at the FBI. But when he ends up having to work with Jeremy Archer– sarcastic but brilliant– to stop a dangerous criminal, sparks start to fly. Simon plays by the rules, and Jeremy doesn’t even know what rules are! (Short version: like the gay version of White Collar, but with more profanity.)

Failte-GirlForMeThe Girl for Me, by failte200:
Straight jockboy Kevin thinks he has gay, cross-dressing Danny under his thumb. Kevin only likes girls. So… why does he keep thinking about her? Or him. Whatever. (Warning for dubcon.) Kevin is kind of an idiot, but he’s amazing at reading people and knowing if they’re genuine or phony. When he first sees Danny at a party in drag (going by Dani), Kevin isn’t sure what to think; his instincts tell him that Dani is genuine, and a beautiful woman, but his mind tells him that it’s just a guy in a dress. But Kevin isn’t as dumb as he looks, and he quickly learns to accept Dani for who she is. Some of the plot is a bit over-the-top, but Kevin’s progress from dumb, lazy jock to caring boyfriend is actually really great.

Close Protection, by Cordelia Kingsbridge aka ckingsbridge: After three consecutive expulsions for sexual misconduct, Luca D’Amato has no choice but to return to America. Jacob Ryder is the man charged with protecting him from his family’s many enemies – but who will protect Ryder from Luca? This story is hot, hot, HOT. Luca is wealthy, spoiled, and attractive, all of which help his craving for sexual relationships. Ryder is Luca’s bodyguard, openly gay, and is the first person Luca’s met who won’t respond to his advances. Luca wants what he can’t have, but Ryder isn’t willing to give in to his own attraction. The relationship here is stunning; Luca is smart and calculating, but also fragile, and Ryder is struggling to protect Luca from attacks on his life while trying to maintain a professional relationship.

ChaosLifeLogoChaos Life, by A. Stiffler & K. Copeland: ChaosLife is a semi-autobiographical comic, focusing on a queer relationship between A. Stiffler and K. Copeland, who create the comic! It also delves into politics, GSM issues, mental health, pop culture, cats and other randomness. While technically not fiction, I’m still including it on this list because it’s a really great (and funny) look into the creators’ relationship. It’s also been running for almost four years, so I think it qualifies as ‘novel-length’ by comic standards! Stiffler and Copeland are a married couple, and are super geeky and hilarious. My favorite comics are about their ridiculous cats, but they also talk about being agender, weird animals who are not their cats, and Batman’s beauty regime (which is actually the comic that first brought me to their site). Start from the beginning and read them all, I highly recommend it!

There are hundreds more free stories out there, and some are extremely well known, but I’d love to know if anyone else has recommendations! All images are (c) their respective authors/artists.