When it comes to LGTBTQ representation in paranormal fantasies, not too many writers do it as well as Charlaine Harris. Never mind the stories draw you in, but then it showed the world as it really is, but with supernatural beings abound. Since she came onto the scene, there have been many writers and artists to enter the realm. As far as comics go, there are more than a handful that fall within the supernatural genre, but even fewer that feature LBGTQ characters, which underwrites a bigger problem, where diversity in all its shades, from race, to sex to disability to sexual orientation, have felt the hush, when these groups ask if they are represented.
This is the reason when I heard about the The Other Side Anthology, a collection that focuses on “queer paranormal romance,” I was more than a little interested to know if these creators would do this genre justice within the comics medium. In the first story, “Black Dog,” a hunter reminisces of words by his father which makes him weary of a black dog, which has followed him every day, but little does he know, a surprise connection, awaits him. In “Enbae & Boo,” an online date at a convention for paranormal seekers, turns into a love match. In “Dive”, a grandmother’s tall tale ends up having more truth than she lets her grandchild know.
In “Emma FZR 400RR SP,” a ghost and human connected by a motorcycle start off as antagonistic, but soon fall for each other. In “Halo,” a chance meeting with an angel changes one man’s life forever. “In Beneath My Breath, above my Gaze,” one man’s hike turns into a lifelong love affair with nature. In “Ouija Call Center,” connection to dead people takes a hilarious turn.
In “Pulpit Point,” a love burgeons between a midshipman and a ghost in the most unlikely of circumstances. In “Rabbit Stew,” a woman makes her long dead husband, his favorite dish. In “Fifty Years,” one part of a vampire couple bestows their most rabid hunter as a gift their beloved. In “Shadow’s Bae,” a monster’s girlfriend shows them love knows no bounds. In “Third Circle Pizza,” one half of a couple breaks a centuries old spell on a family that curses their boyfriend.
In “Till Death,” the ghostly half of a couple, haunts a family moving their old house, so that the memory of their love is not lost. In “Tierra Verde,” a mysterious stranger gets hired to get rid of an ethereal being, but what starts out as a job, becomes more than either expected. In “Appliance,” a microwave connects the ghost of a man and his family with a total stranger. In “Airspace,” an unlikely love match occurs when a guitar lesson turns into a literal out of body experience.
In “Bare Bones,” a home improvement job awakens a ghost and saves a life. In “Yes, No Maybe,” a Ouija board leads one woman to a flirtation with a ghost and much more. In “Threnody,” an older woman ponders the need for her in the world, a question, a goddess was more than happy to answer.
The stories contained in this tome, more than shine, they offer light where other writers may be too shy to shed. The art by all the artists more than thrills it, exhilarates. Overall, a great collection, that shows each creator’s range and more than adds to the genre, it shifts the paradigm.
Story: Kou Chen, Mari Costa, Natasha Donovan, Kori Michele Handwerker, Gisele Jobateh, F. Lee, Kate Leth and Katie O’Neill , Sfé R. Monster, Margaret Kirchner, Amelia Onorato, Aatmaja Pandya, Fyodor Pavlov, Bitmap Prager and Melanie Gillman, Britt Sabo, Bishakh K. Som, Sarah Winifred Searle and Hannah Krieger, Laurel Varian and Ezra Rose, Mary Verhoeven, CB Webb
Art: Kou Chen, Mari Costa, Natasha Donovan, Kori Michele Handwerker, Gisele Jobateh, F. Lee, Kate Leth and Katie O’Neill, Sfé R. Monster, Margaret Kirchner, Amelia Onorato, Aatmaja Pandya, Fyodor Pavlov, Bitmap Prager and Melanie Gillman, Britt Sabo, Bishakh K. Som, Sarah Winifred Searle and Hannah Krieger, Laurel Varian and Ezra Rose, Mary Verhoeven, CB Webb, Mildred Louis
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy