So, you’ve binged watch all of Heartstopper twice and then gone out and read all of the graphic novels that inspired the Netflix series, but you still don’t feel satisfied. If you’re particularly keen on reading some more comics like Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, you’ll be glad to learn that there are a lot of great options out there.
The last decade has seen a boom in comics for young adults, with plenty of them focusing on LGBTQIA+ characters and themes. To help tide you over until the next graphic novel volume and streaming season of Heartstopper arrive, here are five young adult comics that you should add to your To Read pile.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
By Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Freddy Riley is dating the most popular girl at her high school, Laura Dean. She’s absolutely smitten with Laura and thinks she’s perfect in every way – except that she keeps breaking up with Freddy. But that’s okay, because Laura keeps telling Freddy how much she likes her, and they always get back together. Even if it means pushing away her friends and hurting herself in the process.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a coming-of-age story about what it means to be in a relationship, and how love can cloud our judgement. Written with deft reliability by Mariko Tamaki and with emotive art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, as Freddy does her best to keep her relationship with Laura alive, she’ll learn the importance of loving herself and the strength of self-respect.
Where to buy Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
By Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau
Ari has finally graduated from high school and has big plans for his future. The only problem is that his family’s bakery is struggling to get by, so he can’t just quit, even if it means he can’t move to the city with the rest of his band. Ari feels as though he’s trapped in limbo until he meets the charming Hector, his potential replacement. When sparks begin to fly between the two bakers, leaving this life behind is suddenly a lot harder for Ari to do.
In Bloom, Kevin Panetta perfectly captures that exciting feeling of falling head-over-heels for someone, while Savanna Ganucheau’s artist is as mouth-watering as Ari’s baked goods. But will this relationship rise like a perfect loaf of bread, or collapse like so many sourdough starters?
Where to buy Bloom
On A Sunbeam
By Tillie Walden
As the popularity of young adult comics has grown over the past decade, few cartoonists have shone brighter than Tillie Walden. Set in the near future, On A Sunbeam follows Mia, a new member of a ragtag intergalactic renovation crew who is trying to figure out who she wants to be.
The story jumps back and forth between two timelines, showing Mia’s time in a boarding school and her short-lived relationship with Grace, another student who suddenly leaves under mysterious circumstances. When the chance to reunite with Grace is presented, Mia does whatever she can to see her lost love again – even if it means putting her newfound family in harm’s way.
With finely detailed art and a gorgeous colour palette, Tillie Walden delves into what it means to reflect on our past actions and the struggle of finding somewhere we belong.
Where to buy On A Sunbeam
The Prince and The Dressmaker
By Jen Wang
Prince Sebastian has a secret. By day, he’s the Crown Prince of Belgium, but by night, he’s the incredibly glamourous Lady Crystallia. Only one other person knows of Sebastian’s secret, his seamstress Frances, who is responsible for crafting Crystallia’s iconic looks.
While Sebastian’s parents attempt to set him up with a princess, Frances’ designs are the talk of the town, and her work is sought after by major fashion designers. The only problem is that no one can know she’s working with Sebastian, or it’d expose Crystallia’s secret identity.
Jen Wang’s The Prince and The Dressmaker is a moving, genderqueer fairy tale about the parts of ourselves that we hide from others and the importance of expressing our true selves.
Where to buy The Prince and The Dressmaker
By C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
When Nicholas manages to score a scholarship to King Row, an elite all-boys private school, he’s determined to make his mark. The illegitimate son of a retired Olympic champion, Nicholas is following in his father’s footsteps and plans to become the greatest fencer in the world.
Despite his talent, Nicholas is no match for the school’s star fencer, Seiji Katayama, who puts the newcomer in his place. And since Nicholas’ scholarship is only valid if he manages to make the Kings Row fencing team, he’s left with two choices: get good or go home.
Influenced by both sports and romance manga, Fence is an incredibly fun read. The series is still ongoing, so you’ll have another comic you’ll be eagerly waiting for alongside Heartstopper.