Graphic Novel Review: Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman

Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman. Lerner / Graphic Universe, 2019. 9781541572843. 104pp.

Gillman’s follow-up to As The Crow Flies is a beautifully drawn (with colored pencils again!) historical western featuring queer characters, set in New Mexico Territory in 1861. (Confederate troops under General Sibly had just taken the southern half of the territory and renamed it. Gillman explains the history in annotations at the end of the book.)

Grace is fleeing her family in Georgia and Civil War conscription, heading by stagecoach for California where she hopes to work in the theater. En route the demonic Ghost Hawk robs the coach and kidnaps Grace, hoping for a ransom. Back at Ghost Hawk’s camp, she removes Grace’s bonnet, and it’s obvious from Grace’s growing beard and instant irritation at being unmasked the she was assigned male at birth. But Ghost Hawk treats her like the lady she is, and as they swap stories she even tells Grace about her dream of a last big heist and settling down to raise goats. Ghost Hawk’s plan involves busting up a Confederate cotillion to find out what they’re up to, and selling that information to the Union. Soon Ghost Hawk and Grace are partners in the venture and, after a quick trip to a fabulous tailor, they head for the party.



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