Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame
From Pantheon Books:
A mesmerizing coming-of-age and coming-out graphic novel by the genius writer-artist of the Eisner Award–winning breakout hit My Brother’s Husband
Set in contemporary suburban Japan, Our Colors is the story of Sora Itoda, a sixteen-year-old aspiring painter who experiences his world in synesthetic hues of blues and reds and is governed by the emotional turbulence of being a teenager. He wants to live honestly as a young gay man in high school, but that is still not acceptable in Japanese society. His best friend and childhood confidante is Nao, a young woman whom everyone thinks is (or should be) his girlfriend, and it would be the easiest thing to play along—she knows he’s gay but knows, too, how difficult it is to live one’s truth in his situation.
Sora’s world changes forever when he meets Mr. Amamiya, a middle-aged gentleman who is the owner and proprietor of a local coffee shop and is completely, unapologetically out as a gay man. A mentorship and platonic friendship ensues as Sora comes out to him and agrees to paint a mural in the shop, and Mr. Amamiya counsels Sora about how to deal with who he is. But it won’t be easy. Mr. Amamiya paid a high price for his freedom of identity, and when a figure from his past suddenly appears, the situation becomes a vivid example of just how complicated life can be.