Look, I’m just saying that Edward and Jacob would have been the more compelling star-crossed lovers: vampires and werewolves hate each other; plus coming out as a queer interracial couple to your oddly conservative supernatural communities is going to be rough, especially in a small town–
(loud coughing) I mean, welcome, friends, to day 3 of Feminist Halloween, where we continue this queer horror theme we’ve got going with The Other Side: Queer Paranormal Romance Anthology, edited by Kori Michele Handwerker and Melanie Gillman!
The Other Side is cute, queer, diverse short paranormal romance comics aimed at young adults. The comics are all 4-12 pages, and the maturity rating for most is PG/PG-13. In the introduction to the anthology, Gillman writes,
The comics feature lots of characters of color, and there’s great non-binary representation in the comics as well as among the authors. The editors also asked for asexual representation, and while not all stories are written as ace, many of the stories could be read as ace. I don’t mean that in the “coded because Hayes code” sense but rather than the relationships in the stories are romantic but most aren’t written as sexual, or could be viewed as either sexual or asexual. In a similar vein, these stories also can be read (positively) as bi or trans, since we don’t get enough of the characters background to know how they identify. In this anthology, the most of the characters who aren’t explicitly non-binary can be interpreted to your liking, and the fluidity is comforting rather than exasperating or erasure.
Growing up, I didn’t have queer books. Until very recently in the American publishing industry, queer content was widely considered “too controversial” or “too adult” for books aimed at young readers. On those very rare occasions when queer characters did manage to sneak their way into children’s or teen’s books, they were always shrouded in a heavy veil of subtext (presumably so the publisher could maintain plausible deniability if outraged parents came calling) or else, they were walking tragedies-waiting-to-happen. You could feel the grand piano dangling over queer characters’ heads, just waiting for the right moment to drop. Something terrible was bound to happen to them—murder, disownment, suicide, tragic-spurned-love-and-then-suicide, there were plenty of favorite options. Whatever their authors’ intentions, the message communicated to young queer readers by all these books was clear: being queer is either (A) impossible or (B) going to ruin your life in the most dramatic way imaginable.
Entire generations of queer children have grown up without getting to see themselves positively reflected in their books….If I was free to imagine stories about people falling in love with ghosts and monsters and demons, then how much less of an imaginative leap would it take to let characters fall in love with someone of the same gender? And if it was okay to empathize and relate to protagonists who were also witches and mediums and vampires, why not someone who was trans or nonbinary? (v-vi)
The Other Side is available in print or in digital pdf format here.