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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Discover the pioneering new comic from transgender cartoonist Erin Nations! Called by critics "funny, sincere, and just generally brilliant," Gumballs is a one-man variety show spanning graphic memoir, observational comedy, razor-sharp character studies, and so much more.

Gumballs dispenses an array of bright, candy-colored short comics about Erin's gender transition, anecd
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Top Shelf Productions
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Stewart Tame
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an engaging collection of short comics pieces dealing with various topics. Nations has helpfully provided a color key for those topics on the table of contents--for example, all stories about Tobias have a pink dot next to the title. If, like me, you simply ignore this key and dive in, reading everything straight through, it's still an enjoyable experience. But, when I was collecting my thoughts prior to writing ths review, I thought about how the stories each seem to fit into one of sev ...more
Rod Brown
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very uneven short story collection. I really like the sequences about Nation's gender transition and youth as a triplet, but offsetting those were the constant interruption of rather mediocre customers-are-awful gags, tedious personal ads, and dull visual diary entries. Also, the creator and publisher experimented with an odd color coding system to let you know about the subjects of the stories scattered throughout the book instead of just gathering all the like material into their own ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, usa, top-shelf
A creative nonfiction comic memoir that interweaves a couple of different stories into one pretty phenomenal graphic novel IMHO.
Born one of a set of triplets and assigned female at birth, Erin's childhood is fertile ground for slice of life vignettes., intermixed with vignettes about his life in Portland as he transitions, intermixed with presumably fictional dating profiles of an outsider like myself see as very Portlandia esque, intermixed with the fictional story of a shy gay highschooler. W
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read for work. This wasn't to my taste, unfortunately -- really disliked the art, the narrative threads never actually came together to form a coherent whole (I don't think they were supposed to? but it's a book, not a webcomic; there should be some sort of overarching story), and frankly the entire fake dating profile concept felt just plain mean. I'm sure Nations is a lovely person with plenty of friends in real life but the way the book is centered on him to the exclusion of any meaningful po ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I love how brutally honest this is. Although at the same time, it makes it difficult to read at points. But I think it's important to read things that make us uncomfortable, that remind us what other people have to face every day. It keeps us from taking our own lives for granted, and help us be more considerate and compassionate human beings.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quirky, fun, and beautifully-drawn graphic memoir about identity, gender dysphoria, and transitioning set in Portland. Highly recommended for fans of memoir-in-vignettes, graphic novels, LGBTQ reads, and memoirs about transitioning.
Scott Robins
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn, lgbtq, ya
Read these in the single issues - GUMBALLS is an anthology series reminiscent of alternative comics from the 90s like Hate and Eightball. The main storyline (and the most interesting to me) is Nations' autobiographical comics - either memories of being a triplet before he transitioned and short comics about his transition. Completely honest, authentic and deeply human. This is a much-needed and welcomed addition to LGBT comics.
Alexandra Butterworth
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure to meet the author at ALA 2018 New Orleans and I had to read this first out of all the books I received there because he was such a sweet quiet guy and I wanted to know his story.

I try to be as kind and supportive as I possibly can to all the Trans people I meet but I didn’t really know much about their daily life and struggles. This book was such an eye opener to the little things I never thought about being a problem. It was a joy to read and definitely helps one understand
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the variety of stories on offer: some addressing a big issue affection Nations' life because he's trans, some just daily comics, some fictional(?), some one shot work jokes that gain humor because they're a running "column" of sorts. I didn't know what to do with the personal ads... some of them seemed just steretype humor a la Portlandia, some of them seemed earnest. I couldn't tell what my reaction was supposed to be and my natural reaction was... "huh". And, I'm not a fan of the squar ...more

Gumballs is a visual mix of memoir, mini-fiction, and micro-fiction, if you will. It revolves around the author, Portland, Oregon native Erin Nations, and their gender transition from female to male, as well as their childhood as a triplet, their work-life, and hand-picked experiences. It also features real or imagined characters doing one page dating profiles (interesting and funny...?), the saga of a gay boy's crushes (interesting), and other bits and pieces (hit/miss).

There's a lot of educati
Gumballs is a perfect name for this sweet and funny assortment of brightly illustrated stories, mixing autobiographical vignettes along with fictional takes on finding your place in a not always welcoming world.

Erin Nations is at his best when he shares his personal stories about transitioning to live his true gender in public. Whether he is writing and drawing about packing, body dysmorphia, the effects of taking HRT/testosterone, or addressing these changes with co-workers, he offers tender in
Melissa Orth
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this graphic novel that is a mish mash of memoir and short comics featuring character sketch singles ads and a random narrative about a high school student crushing on guys. Erin's flashbacks to childhood and description of customer interactions at the grocery coop where he works are amusing. This is clearly a collection of random strips, not a straightforward narrative of his life, but it does give a unique perspective of a F to M transgender person and offers insight into how hi ...more
Stephanie Tournas
The travails and joys of being a triplet and daily life as a trans person are affectionately portrayed in this graphic novel memoir/short comics collection. There are short, long and one page features, so it’s easy to pick up and put down to enjoy. Nations helpfully color codes the categories of featured work, in a sweetly librarian-like way. Reading of his childhood of gender dysphoria and the process of transitioning must be comforting to other trans people, and is a great insight for the rest ...more
Derek Royal
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the things I appreciate about the Gumballs series is Nations's format, one that is largely absent from today's comics...specifically indie or alternative comics. His single-authored anthology is something that we used to see all the time, as in Eightball, Acme Novelty Library, Yummy Fur, and Palookaville. Now those creators have either gone the "graphic novel" route or just discontinued these kind of collections altogether, opting instead for the OGN format. I hope that Nations continues ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Been reading lots of manga(Yuri) lately so it was kinda refreshing to read some indie/alternative comics again.

Nice interesting collection of various comics. My favorites all dealt with Erin. There is a comic talking about male privilege that was so relatable!

I love that Erin referenced Morrissey. As someone who has listened to Moz on a few Valentines Days I found this bit pretty humorous. Actually there are many pop culture references that made me smile.

I really enjoyed this and will be followi
Dakota Morgan
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Gumballs is jam-packed with brief, interesting, often amusing, sometimes sad glimpses into Erin Nations' quirky Portland life. I really appreciated the comics about gender transition, as that's still an uncommon topic in mainstream literature, comic or otherwise. But Nations' stories about being a triplet and working in a grocery store are just as delightful. With such a diverse grab-bag, it's true that at least a quarter of the short works fall flat, but Gumballs is still worth perusing for it' ...more
Sarah J
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, lgbtq, memoirs
It's a fairly quick read, but Nations' comic book gives plenty of ideas for the reader to think on. Combining memoir and essays on transgender rights and social changes, along with funny personal ads and quirky travelogues, Nations' "Gumballs" is packed with fun. The comics on the changes from female to male in both body, mind, and society are especially important, giving plenty of discussion on what it means to be a woman and a man in an equal, fair culture.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book collects short stories by Erin Nations, some auto-bio, some fictional. He writes about experiences growing up as a triplet, his transition, working at a grocery store, biking around Portland and road trips. Also included are personal ads of stereotypical Pacific Northwesterners and stories about Tobias, a sweet gay teen plagued by constant unrequited crushes. The different types of material are interspersed a bit randomly, but I enjoyed it all.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I think because this had been published as a graphic novel I was expecting more of a linear storytelling, but it certainly worked as a series of snippets and concepts.

Cool art and very readable. Unfortunately though I found some parts very interesting, there were other parts I found less so (I didn't really get the series of random profile bios, they just weren't that funny to me I think).

Good read but didn't love it as much I thought.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun style and funny, as well as informative, for me, about what the process of transitioning to male is like. How do you deal with coworkers who have known you before the transition? For Nations the physical changes were like going through a late life puberty. There are also interludes with hilarious dating profiles of Pacific-Northwest types, and an ongoing side story about nerdy teen Tobias and his crush on dreamy Rivers Mancuso.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: glbt, graphic
Erin Nations has written a highly stylized account of his transition, his childhood as a triplet, his job as a produce clerk, and some of the other random people he has met. The whole book is told more in a story of vignettes, which can make it come across as a bit uneven, but ultimately, I'd be curious to see what he does in the future.
I found it to be funny and honest.
John  Mihelic
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nations tells his story as transman in Portland in graphic form in this book. It isn’t a traditional narrative arc, bit more an assemblage of smaller narratives and stand-alone frames to build up the larger story (is the right word a storytelling mosaic?) It reminds me of Burroughs in graphic form. It works though – you end up rooting for him as he maneuvers through life as a man in process.
Emilia P
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
I was kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed this vignette-y, webcomicy?, very Pacific Northwesty comic of trans life, triplet life, grocery store staff life, general cartoonist hanging around in places life.
I dunno man? Drawing style/color sense was definitely a major plus. Too loose to be on a best of, but it was really good.
Carla A
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
For me this exceeds expectations but the negative points people make are not without merit depending on expectations. Having read a ton of simlar collections the fact that it isn't a single liner story did not bother me.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this collection, from the dating profiles to the personal stories of transitioning, this collection is just incredible. Erin has a wonderful art style and his stories are funny relatable, especially the customer service ones!
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't love the style - the content is great.
I don't really have much to say about this book. I really loved it. I loved the art style, I loved his short comics, I loved his total openness in this book. It is a great collection.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Considering that I don't really like the art style Nations uses, I was surprised by how much I liked this book!
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