“5 for the Fandom” is a weekly feature from ComicsVerse. We pick five comic series that, because of their kindred characters, similar aesthetics or shared themes, specifically appeal to your fandom. This week, we focus on the delightful, visually stunning, and forever optimistic STEVEN UNIVERSE!


STEVEN UNIVERSE, created by Rebecca Sugar, has turned children shows on their heads. It breaks barriers by introducing LGBTQIA+ characters in an out-of-this-world adventure. But if you’re like me, you’ve watched every episode at least five times and have read the STEVEN UNIVERSE comics at least eight times. Are you dying for something to fill the void that Steven and the Crystal Gems have left? Look no further than here!

1. MOONSTRUCK by Grace Ellis, Kate Leth, and Shae Beagle

The art in STEVEN UNIVERSE is amazing. If you crave more of these beautiful colors and designs, look no further than MOONSTRUCK. One of Image’s newest comics, this series is written by Grace Ellis and illustrated by Kate Leth and Shae Beagle. MOONSTRUCK creates beautiful scenery in a world inhabited by “monsters.” But this world isn’t as scary as you’d think. In fact, it’s a pretty normal world where the person serving you coffee just happens to be a centaur. The comic follows Julie, a werewolf whose emotions dictate her powers. However, her regular day-to-day life changes when she and her best friend, Chet, find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy. Sound familiar?

READ: Does MOONSTRUCK peak your interest? Check out our interview with the creators!

STEVEN UNIVERSE
Courtesy of Image Comics

MOONSTRUCK also prominently includes the LGBTQIA+ community. The story starts with Julie texting her love interest about their second date. It tackles the awkward beginnings of a budding romance in such an adorable way that you can’t help but smile at. This comic gives readers the same warm feeling watching STEVEN would. Julie’s desire to help the people around her and her emotional nature are very Steven-esque and extremely endearing. As I mentioned before, the art is very similar to Rebecca Sugar’s. Leth and Beagle use a similar style of rendering characters. However, instead of using bright colors, Beagle uses softer pastels. It gives the comic a gentle, youthful tone that will make you feel fuzzy inside. Anyone who loves STEVEN UNIVERSE will fall in love with MOONSTRUCK.

MOONSTRUCK is relatively new, as there is currently only one issue out. However, issue two will be out Wednesday, August 23rd. Since the series is just starting, now is a perfect time to add MOONSTRUCK to your reading list!

2. GALANTHUS by Ashanti Fortson

Another visually stunning work perfect for STEVEN UNIVERSE fans is the webcomic GALANTHUS. Creator Ashanti Fortson brings readers a queer space adventure that is absolutely inspiring. We follow the wonderfully optimistic Farah who is employed as a tech assistant on a spaceship that she had previously stowed away on. Her rough start in life has not dampened her idealistic and kind nature as she tries to see everything from other people’s perspectives. I cannot fail to mention the amazing art rendered by Fortson. The art they’ve created is breathtaking, and their use of fading colors are absolutely dazzling.

READ: Don’t trust my opinion? Well, Galanthus is on our “You Should Be Reading” list! Check it out!

STEVEN UNIVERSE
Courtesy of Ashanti Fortson

The comic is centered on relationships — not just romance, but also friendships. The bonds that Farah forges are amazing and endearing. She hopes for nothing but the best for everyone she encounters, which inspires them to become better people. In this sense, she is just like Steven. Both characters cherish their relationships and just want everyone around them to be happy. And, they end up making the people around them better just by caring about them. GALANTHUS also features a woman who defies the generic body type of female protagonists. It encourages people to feel comfortable in their own skin, something STEVEN UNIVERSE has absolutely mastered.

You can read GALANTHUS online for free! It’s an ongoing series that is currently comprised of a prologue and almost two completed chapters.

3. SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME by Natalie Riess

Have you ever had to cook in a stressful situation? Thanksgiving, maybe? Well, try showing off your culinary skills in the pressure cooker of an intergalactic competition. SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME follows Peony, a baker turned contestant in a cooking show that is broadcasted throughout the universe. She has to compete with aliens who are not only familiar with the otherworldly ingredients they must cook with, but aliens who also definitely do not play fair. Despite this stressful situation, Peony’s interactions with characters are genuine and always giving. She is willing to sacrifice some of her accomplishments and desires to do what is right.

READ: You know who is really nice? Natalie Riess! Check out our interview with her!

STEVEN UNIVERSE
Courtesy of Oni Press

My favorite part of this comic is Peony’s attitude. She is always determined to succeed. She may doubt herself from time to time, but this never stops her resolve. Her can-do attitude and generous spirit make this comic an absolute delight. Peony’s attitude reminds me of any female character in STEVEN UNIVERSE. None of the Gems let anyone tell them what to do and Peony is the exact same way. These bold characters and the out-of-this-world setting makes SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME a great choice for any STEVEN fan out there! Plus, SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME serves up consistently gorgeous visuals. Even Rebecca Sugar would be proud of how the galaxy is rendered in this space adventure.

SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME is currently eight issues in, and is available at your local comic shop! And, on top of that, Oni Press has this story out in trade if you’d like to buy the series all at once!

4. I KILL GIANTS by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura

STEVEN UNIVERSE is absolutely fantastic at sensitively addressing adult issues. However, if you want something more attuned to your adult tastes that still retains a sense of childlike wonder, give I KILL GIANTS a try! Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura bring us Barbara, a young girl who will tell you she’s the towns’ savior. Carrying a Norse hammer in her purse, Barbara fights and, well, kills giants. But Barbara is dealing with something more emotional, which blurs the line between reality and fantasy. It begs the question of whether or not Barbara really kills giants.

READ: Wonder what fandom we picked last week? Check out what we suggested for the GAME OF THRONES fandom!

STEVEN UNIVERSE
Courtesy of Image Comics

Barbara is a young girl who is wise beyond her years. She sees the triviality of school and how people can try to tear you down. But Barbara always pulls forward, maintaining that she knows what she is doing. She follows her heart and is not swayed by other people’s opinions. Steven has a similar ideology. He tells the truth, even when no one believes him. Barbara and Steven have a similar experience in this sense. Plus, they both fight giant fantasy villains in crazy, unexpected ways. So they both have that going for them. However, this is definitely something I would recommend for a…more adult STEVEN UNIVERSE fan.

Kelly and Niimura finished I KILL GIANTS in 2009. In 2014, however, Image released a fifth-year anniversary edition that I would definitely recommend.

5. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS by Kelly Thompson, Stacey Lee, and Jen Hickman

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS picks up the glam rock aesthetic right where the classic cartoon left off. There are a couple of good different comics about Jem out, so finding a good one won’t be hard. My personal recommendation is JEM AND THE HOLOGRAM: INFINITE. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS provides a place for magical women to do their thing and strut their stuff! Jem is influenced by a magical light which changes her from Jerrica to Jem. This concept is a familiar one for STEVEN UNIVERSE fans. In fact, the Crystal Gems do the exact same thing, having their physical forms completely made up of light. These magical women manage to make a positive influence on those around them. Furthermore, the villains in both JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS and STEVEN UNIVERSE are more complex than they first appear. They have their shades of gray, and nothing is ever black-and-white.

READ: We think very highly of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS: INFINITE. Click here to find out why!

Jem and the Holograms: Infinite
Courtesy of IDW Publishing

The women in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS are very diverse. The characters range not just in their races, but in their body types and backgrounds. This comic creates a broader space for more types of women to be more accepting of themselves. This is one of the primary reasons JEM would be a great read for any STEVEN UNIVERSE fan. The show often promotes diverse body types and cultures. The Gems themselves all look completely different from one another, which JEM absolutely takes a page from.

There are a handful of different runs of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS is the overall ongoing series, and both JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS: THE MISFITS and JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS: INFINITE are currently running limited series.

Honorable Mention: DON’T CRY FOR ME, I’M ALREADY DEAD by Rebecca Sugar

Before making it big, Rebecca Sugar created a short comic she posted on her blog. The comic is about two brothers who manage to communicate by using SIMPSONS quotes. They bond over doing this their whole life until a tragic event changes everything. DON’T CRY FOR ME, I’M ALREADY DEAD is touching and very emotional, creating a scenario that feels too real. In just 11 pages, Rebecca Sugar manages to give you all of the feels. And it hurts so good.

But reader, beware! If you want an upbeat, happy comic, you should probably look at our other suggested comics. Although the comic is by Rebecca Sugar, this may be the only trait it shares with STEVEN UNIVERSE. However, don’t let that deter you!

READ: Want our opinion of the STEVEN UNIVERSE comic? Check out our review of issue 1 here!

Rebecca Sugar
Courtesy of Rebecca Sugar

There is a slight snag if you are interested in DON’T CRY FOR ME, I’M ALREADY DEAD. Sugar has taken it off of her Tumblr, which makes it now impossible to find. However, if you ever stumble across this gem (pun intended), read it!

I know it’s a tough decision, but you’re in luck! You don’t have to pick just one comic! Leave a comment! Let us know what comic you chose to fill the wait between episodes.

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