Melanie Gillman‘s webcomic, As the Crow Flies, has long been one of my favorites. Not only does Gillman create full and vibrant art with a distinctive colored pencil-style, but they also draw you in with instantly lovable characters who live in a story you can’t stop reading. As the Crow Flies is a comic about a 13-year-old girl named Charlie who gets dropped off at Camp Three Peaks, a Christian summer camp for girls, where she’s supposed to learn about God, learn about womanhood, and make friends. The thing is, Charlie is Black and queer, two things that make her stand out at this camp. I’ve been reading this comic for years and my love for it has only grown. Now, I can love it in a brand new way, and you can too, by supporting the Kickstarter campaign to produce the first volume of the comic by Iron Circus Press.
As we go up to A-Camp in the next couple days, a lot of us are probably thinking back to camps we went to as children. For many of us that included christian camps where we might not have exactly fit in. I didn’t start going to Christian camps until my later teen years, but I definitely have a lot of memories of feeling alienated by the language that was used. That’s exactly what Charlie and her friend Sydney, a 12-year-old trans girl, are going through. Whether it’s talks about God “whitening” and “purifying” the campers’ souls, or “women only spaces,” there’s a lot about what the things that Bee, the leader of the camp, says that make kids like Charlie and Sydney feel like they might not belong.
This is honestly one of the best comics about identity and finding community and yourself that I’ve ever read. Gillman knows how to write kids; they know how to write queer characters; and they know how to draw diverse body types. When you’re queer or a person of color or both and you’re in a very white Christian space, it can feel like you’re the only person on earth. Gillman nails that isolation and confusion and frustration that Charlie feels, and then also perfectly nails the profound sense of comfort, familiarity and community that comes from finding someone like yourself is there too.
There are only a handful of comics I’ve been reading and enjoying as long as As the Crow Flies. Melanie Gillman deserves to be a modern day legend. Hopefully this Kickstarter will help make that happen. Not only can you yourself get a copy of this book by supporting it, but Iron Circus is planning distribution through Consortium, so hopefully this book will also be available in book stores and libraries where it can get to the kids and adults who need to read it the most.
This first volume will collect the first 270 pages of the comic, which takes place over the first three days of the camp. Another awesome bonus about this new print edition is that Gillman spent a long time and a ton of hard work into making art edits to the earlier pages to make the art throughout the comic (which so far has been made over seven years of artistic growth) more cohesive. Head over to the website and support this amazing queer camp themed comic!
New Releases (May 17)
DC Comics Bombshells #27
Green Lanterns #23
Harley Quinn #20
Odyssey of the Amazons #5
Supergirls Vol 1 Rein of the Cyborg Supermen TP
Superman/Wonder Woman Vol 5 Savage End TP
Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol 2 HC
The Wicked + The Divine 455 AD #1
Mighty Thor #19
Star Wars #31
Star Wars Poe Dameron #15
Ultimates 2 #7
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #20
Adventure Time Comics #11
Alien Covenant Collectors Ed. HC
Eleanor & The Egret
Josephine Baker GN
Kim Reaper #2
Red Sonja #5
Tank Girl Gold TP
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.