Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

October 6, 2006

Poly Comic Strips

There are way more comic strips on the web now than on paper. Webcomics number more than 7,000 [update 2013: make that more than 21,500], ranging from pathetic to brilliant. Here are 100 of the most popular.

I've run across a few poly strips:

Strange Den, which is semi-autobiographical. The characters in the author's house are real despite how they're drawn. Here's what the author thinks of her family.

Spice, an archived oldie telling the story of how the author's quad got together.

Queen of Wands, another archival strip, is at least poly-friendly. Claims to be 70% nonfiction. This page is a good, fast explanation of poly suitable for printing in large format (here's the file) and taping to your door.

The hauntingly winsome Bruno has long had polyamory drift in and out of her dreamy, ineffectual life.

The long-running, ever-popular Dykes to Watch Out For featured this sly episode a while back. (With thanx to diligent researcher Guy With Hounds.)

Those were all I found. Can you add more? Post in the Comments section below.

P.S.: Then I open my mainstream morning newspaper a couple days ago to see a Harry Bliss cartoon (not available on the web) showing one lightbulb saying to another as they look at a third: "A three-way bulb! That's hot!"

P.P.S.: Questionable Content offers this explosive-laden scene. And this update of old-timey doctoring....

Here's a lolcats that's been going around. Oh, and a bunch more: MAI POLYAMORY LOLCATS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. And another.

And here is a major historical golden oldie! A genuine scanned paper copy of Far Out West comics starring Polly Morfus — by "Even Eve" Furchgott of the seminal Kerista commune in Haight-Ashbury, the group that invented the terms polyfidelity and compersion. This was published in 1975, when computers were supposed to look like that thing on the cover.

Update May 30, 2008: The long-running "Fans" has returned with a storyline exploring a new-forming triad, complete with Heinlein reference. It helps to know the characters and their backstories (bad goth bondage girl with heart of gold, maybe; sweet little anime artist, a runaway from Japan; all-American Christian college kid, thinks he's Archie). And the frames can cut from one storyline to another. But never mind, pick it up from here. Keep clicking the forward arrow.

The artist clearly knows what he's doing. As the story develops he's touching one important base after another.

Update July 2008: In The New PolyAnna, cartoonist Anna Hirsch chronicles her life of multiples.

Updates 2009-10: "Oopsie" from the Polyamorous Percolations forums says she's starting up a comic named <3, an emoticon heart.

And another, from "Pictures for Sad Children".

And another, from "Not Invented Here."

A geek-thought warning from xkcd.

A new twist on the hoary old Noah's Ark trope.

The popular strip Questionable Content ran a strip on February 5, 2010 that a lot of poly readers criticized, so artist J. Jacques followed up with an explanatory strip on February 8 spelling out his views on polyamory. And at the bottom, in an author's text box, he explains himself:

It seems some people were offended or confused by Friday's comic. They felt that I was saying or implying that polyamory is somehow not as serious as monogamy, or that polyamorous folks don't enter into committed relationships, or something. That couldn't possibly be further from my intent!

What I was going for in that comic (and this one) is that the specific situation Tai finds herself in.... In no way did I mean to imply that because Tai isn't happy, ALL polyamory is unfulfilling, or not serious, or anything of that sort.

Like Dora says in today's strip, relationships exist on a continuum, and there are many different kinds of relationship that different people consider "polyamory." You certainly can have a serious, committed, happy polyamorous relationship! You can also be more casually polyamorous, like Tai has been in the comic. Ain't no right or wrong, or inferior or superior, as long as everybody's being safe and honest.

One of the challenges of working in this medium is that intent and interpretation are two very different things. I thought it was obvious that I was writing about a specific situation, and not denigrating polyamory in any way, but some people felt otherwise. That means I didn't do a good enough job! The vast majority of you guys either had no problem with the strip or actively told me that it was fine! But that doesn't mean that the minority who were bothered by it don't deserve to have their concerns addressed, which is what I'm attempting to do.

I apologize if I've hurt any feelings or offended anyone, and will try to make my intent more clear in the future! I hope this clears things up.

Added 2011: Poly in Pictures, by Lotte.

Dinosaur Comics on polyamory, an oldie (Oct. 6, 2003). And another (Mar. 30, 2011). And another (Nov. 19, 2013).

From Something Positive, regarding those elementary-school Valentine's Day rituals.

Kendermouse writes,

Flipside seems to handle it at some point, and is sex-postive throughout.... First comic is here. They have nifty "Monogamy... it's overrated" shirts, that come in a true variety of sizes!

And Girl Genius seems to be leaning that way lately, at least if the side stories and comments of the castle and whatnot are any indication. Heck, in one of the one-off side stories, it's the canon ending! (The start of said story.) :)

Just begun: the amateur furry anime strip PolyFi.

Lucy Bellwood's as-yet-unnamed mono-vs-poly autobiography. She's good. On her blog she writes that she "is currently pursuing a degree in Studio Art at Reed College while trying to figure out how to make comics the central focus of her academic and social life."

For Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner giggles, here's an oldie in the style of Gary Larsen.

Added 2012

Girls With Slingshots looks like its heading into a poly storyline. Artist's comments. Update: Ryan comments on the North Carolina Regional Poly List, "The gist of it is that two women start off in a monogamous relationship. One is asexual, and one is a very libidinous bisexual, and they decide to shift to a polyamorous relationship to deal with the frustrations presented by their dramatically different sexualities. The author admits she has very little personal experience with either asexuality or polyamory, but I've been really impressed with some issues she's tackled in the past (like safe sex, ageism, representation of a wide variety of body types, BDSM, differences in sexual experience, how differences in ability (like deafness or blindness) affect relationships, male aggression, different concepts of satisfying sexuality, etc), and I'm enjoying her attempt at approaching asexuality and polyamory concurrently. The polyamory story arc starts here." The storyline take a break for a run of guest artists, then resumes here.

Next up: Go Get a Roomie sometimes takes up poly themes, as Chloé C. in Brussels draws "the wild adventures of an upbeat hippie, living her life in love and joy. (And beer and sex.)"

More geekness: Why you should date a scientist... or a poly scientist.

Added 2013

The new Kimchi Cuddles is all about poly life and loves. (With the old exploding head meme.) "Most of the comics are based on my own experiences, but many are based on the experiences of friends of mine or from submissions from fans." It's exploding in popularity in the poly world as of June 2013, a month after its introduction.

Added 2014

Kris "Floe" Busini posts some illustrated autobiography.

My Heart Palace by Glasmond (who runs a geek shop in Munich) about her partners Cherry and Schpog.

Another slippery slope.

Added February 2015

A new ongoing strip about the author-triad's life: The Feeling Is Multiplied!.

A reader recommends Leftover Soup.

Added March 2015

Ongoing autobiography of a mono-oriented person: Polyamory Isn't for Everyone.


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Anonymous Seth C Triggs said...

My comic Buddies in Big Places www.bibp.com has a poly trio, the characters Tawny, Ted and Celine. Heh heh...

October 09, 2006 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Grant said...


October 09, 2006 11:49 AM  
Anonymous jesebelle said...

I think Strange Den might possibly become a favorite of mine, after Something Positive. I starting reading it and suddenly my sides were hurting.

October 18, 2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

This is from the Polyamory FAQ at stason.org:

22). Polyamory Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Love and Rockets comic books have a poly/bi accepting story line written by Jaime Hernandez.

Omaha the Cat Dancer and ElfQuest comic books also have main characters that are frequently or occasionally involved in polyamorous relationships.

There was a comic in the Kerista newsletters called "Far Out West." Some of these were collated into a comic called "Polly Morphus in FAR OUT WEST".

Whom Gods Destroy, a DC Elseworlds graphic novel which features an alternate earth where the Nazis are still in power, Superman never aged, and Lois Lane and Lana Lang got old. In the end, when the adventure is finished, the three profess to love one another and then live in polyamorous cohabitation.

Shade: The Changing Man has a plot thread involving the title character and two women (Kathy and Lenny).

January 14, 2008 1:32 PM  
Blogger Sweet Heart of the Song Tra Bong said...

Strange Den is awesome. It's so exciting to find this site and see so many people working creatively to represent polyamory through art and literacy.

August 17, 2008 6:30 PM  
OpenID 365hats said...

Excellent list! I feel very proud to be on it. :D And I've linked you, because lists like this are difficult to find online. Thanks so much!

January 09, 2011 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Seraphina said...

We also have a poly comic, PolyFi. http://www.polyficomic.com

March 09, 2012 11:25 PM  

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