As June comes to an end ,we are finishing up our Pride Month picks. Of course we could never cover and talk about every LGBTQ creator, property, or franchise. However, I hope over the last month we have introduced you to something new. So, without further ado, the Rogues Portal Staff Picks:
Simon Snow is going through a lot. It’s his last year at Watford (a school for mages and the magically inclined). He is the Chosen One whose destiny involves a showdown with the mysterious evil force that’s haunted him since birth. His girlfriend broke up with him. And he’s spending a lot of time thinking about his roommate and (possibly evilish) rival, Baz.
A whole lot of time, actually.
Carry On (2017) is based on the story within a novel from Rainbow Rowell’s earlier book, Fangirl. It is a wonderful homage to Chosen One stories most of us grew up with, though it comes with some clever dialogue and some fun shifts in the story. There’s action, adventure, and relationship drama that never feels cliché or tired. The characters are all wonderfully developed as is the magical world Rowell created. In all, this book is a lot of fun.
Perfect for Pride Month, it’s also a great depiction of a bisexual main character without focusing the plot entirely on sexuality. Ultimately, Carry On is a story of growing up and self-discovery. There’s also a lot of kissing.
With the sequel novel (Wayward Sons) having been recently announced, it’s the perfect time to revisit this book (or to discover it for the first time)!
My wife and I rented Love, Simon the other night. Hands down, it’s one of my favorites of the year. It gets so many things right. It felt like a John Hughes movie ripped from the 80’s, but with modern sensibilities. The core message really spoke to me: it’s hard to declare who you are to the world, and it’s unfair that LGBQT people basically have to do it eventually, if they want to feel like they can truly, openly be who they really are. There is even a funny/interesting sequence where all the main character’s friends come out to their parents as heterosexuals, and their parents react to these declarations. I say funny/interesting because it never occurred to me to declare who I am since I am considered, sadly, by society’s standards, to be normal. News flash: I’m not normal. I’m awkward, I’m anxious, and I don’t love many things about myself. But, really, the only normal thing about all of us is that it’s scary to declare who we are; it’s hard to be comfortable in our own skin; it’s hard to be thick-skinned and not care what others think. And to see Simon’s transformation into being comfortable with who he is was such a delight to see. It was inspiring, touching and gave me all the feels. Rent, or buy, it today! You won’t be disappointed.
A creator that I love is Emily Carroll. My husband brought home her anthology Through the Woods knowing it is exactly the kind of thing I would love, and he was right. Her horror comics are tightly-told stories with an amazing atmosphere that gets under your skin and lives behind your eyeballs so it comes back into your consciousness just as you’re falling asleep. She also lent that mastery of atmosphere to the video game Gone Home, developed by The Fullbright Company, which also has an LGBTQ storyline. Her delightfully creepy webcomic The Hole The Fox Did Make is a masterpiece of pacing, making full use of the online medium by controlling exactly how many panels you see before hitting “next.” If you like stories that are smart, subtle, and scary, you’ll love Emily Carroll.