These days, most gay comics fall into one of three general categories: real-life stories (biographies and autobiographies), superheroes, and erotic stories (pornography). Sometimes they fit into more than one category, or even all three. Here is a list and overview of five gay comics that are top-rated by readers of the genre.

  1. “Bludgeon.” “Bludgeon” is a promising new superhero comic created by artist Jeremy Owen. It features illustrations of bearish, burly guys--one of Owen’s interests--with thick lines drawn around the characters. The story centers on Mike MacKay, a gay man in Albuquerque looking for a place to call home. The comic appears to be a simple, slice-of-life story. But in the first “zero” edition, the creator hints that there is something more to Mike than meets the eye.

  2. “The Complete Wendel.” “The Complete Wendel” is a collection of gay comic strips from the 1980s. “Wendel” and another classic series, “Gay Comix,” inspired many LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) cartoonists to draw on their own experiences for their comic strips. Created by Howard Cruse, “The Complete Wendel” follows the lives of a group of gay and lesbian friends. The book contains a “Where Are They Now?” section that explains what happened to the main characters over the last two decades.

  3. “Gaylord Phoenix.” “Gaylord Phoenix” is a gay comic created by artist Edie Fake, whose cave-like drawings and complex symbols illustrate an unusual story. It begins with a masculine, feature-less creature who is wounded by a crystal. His wounds result in the growth of tubular extremities. When he makes love with a young man, the crystal wound transforms Gaylord Phoenix into a monster. Thus begins a series of adventures through strange lands that lead Gaylord and his boyfriend to know each other better.

  4. “Junkyard Angels.” “Junkyard Angels” is another unusual, disturbing series with artwork reminiscent of anime or manga. Created by P. K. Eiselt and Zachary Enea, the gripping, creepy story features characters trapped in a technological nightmare. Babies with spider legs, tongues with plastic cables, prosthetic arms, and robotic parts where brains should be -- this is the world of “Junkyard Angels.” The comic book revolves around the world of Bobby and Jason, two young boys in love.

  5. “The Legend Of Hedgehog Boy.” “The Legend Of Hedgehog Boy” is the complete story of Hedgehog Boy, his boyfriend, and his wounded teddy bear, Frank -- all in one volume. Illustrated by Rene Capone, this popular gay comic is something of a fairy tale, but with the heavy topic of child abuse a springboard for self-expression and the creation of a chosen family. Considered therapeutic in many ways, the book has something to offer for young people and older adults alike.