A Queer Book Club for Comic Lovers

Austin Books & Comics makes space for queer fans and queer lit

The comic book world has long been a safe haven for outsiders and misfits, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been easy for queer fans to find a sense of community. The lack of space fueled Austin Books & Comics' Rae Sterling to start the store's Queer Book Club, or ABC QBC, to foster fun times and understanding among comic book lovers in the queer community.

The need arose, as Sterling points out, because comics – and the shops that sell them – have “come a long way – comic fans have come less far.” QBC, which happens on the last Sunday of every other month, centers around diversity, inclusivity, and a broad range of comic books.

Austin Books & Comics (Photo by Lauri Thompson)

This Sunday, Oct. 29, the club will discuss The Backstagers, a comic book about a theatre crew at a private boys school created by two queer men, James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh. Sterling’s choice to cover comic books written and illustrated by members of the LGBTQ community is entirely intentional. As Sterling sees it, “It’s so often that we see queer people represented by people who are not [queer]. Reading books by queer authors shows folks that there are creators out there that are representing us and are like us.”

Alternating between all-ages and adult-only meetings, Sterling says the event is an alcohol-free space for the LGBTQIA+ and ally communities across all age groups to come and be themselves. The majority of queer events (in Austin and beyond) tend to be 21 and up and often take place in boozy environments, which can alienate underage and/or sober members of the community. As Sterling jokes, “I’m a giant nerd – a bar or a mixer doesn’t do anything good for me. I can’t talk to any of these people. They want to talk about, like, the news. I don’t know anything about the news. I watched Gravity Falls for four hours last night.”

While October’s meeting will only be the third installment of QBC, Sterling is hopeful the event will gain momentum. Citing the sense of community that book clubs can foster, Sterling believes the event provides a space for queer comic book lovers to feel safe and understood. “Reading and imagination and creativity – those things – can hit you really deep. A [comic] book can change you and it can make you cry and it can make you feel things, and … it can be just fun.”


Queer Book Club is happening this Sunday, Oct. 29, from 5-6pm at Austin Books & Comics, 5002 N. Lamar.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Beth Sullivan
Qmmunity: It's Gonna Be Gay
Qmmunity: It's Gonna Be Gay
Poo Poo Platter fills your mommy complex, Cheer Ups announces reopening, and more queer events

May 7, 2021

Qmmunity: Treat Your Fine Queer Self With This Week's Qmmunity Events
Qmmunity: Treat Your Fine Queer Self With This Week's Qmmunity Events
Mask up for Austin Black Pride's Pose watch party, drag brunch at the Iron Bear, and more

April 30, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Austin Books & Comics, Queer Book Club, ABC QBC, Rae Sterling

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle