A look inside LGBTQ+ friendly Dublin comic shop Little Deer Comics

Located in Stoneybatter, Little Deer Comics stocks shelves full of LGBTQ+ and Irish creations.

The exterior of Little Deer Comics. It is a yellow store front with blue and yellow signage.
Image: @littledeercmx via X

Stoneybatter might seem to be an odd place to find a comic shop, but that is where you will find Little Deer Comics. Nestled amongst the trendy cafés and restaurants, the store specialises in small press and independent comics. The term “small press” is a bit hard to pin down as it can mean anything from handmade zines to independent books produced by smaller publishers, but the store houses all of the varieties within its walls.

Little Deer Comics started as a market stall before finding its permanent physical home on Manor Place. It has a very small business feel and opening hours are not super strict so you may need to spend a few minutes in a coffee shop while you wait as Matt Melis fits family life and postal deliveries into his day. They are always very good at keeping you posted on their comings and goings, just check out their social media.


It was under the hazy umbrella of small press that queer comics first found their voice so it is natural to assume that you would find them represented on the shelves of Little Deer Comics, and this is very much the case. Matt explained, “I went to an alternative film school in the ’90s and queer cinema was an influential part of my education there and when I came back to comics in the mid-aughts, it was during a queer webcomics boom and many of those LGBTQ+ artists I followed on Tumblr 10-20 years ago are now published authors and I can stock their books which is so exciting!”

One of the pioneers of queer comics is Alison Bechdel. The creator of the long-running series Dykes To Watch Out For, she achieved commercial and critical success with her 2006 memoir Fun Home. You’ll find that book and the follow-up, The Secret To Superhuman Strength, on the shelves.

Another personal favourite of mine that you will see is The Magic Fish by Trung Lê Nguyễn. This is a series for all ages.

It tells the story of Tiến, who, like a lot of teenagers, is struggling to come out to his parents. However, he literally doesn’t have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. It is a wonderful and unique coming-out story that tackles the issues in a way that is accessible to people of all ages. The idea of Tiến navigating his life through fairytales is what drew me in as I wanted to learn more about Vietnam, and I got that and a whole lot more.

Being that the shop is in Dublin, it is natural that some Irish creators are represented. The most well-known is Dogs With Dates creator Luke Healy. The store holds an array of his work, including his first graphic novel How To Survive In The North, a book that mixed two true stories (the historical expeditions of Ada Blackjack and Robert Bartlett in 1912 and 1916, respectively) with a fictional story from the present day. It shows the struggle it takes to survive, whether it is during an Arctic exploration or a mid-life crisis.

It also has Healy’s last graphic novel, The Con Artists, a witty look at the life of Frank, an aspiring comedian who moves in to look after his friend, Giorgio, after the latter gets hit by a bus. Frank and Giorgio were childhood friends but are not particularly close at this point, meeting up only every six months. As a result, most of what Frank knows about him comes from his social media presence. He soon learns that all is not as it seems and that Giorgio’s life is a web of lies.


I asked Matt about some of his favourite books. “My favourites are endless, the shop acts as both my personal bookshelf (since my own home is too small for anything more than a shelf or two) and my ever-growing To Read pile. Last year’s Roaming was a nostalgic kick to the stomach (in a good way!) from Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. Thieves by Lucie Bryon is electric. I’m very much looking forward to the latest Luke Healy book, Self-Esteem and the End of the World due in May and Bianca Xunise’s Punk Rock Karaoke in April.”

Of course, if you can’t find what you are looking for on their shelves or online store, you can ask them to order it for you. I much prefer to support an Irish business, especially an LGBTQ+-friendly shop like Little Deer Comics, than a larger international corporation. Plus it makes your life easier as you can drop in and pick up your book instead of waiting indoors for some vague delivery time.

The store also provides a meeting place for people. It hosts life drawing classes and Drink and Draw evenings where people can meet and try their hand a creating their own art. They are also open to bookings should you have your own idea for a meeting or event.

It’s well worth a visit to Stoneybatter to see this gem of a store.


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