Folks, it’s mid-April and you know what that means? We are less than one month away from the release of She-Ra Season 5.
With the pandemic altering our way of life, many of us are spending our days at home–working, creating, relaxing, or reading abhorrent amounts of fanfiction. People are seeking comfort in familiarity by rewatching episodes of She-Ra and eagerly hypothesizing about Season 5. She-Ra is timeless and I, personally, will never get tired of “White Out” (2×05). However, it is highly likely that you need more content, similar to She-Ra, to fill the void while awaiting the Season 5 release. If that’s the case, read on for eight She-Ra adjacent recommendations.
ROADQUEEN: Eternal Roadtrip to Love by Mira Ong Chua
Roadqueen by Mira Ong Chua is a light-hearted, low-stakes, lesbian romantic comedy, with motorcycles. If Princess Prom is your favorite She-Ra episode, then this graphic novel will make your heart happy. There is as much, if not more, flirting, pining, and panicking when you realize that you might just have romantic feelings. Our protagonist, Leo, ends up in a fake dating relationship with the woman (friend? enemy? crush?) who stole her motorcycle, and hilarity ensues. Once you finish Roadqueen, be sure to check out Chua’s other wlw comics, available for purchase on her website.
Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer
Do you like beefy lesbian jocks fighting with giant robots in space? How about princesses, creating your own destiny, and outer space adventures to reunite with your long lost girlfriend? When you watch She-Ra, are you enthralled by the beautifully painted backgrounds, the soft pink and purple color palettes, and Etheria’s many moons? If you answered yes, then Hannah Templer’s Cosmoknights is for you. This graphic novel is phenomenal, and only the first in a series. I don’t want to spoil anything but She-Ra fans, you’re going to enjoy this one. I mean, just look at this panel:
And this panel:
The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson
This might seem like an obvious recommendation, but showrunner Noelle Stevenson’s memoir is a must-read for She-Ra fans. This graphic memoir follows several years of Mrs. Stevenson’s life, from art school to writing Nimona, to working for various comics publishers and developing SPOP. She discusses mental and emotional health, inspiration, creativity, and many of her life experiences. The Fire Never Goes Out gives readers a look into Mrs. Stevenson’s life, in turn, allowing us to better understand the characters we know and love, especially Adora, Catra, and Glimmer. The saying goes “Write what you know”, and after reading her memoir, it’s clear to see that Mrs. Stevenson writes her own experiences into her work. Expect an emotional journey, but I promise it’s worth it.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Mrs. Stevenson’s first graphic novel, Nimona, is a timeless treasure. If you haven’t read it yet, this is the perfect story for an evening quarantined at home with a cup of tea and a cat on your lap. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll notice some familiar trends in Mrs. Stevenson’s writing. These characters will stick with you, long after reading. And if you’ve already read Nimona, why not re-read it? I especially recommend reading or re-reading if you’re worried about Catra’s story arc in Season 5.
A diverse cast of characters, LGBTQ+ representation, enemies-to-lovers romance, and excellent comedy. This description applies to both She-Ra and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Available for streaming on Hulu, Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows the day-to-day antics of a squad of police detectives in New York. It’s the perfect comedy to lift your spirits while stuck at home awaiting the last season of She-ra. Plus, there’s a new trend of editing Brooklyn Nine-Nine quotes over She-Ra screenshots and it works eerily well.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Arguably one of the best animated shows of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender centers around similar themes as She-Ra: friendship and found family, destiny, war, and redemption. If you haven’t watched it, please sit down and watch this show. You’ll never be the same again. Avatar is especially recommended to SPOP fans who are intrigued by Catra’s role as a villain and antihero, who are curious about her (possibly) upcoming redemption arc.
The Legend of Korra
Following right along after ATLA comes its sequel, The Legend of Korra. The show follows the new Avatar, a waterbender named Korra, as she navigates her journey to learn airbending, the last element on her list. As the seasons progress, the show introduces complex villains with varying moral compasses, something She-Ra fans will definitely be familiar with. Plus, Korra kicks butt.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
She-Ra fans, this one is a must-read. There’s magic, dueling, and flirtatious banter in space. There’s necromancy and giant swords, in space. Our protagonist, Gideon, is a big beefy jock with a sword (sound familiar?) forced into a complex situation with her short and angry childhood best friend/worst enemy (sound familiar??). If you’re looking for more lesbian representation, amazingly choreographed sword fights, and a flicker of enemies-to-maybe lovers, than Gideon the Ninth is the book for you.
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is a gorgeous animated series, available for streaming on Netflix. The show addresses similar themes of found family and friendship and, as of the first season, it’s more light-hearted than She-Ra, so expect to laugh more than cry. The soundtrack is absolutely stunning and our protagonist, Kipo (aka Karen Fukuhara, who voices Glimmer) sings beautifully. Moreover, Kipo has LGBTQ representation and leading characters of color. Plus, there’s an adorable four-eyed pig, wolves who perform a rap about physics, and dogs bigger than entire cities.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s one of many songs performed in the show, by protagonist Kipo (Karen Fukuhara, aka Glimmer).
Last but not least, if you’re really feeling the She-Ra craving, then why not try…
She-Ra Princess of Power
Even though we’re biased in thinking that SPOP is far better, the original is still a gem to behold. If you’re in the mood for a campy guilty pleasure, look no further than the original. See the original takes on the characters and the fabulous lore of the Masters of the Universe realm. If anything, it’s a great way to appreciate how far we’ve come.
Hopefully, at least one of these recommendations will spark your interest and keep you entertained while we wait for Season 5. Stay strong, SPOP fans! We don’t have much longer to wait!