These comic books and graphic novels tell stories that will transport readers to various worlds, from elementary school to outer space. They feature characters discovering themselves, relationship challenges and a new take on a legendary hero. All include characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
'Stone Fruit' (Fantagraphics. Available now.): Bron and Ray are struggling as a couple. A bright spot in their life is their 6-year-old niece Nessie. But even that relationship is fraught because of tensions between Ray and her sister (Nessie's mother), and Bron's emotional struggles with her own family. This graphic novel, Lee Lai's first, is bittersweet and filled with authentic dialogue and realistic situations, including a lack of tidy resolutions. You can't help but root for the characters, even if they are perhaps better off spending time apart.
'Wynd Book One: The Flight of the Prince' (Boom! Studios. Available now.): In Pipetown, a world where magic is seen as corrupting, Wynd, a young boy, must hide his true nature. This is proving difficult as he ages and his pointy ears can no longer be concealed. Wynd longs for a normal life and to befriend Thorn, the kindly son of a groundskeeper. "Maybe I could ask him his name; maybe we could have a life together," he wishes in a vulnerable moment. A harrowing adventure awaits as writer James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas pit Wynd against the Bandaged Man, an enforcer of Pipetown's king who hates magical beings.
'Alice in Leatherland' (Black Mask Studios. Available now.): Meet Alice, a writer of children's books with a huge heart … that is absolutely crushed when she discovers her girlfriend is cheating. The crisis inspires her to seek a new life, and perhaps a new love, in San Francisco. This romantic comedy, written by Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli, who are a couple, is most assuredly for adults: The story depicts — sometimes with little left to the imagination — the ups and downs of casual sex. One conceit of the five-issue story, which wraps up in August, is that each chapter includes scenes of a fairy tale by Alice, about a firefly who is seeking a mate.
'Poison Ivy: Thorns' (DC. Available now.): Pamela Isley, the young woman who would grow up to become Batman villain Poison Ivy, takes center stage in this young adult graphic novel written by Kody Keplinger and drawn by Sara Kipin. Pamela is ill at ease around most people, especially men. Who can blame her? A popular male student spreads rumors about her that the principal downplays, and her father is using her as a guinea pig to save her mother from a mysterious illness. Will Alice Oh, a new character and her love interest, put Pamela on a different path in this new origin story?
'The United States of Captain America' (Marvel Entertainment. Available now.): This miniseries, by writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Dale Eaglesham, looks at some of the people who have served as Captain America. But the story, which involves a road trip by these heroes in search of a stolen shield, will also introduce new champions. The first issue includes the origin story of gay teenager Aaron Fischer — a character created by Cantwell, Jan Bazaldua and Joshua Trujillo — who puts on a version of the red, white and blue uniform to help save a group of runaways. His desire to do good is simple: "When I'm lucky, I get to help people."