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Niki Smith Books In Order

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Publication Order of Graphic Novels

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Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Niki Smith
Niki Smith is a writer, artist, and a lover of great comics (and some trashier ones as well). She grew up in Kansas and is dedicated to filling up the world with diverse and queer stories.

Niki has contributed to the Lambda Literary Award-winning Beyond anthology.

“Crossplay” was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and was a 2019 GINCO Award Spotlight.

“Crossplay” began as a few different short stories that she wrote for Filthy Fragments, which is a website featuring a collection of erotic comics drawn by non-binary and women artists. She worked for them for about ten years and this is where it was serialized originally. She wrote two short comics that were set in the same world, with some of the same characters, then she pitched it to somebody at Iron Circus Comics. She liked this idea and they decided to expand it into a full graphic novel.

The first story was about two best friends flirting with another in character, and using some light-hearted role play in order to hide the fact they had feelings for each other. The second is a lot closer to what became the graphic novel, with a threesome between two of the cosplayers and the girl that did their photo shoot. The same characters appear in “Crossplay”, however the short story expands a little more on their relationship.

These first two stories had much more porn and less of a plot. The finished book has quite a bit of porn, too, but the ratio’s pretty different, with the short stories being skewed more toward sex scenes rather than any sort of ongoing complex story line.

Niki grew up loving books that played with identity and gender. When she was little, finding trans and queer characters in young adult and middle-grade books was just about impossible.

With certain stories, something about the blurring of gender roles struck a deep chord with her. While she still loves so many of these tales, they all had something in common: despite all of this “gender-bending”, the queer undertones, and the flirting while in disguise, each of these stories ends with a main character that is firmly straight and cis. Even as a child, she knew she wanted more.

She never once saw the reverse: it was always the girls that yearned to live like a boy, and never the other way around. The life of a girl was dreary and filled with boring hobbies, something to escape. She wanted to write a magic system that had its roots deep in “women’s work”, in spindles, weaving, and fiber arts.

All of this led to “The Deep and Dark Blue”. A couple of siblings on the run looking for refuge but with a mysterious order of women. For one twin, however, it is not a disguise. It is the opportunity for one young trans girl to live like herself for the first time.

“The Deep & Dark Blue” was inspired by the books that she loved when she was a child, stories that played with gender. Where girls would disguise themselves as boys to live the lives that they wanted, being pirates, soldiers, and knights. Many books also feature twins, with the main lead disguising herself as her twin brother in order to go off and have some adventures. She made Grayce and Hawke twins as a nod to these stories: Tamora Pierce’s “Alanna” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”.

Drawing Grayce and Hawke as identical twins allowed her to show just how different they are from each other. Her intent was that readers would never confuse either one of them, no matter just how similar they look. With Hawke being quick to laugh and loud, cocky and bold, ready for any fight, while Grayce is much quieter, aching for change, and wistful. Her posture will change throughout the novel while gaining confidence and steps into the world.

Color also plays a large role in her book. Blue especially, in the form of the magical and mysterious indigo dye. The title of the graphic novel comes from a Lord Byron poem that she found.

Niki attempts to keep normal working hours. She finds it healthier for her mind and body to take evenings and weekends off. She realizes that she is just lucky to be able to afford to work this way though. Niki’s usually up at her computer and working by nine in the morning, with what she’s doing depending on where she is in her book. One or two months of scripting, then a few months of thumbnails and sketches, then comes inks, and then colors.

“Crossplay” is a stand alone graphic novel and was released in the year 2018. New acquaintances and close friends at an anime convention challenge their hang-ups, confront their crushes, and question their formerly comfortable identities. All in this erotic graphic novel about learning more about who you are meant to love and who you are really meant to be.

This is a short and sweet graphic novel with a ton of sex, which displays a diverse expression of bodies and sex. The entire story is quite cute and affirming.

“The Deep & Dark Blue” is a stand alone graphic novel and was released in the year 2020. Grayson and Hawke, after a horrible political coup usurps their noble house, flee to survive and assume some new identities, Grayce and Hanna. Both chance and desperation take them to the Communion of Blue, which is an order of magical women that spin the threads of reality to their will.

While the twins learn more about this Communion, and themselves, they start coming up with a plot to avenge their family and take back their royal home. Even though Hawke wants to go back to his old life, Grayce struggles with the threads of her new life from unraveling. She realizes that she wants to live in a place that’s going to allow her to finally live as a girl.

This is a fascinating and gorgeous graphic novel with a fantastic drawing style and color scheme.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Niki Smith

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