Preview: Matthias Lehmann’s Celebrated Historical LGBTQ+ German Graphic Novel – ‘Parallel’

by Richard Bruton

Matthias Lehmann‘s Parallel tells a harrowing tale of LGBTQ+ prejudice and discrimination in post-war Germany.


Coming out in June, Oni Press are releasing Matthias Lehmann’s Parallel, the 2018 finalist for the Berthold Leibinger Foundation comic book prize.

This first English translation is a beautiful and powerful work in which the author explores his own complicated family history—a relative who lived with the complexities of being gay at a time when queer relationships were forbidden. So with this as a background, Lehmann’s Parallel examines one man’s experiences in post-war Germany, torn between twin desires, wanting to conform and have a nice, normal family, and the simultaneous pull of his nature as a gay man.


Here’s Oni Press’ PR bumf for this one…

“Taking place between the end of World War II and the 1980s, Parallel chronicles Karl Kling’s efforts to comply with social norms in order to keep his sexuality a secret. It also paints a picture of a life torn between conformity and rebellion, and the cruel realities of twentieth-century German society, where homosexuality was proscribed and punishable until 1994. Matthias Lehmann poignantly depicts the story of a decades-long yearning to live an open and free life, and the price Karl and those he loves paid for it. It is also a story of finding the courage to finally tell the truth no matter the obstacles . . . or the cost.”


Switching between past and present with ease, Parallel is framed through Karl’s letter to his daughter, Hella, a daughter who disowned her father many years past.

In the letter, through flashbacks and memories evocatively rendered in tones and grey wash and a gorgeous line, we find out of Karl’s past, his failed marriages, his fractured family relationships, and the difficulties of life denying his desires as a closeted gay man in a country where his very existence was punishable until the 1990s.



Writer/Artist/Cover by Matthias Lehmann

Published by Oni Press on June 14th

Now, a quick preview of Parallel, showing some of the multiple lives led by Karl Kling in this emotional and affecting graphic novel…




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