A while back I was really into webtoons, and before that I read mostly manga; though I currently read mostly traditional novels, I remain interested in more visual forms of storytelling. So naturally I jumped at the opportunity to check out these diverse works, many of them by #ownvoices creators!
I received these comics as digital review copies from the publisher, Queerwebcomic; all opinions expressed are my own and honest.
Spoiler: He Was Trans! by Paju Ruotsalainen
“Did you know that trans men are also allowed to be feminine? I didn’t.”
Comic about a trans man realizing he’s trans, by Paju Ruotsalainen!
This was the very epitome of short and sweet, with lovely bright colors and a friendly, conversational tone. It covers quite a few concepts related to gender roles and gender identity, all in a straightforward way that makes them accessible to any reader without being patronizing or presuming prior knowledge you might not have.
Boys Can Wear Make-Up Too by Eelis Nilukka
Manolo is a young man who loves watching make-up tutorials on Youtube. Boys Can Wear Make-up too, is a story of his struggle in daring to wear make-up and learning to do it right!
This one is also short and sweet, even striking a personal chord because it reminds me of a childhood friend who’s fearless about expressing himself through clothes and makeup. (Like, more fearless than I probably ever will be.) Though the plot is simple, and every scene serves a clear narrative purpose, this comic manages to span a range of emotions and it certainly warmed my heart.
Lempo by Sara Valta
Lempo is a 185 page epic about two women in the 18th century rural Finland. The society back then was run by men and women had very little power to them.
You could either marry or … turn to magic.
And not just any magic but women’s traditional vagina magic.
The two women, Aino and Eila, need things they can’t get from men, so they decide to search for a powerful goddess, Lempo. But Lempo, being a trickster god, isn’t the easiest god to work with.
Content warnings: sexism, partial nudity
While I can certainly appreciate the intent and premise of this work, it just wasn’t for me. I lacked the cultural background to understand the allusions and references (which is not to say that explanations should have been included; in fact, I think that would have further detracted from the story being told, the focus on the two protagonists), and I wasn’t really a fan of the art style, though of course that’s a completely subjective opinion.
Still, if it sounds interesting to you, and you’re not put off by vagina-centered feminist rhetoric (I’m not judging, but it’s not something I’m personally all that comfortable with), I’d encourage you to give it a try!
Make More Comics by H-P Lehkonen
Manage Your Time – Make More Comics
H-P Lehkonen is the powerhouse behind Queerwebcomic.com and several long Webtoons! How does he do all that while managing his ADHD? This guide gives you his best tips on managing your time!
Patreon for Small Creators
With only 2500 Twitter followers H-P was able to get his Patreon launch from $0 to $120 in just a month! That’s a lot for a small creator! How did he do that? This guide will tell you!
Where to Promote Yourself?
All artists wish to know this one. Where is the right place to post your work to get as much out of it as possible? This guide has hands on tips on promoting your webcomic! No more paid ads! These tips are all for free but effective promotion!
You’re not [an] aspiring artist if you’ve done art. You’re just an artist.
I asked to read and review these in part because I’ve been trying to get back into drawing, and in part because I was curious about how much I could apply to my current pursuits.
Even if you don’t ever plan to publish (or even work on) your own webcomics, these guides have a lot of actionable advice that any creator can implement: whether your medium is blogging, photography, watercolor, or anything else. In addition to practical tips about balancing your time between commitments, making a living as a creative, and general inspiration to just get started, I found gentle self-care reminders, 10/10 memes, and a solid framework to start experimenting with my own style.