The sci-fi android romance comic Artifice is arresting—but not because it features gay protagonists. Rather, it's arresting because, reading it, you suddenly realize the extent to which gay protagonists are normal.
"Normal," in this context, means a couple of things. Most straightforwardly (if that's the right word here), writer Alex Woolfson and artist Winona Nelson are working in the yaoi comics genre. Yaoi—also referred to as boys' love or BL—is a Japanese comics (manga) genre written mostly by women, for women, which focuses on romance between gay men. The genre is popular with a small but avid fanbase in the United States—and Woolfson has courted that audience explicitly. Artifice, published in book form this month, first appeared as a webcomic on Woolfson's website, which is called Yaoi911.
Admittedly, Nelson's art is looks much more like mainstream Western comics illustration than like manga. But Woolfson's story is very much in the yaoi tradition. In the west, the strongest traditions of gay comics have been confessional (like Fun Home) or pornographic (like Tom of Finland). Woolfson, on the other hand, tells a story about an android assassin (Deacon) who falls in love with a young man (Jeff) his corporate owners want him to kill. Much of the comic involves Deacon talking to a therapist (Dr. Clarice Maven) whose job is to try to get him to work out his issues so he can return to being a good corporate solider The gay romance, in other words, is a trope, to be mixed in gleefully with other tropes—android assassins! malevolent analysts!—in the interest of pleasurable genre frisson. Gayness, in this context, is "normal" in the sense that it is conventional. It's a story element that you use just as you would use, say, heterosexual romance—because genre readers want genre pleasures, and this is one of the genre pleasures they want.