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I’m in Love With These Queer Witchy Graphic Novels

Seriously, these books are awesome.

Detail of the cover of Coming Back, showing two young women in folk costume looking at each other.

We’re truly living in the golden age of graphic novels. There’s so much wild, freewheeling creativity in today’s offerings that choosing your next read can be a daunting choice! If you’re looking for a queer, witchy adventure, though, look no further: author Jessi Zabarsky has you covered.

Her first graphic novel, Witchlight, came out in 2020, with her second, Coming Back, following in 2021. Here’s what makes them so great.

Why you need to pick up Witchlight and Coming Back post haste

A page from Witchlight by Jessi Zabarsky, showing Sanja and Lelek practicing magic in a cottage.
(Random House)

Witchlight tells the story of a peasant girl, Sanja, and a hapless witch named Lelek. After Lelek is caught selling fake amulets at a village market, she kidnaps Sanja so that Sanja can teach her how to fight. Sanja isn’t exactly heartbroken to leave her restrictive life in the village, though, and the two soon become an inseparable pair. Lelek learns more about her magic while Sanja grows into a confident and capable warrior, and together, they carve out a life that they never would have found apart from each other.

Coming Back builds on the themes that Zabarski explores in Witchlight, and even though it isn’t a sequel, it glows with her unmistakable style. In Coming Back, Preet and Valissa are a couple living on an island on which babies are born from seeds. When Valissa volunteers to find the source of a mysterious mist that’s harming their community, Preet commits the sin of growing a child by herself. Separated by Valissa’s quest and Preet’s banishment from the island, the two set out on their own journeys of discovery and redemption.

There’s so much to love about these sweet, gorgeous little graphic novels. The love stories hit with just the right amount of pathos and tenderness, while avoiding some of the more common YA clichés. The worldbuilding is exquisite, with strange magic and myth woven like tapestry threads into the stories. Plus, if you’re a textiles nerd like I am, the folk embroidery and costume design in each book are delicious eye candy.

Other witchy graphic novels to enjoy

We’ve got several lists of witchy stuff and graphic novels if you’re jonesing for a good read, but here are a few of my personal favorites.

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag. In The Witch Boy, Aster is a young boy living in a family of witches and shapeshifters. Boys are expected to become shapeshifters, but what if Aster wants to be a witch instead?

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries. Witchy tells the story of Nyneve, who lives in a world in which the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. When Nyneve is conscripted by the Witch Guard, though, she makes a drastic decision to stand up for what she knows is right.

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith. Two young heirs to a noble house, Hawke and Grayson, are forced to hide among the priestesses of a sacred order that works magic through spinning, dying, and weaving. Although Hawke is eager to reclaim his title, Grayson begins to realize that her true calling lies elsewhere.

The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson and Jo Rioux. Although The Daughters of Ys doesn’t have the queer elements of the other graphic novels in this list, it’s still a fantastic read. Two sisters grow up in the fabled city of Ys. One becomes a great sorceress, while the other prefers a quiet life in the countryside. However, court intrigue and buried secrets soon threaten to consume them both.

(featured image: Random House)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at