On Monday, June 6, the 28th annual Lambda Literary Award winners were announced at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Among the categories was Best LGBT Graphic Novel, introduced only two years ago. Previous winners include Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague written by Joyce Brabner and art by Mark Zingarelli and Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole Georges. This year’s finalists were announced back in March, from a long list of submissions that included some noteworthy reads that ranged from queersploitation comics to erotic fiction.
Ultimately, The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal by E.K. Weaver won the award. It began as a webcomic back in 2009 and ended in 2014. Print hardcover and softcover omnibus editions were published by Iron Circus Comics in November 2015. It was nominated for an Eisner back in April. The story concerns Amal, who comes out to his conservative parents and ends his arranged marriage before embarking on a cross-country road trip with TJ, a one-night stand turned traveling companion. As Parrish Turner wrote in his review for Lambda Literary’s website, “Weaver is reminding us of the simple yet complex pleasures of meeting someone new, visiting new places, and eating Waffle House.”
The other nominees were Curveball by Jeremy Sorese, a science-fiction story about the romantic upheaval of Avery, a waiter on an affluent cruise ship; Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, a memoir comic about first love and summer camp; O Human Star: Volume One by Blue Delliquanti, a “science fiction family drama” that “features a cast of queer-identified characters and…a healthy dose of romance” according to the creator; and Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce, which concerns the comedic trials of a giant, hairy ex-wrestler and his friends.
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is available for purchase in print and as a PDF.