Cover Image: The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics

The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics

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Member Reviews

3.5, rounded up

I overall really enjoyed this series of comics. The thing is that I didn’t like all of them equally, some I would have easily give 5 stars, others I didn’t like that much. I know this is a personal experience, cause it mostly has stuff to do with the art style. I loved that all stories where different, but in the end all of them give a message of hope.

Overall I would recommend the book if you are looking for an interesting and touching stories of trans and non-binary lives.

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I am excited for when this book comes out I would like to get a copy. As an artist myself I enjoyed seeing everyone's work. I want to support other artists in the community, and I am very thankful for all them sharing pieces of their stories. Some of these experiences can be very uplifting/isolating and portions of the audience can relate to both or some of each. I am thankful to have read a beautiful book.
Thank NetGalley for the arc copy.

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I only came across this comic series because of a book challenge I was doing that had an LGBT+ graphic novel prompt. The Out Side instantly grabbed my attention with its bright cover and interesting description. It didn't quite fulfil the prompt, but that felt fitting because as humans, we don't all fit into neat little boxes and that's exactly the story this comic series tells.

I loved how each author brought their identity story to life in their own creative way. It's amazing how much I learned about the person in so few pages. I instantly respected them for living their life on their terms, despite constant pushback, negative comments, and societal judgement. The story that really stayed with me was by a bi-gender author who as a female, was told they would never be loved. But they countered that by saying there is a man who loves them - himself. One body, two souls. I remember reading this and thinking about it for days afterwards. Something so simple, yet society continues to only see in black and white.

This is one of those books that everyone should read, regardless of their identity or sexuality. It's all about educating ourselves and stepping outside of what society deems as acceptable and embracing people for who they truly are.

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I gave this five stars, I enjoyed this so much. I absolutely recommend the t to everyone. I liked the art and each artists experiences with finding out about their gender expression and identity.

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Thank you sooooo uch for this book ! Brigging us so many differents stories, each one in the artist's style, that's so meaningfull.

Coming out is a thing, but how queer people know who they are ? How they do their coming in ?
Read this book to know some ways ;)

We all have different stories but we all needed help to guide us in our coming in. This book is helpfull to every people questionning. Thank you <3

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Received a review copy NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

I mean this compilation was unexpected, the cover didn't tell me that when I approached it.
I also want to say that the rating was from my enjoyment and experience and never from the experiences of the authors.
In general, I liked all the stories, there were a couple that by preference did not enjoy the style of drawing, but I felt all the experiences close to my heart and I respect them very much.
I wanted to read this book to get closer to these people and get to know them and see them and understand them and it has helped me a lot in my path of understanding the subject.
Other than that, I found it difficult to adjust to the anthology format at first, this because I didn't know what I had gotten myself into, but having gotten used to it it was a nice time that taught me a lot and made me feel a bunch of emotions that I imagine were the purpose.
I will recommend it to my relatives because I find it of valuable importance in current issues.
I love you very much and I send you love.

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This is such a lovely comic anthology on gender queerness. It features a number of personal stories from a great range of diverse artists. All the art is obviously beautiful and incredibly expressive — so many new artists for me to check out on instagram!!

It makes me so unbelievably happy that these stories are being told and shared. It's awesome to know this anthology will connect with and help others in their own journeys with gender. This read felt like a wonderful celebration of queer gender exploration and acceptance. I definitely highly recommend this for everyone.

Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for providing an eARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Great anthology of trans and nonbinary joy!

Although the majority of the guest artists are from the USA, there's a great variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Recommended to anyone who wants to be reminded that things do get better.

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This graphic anthology is like a warm hug. It's filled with stories by trans people, mostly about their own experiences, about embracing who they are and living their lives. The stories are short and while they talk about similar things, each trabs story is unique and also each one is like a repetition: you're not alone, you can have a good life in this messed up world.

I loved how diverse the artists are - they cover so many identities from under the trans umbrella, live around the world and are of different races and ethnicities.

I definitely recommend it 💜

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It's exciting to see a book coming out with so many trans and nonbinary artists sharing their stories. I appreciated so many different perspectives and experiences. There were some stories that I wished were longer, but the author biographies shared other works by the authors and social media handles. Topics included (not limited to) coming out, realizing gender identity, family relationships, self-image, and finding happiness.

This book is for everyone, not just trans and nonbinary people. I hope this book brings LGBTQIA+ people joy and opens the minds and hearts of everyone.

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In this vibrant and affirming comics anthology, 29 trans & nonbinary comic artists share their personal journeys of self-discovery and acceptance.
The stories are incredibly short but I’m gonna try and give my opinion in all of them.
In these reviews I am not in any way rating the author’s lives, just how they were portrayed through a graphic novel short story.

Mini Reviews for each Story:

Outsider by Sam (he/him) – 3.5 stars
This one is about being seen and thinking the worst out of it. I really liked the nature representation in this one, either if you are trans or not, this story can touch anyone. The art is light and hopeful.

Not There Yet by Wey (they/them) – 3 stars
Again, this one is about being seen, but a different perspective of it. How people see you, and how you feel differently. It’s set during covid, so it feels close to home. This has much heavier art, especially because of the choice of colour palette, which wasn’t as appealing for me.

What’s the Point Then? by Jam Aden (he/they) – 4 stars
This is about self-acceptance. How being trans and non-binary affects our feelings and how people see you in life. How it is to not fit in, in the conception of what a man should be. You should be happy with who you are. Again, it can resonate with anyone. The art is super adorable and flowery.

Well-Hidden by Maddie Jacobus (she/her) – 3.5 stars
This is about discovering who you are and not being afraid of it, instead embracing it. It was overall really cute and how others too can help you figure out who you are. It also contains body image, and how our author doesn’t care about it at all. The art was really cute and more oldish-style, like faded colors.

Laegg by Lae Louie Schäfer (he/him) – 3.5 stars
This is about how beauty can affect how people treat you. How they think it’s a waste to change. Our author feels like an egg and he wants to crack the shell, badly. The art is very comic-y and colourful.

Pierced by Liam Coballes (he/him)– 4 stars
This is about perceiving what a man should and shouldn’t be. How society puts everyone in a box and if you are out of it, you aren’t normal. I really liked this one, and once again, this story can relate to anyone. Use what makes you happy and not what society deems right. The art was really nice and I love that it felt like a gradient of self discovery.

Undefined by Zhen (they/them) – 4 stars
This is about that from birth we are automatically labeled either boy or girl according to our genitals. After that there’s no in between, a lot like the colours of the story – girl is pink, boy is blue. It’s hard to fit in, when you know something is not right. I really liked this one too. The art is very shojo manga like.

Foreign Body by Ashi (he/they) – 3.5 stars
This deals with gender dysphoria. Puberty sucks for everyone in my opinion. It’s hard to adapt to one’s new body and that’s what our author went through. But he found out that the only way to make it right was to make himself comfortable with himself, no matter what he liked. I also really liked the family dynamics in this one. The art was colourful and cute.

Genderfluid by Vixtopher (she/her) – 3.5 stars
“I will always be an ever-changing version of myself” – This is about being yourself when safe and fitting in into society as a means to survive. It’s about how time helps and develops courage and strength. The art is kind of wacky and very bright, not a fav but interesting.

The Legend of Veronica by Veronica Jane (he/they) – 2.5 stars
The first phrase is the truest – “I never knew you could question your gender”. I believe many people feel like that, especially when they are young. When, we only know what we see or are told. Maybe I’m naive, but I like to think it’s slightly easier nowadays. It’s also about indecision, feeling you want something else, but you are not entirely sure if you should do it, and how that is not normal. And after that comes other’s acceptance or not. It’s difficult, and this port raided it well. The art was definitely not my fav and it was a bit difficult to read the text.

Life Choices by Dashi – 4 stars
This is about finding out who you are from a young age. Are you a boy or a girl, and if God made you a woman, should you be one? Sometimes, even young, second-guessing yourself might be the right choice and not a phase. This is also about abuse, and people not understanding who you really are and who you want to be. This was really succinct and it was just enough. I also really enjoyed the black and white art.

Going Home by Matteo Montero-Murillo (he/him) – 4 stars
“I often felt my gender was at war with being Mexican” This one is about how culture also can feel like a jail for a trans person. He was supposed to be a girl, just like her parents and culture demanded. But the truth inside himself was not the same. It’s also about coming to terms with a family that might or might not understand. I really liked the color in this one too, it was sepia and it fit the story perfectly.

First Times by Min Christensen (they/them) – 4 stars

“Puberty is merciless to the soul that grows up in the wrong body”. This is about wanting to be born in another body so you can be yourself at a young age, when you are just starting to figure out things for yourself. Sometimes people won’t understand, others will. It was a long way for this author, but he found comfort and that’s all that matters. The art was really funny and cute.

Cat Today & Human Tomorrow by Julie Fiveash (they/them) – 4 stars
“Like my gender, I contain multitudes that will only continue to expand as I get older and wiser”. This was really cute, I loved how the author used to draw comic animals to express himself. No one can call a frog or a cat a he or a she in comics. Depending on what they are wearing they might, but they might also be wrong. I think it’s a really creative way of expressing your feelings and making people understand who you really are. Because you can be anything and everything. The art was really simple but cute nonetheless.

Blob by Coco Ouwerkerk (she/they) – 4 stars
“Why would I give others the tools to objectify me?” This is about avoiding pronouns and accepting who and how you are. It’s also about body image. This was so stinking cute! Loved the art. Everyone should be blobyfied, it takes all the pressure right off.

Slow and Steady by Lake Fama (they/them) – 2 stars
This is literally one page. It’s about not knowing soon enough what you really are and yet, because of that you became who you are at the moment. The art work was not my fav and the story was too short to get any type of attachment.

At Peace by Kaz Fantone (he/they) – 3 stars
This is about finally changing yourself with top surgery, to fit who you really are. And how difficult the journey there can be. It’s quite short too but it does tell a lot. The are is really cute and colourful.

Sweet Nips! by Lucas – The Nifty Fox (he/they) – 4 stars
This is about the journey of a top surgery. How it works from beginning to end, and it was an eye opener. I really didn’t know anything about it other than the fact that it’s expensive. I only know one person that went through it and I never asked this much details, so I’m glad this was included here. The art work was quite funny and animated.

Never Be Loved by Aidan / Snailords (he/him) – 3 stars
This is about society and it’s norms. You are supposed to act normal inside your little box that is your gender, or no one will love you. And it’s about defying it, because if no one else loves you, you still have your self. The art was… well quite hot.

The “Who, Me?” Decade by Tara Madison Avery & Mike Sullivan – colorist (she/her) – 2 stars
This is about liking the wrong things for your supposed gender. Like being supposedly a boy but liking to play with dolls. This is a total comic, since the author is a cartoonist. I’m not the biggest fan of comics, it felt like reading Mickey Mouse or old Sabrina comics.

June 20, 2005 by Dana Simpson (she/her) – 2.5 stars
This is a kind of paranormal, ghost type story. There’s an apparition of the future author, encouraging him to be herself. It can also be interpreted as a wake-up call in this case, that will change his life forever into her better self. The art was ok, nothing special and very blue.

Familiar by Cyrus (he/him) – 3 stars
This is about seeing oneself for what we are. At first it might feel like the other person inside us, or for example in a mirror, is not us at all, until we learn that we too can change and became who we really need to be in order to be happy. The art was cute and I loved the colours, and how it changed form dark to bright accompanying the changes of the author.

I’ve Been Sitting on This Porch for a Year by Nasr Bin Safwan (he/they) – 2 stars
Well, this is about changes, and noticing the environment around us. It was super short and it didn’t give much in my opinion. The art was also not my thing.

Guilty by Mel Valentine Vargas (they/them) – 3 stars
This is about labels and how to find exactly who you are and how you want to be called by society. It’s about being yourself and don’t go by norms. Because even when you are gay, lesbian, trans, non binary, or any other, there’s also stigmas on how you should look, dress and act. This is about breaking those stigmas. The art was cute and I loved the mix of colors with a “colorless” author.

Not-A-Costume by Al Acevedo (they/them) – 3.5 stars
“For the first time I felt like I was beginning to find my footing, rather than resigning to try to fit the box I was given”. This is about finding out your gender, and that whatever you are or wear is not a costume. And that everything is better when you have someone by your side helping you figure it out. This was really cute and an overall hopeful story. The art was cute and very pencil drawn.

Ten More Seconds by Sage Coffey (they/them) – 3 stars
“Through experience I learned there is an infinite spectrum of gender”. This is about not fitting in as a boy or as a girl and not knowing what you are. Until you find out you can be neither. And the more time passes and you gain more experience the more you are sure of yourself. The art was cute and I liked the color scheme.

Girl by Wren (she/her/he/him) – 2.5 stars
This is about a girl that likes girly things, until one day something goes wrong and she tries to be a boy and likes manly things. Neither feels right, both feel right. None feels like herself/himself. The art was funny and different, super cute also the mix of colors in every page.

Gender Is Weird by Salwa – DaToonie (they/them) – 3 stars
This is about the freedom of being yourself. It’s about finding out who you are even if others don’t accept it. You should accept it. You are allowed to like what you like and do what you want to do. The art is simplistic but it was pleasant.

Happy by Kyla Aiko (she/they) – 3 stars
This was a short one about acceptance and being happy for it. There’s a lot of questions that might pop up in your head regarding gender, but just go with what you know is true for yourself. The art was really pretty, like hand drawn.

Overall this was a very interesting read. It was cute and insightful and I would recommed it if you want to know more about being queer.

My personal favorites were Undefined, Blob, Life Choices and Cat Today and Human Tomorrow.

Those are exceptionally beautiful and I would recommend reading them.

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This anthology of trans and nonbinary stories originated as a successful Kickstarter project, initially featuring 18 autobiographical stories. In its 2023 edition, the concept has been expanded, inviting 29 artists to share their personal journeys of self-care and acceptance.

Diverse and Validating:
Reading this anthology, I experienced a deep sense of validation. The collection embraced diversity, showcasing a wide range of perspectives, identities, and experiences. However, I did hope for even more diversity, which I'll elaborate on below.

Expectations and Rating:
Having held high expectations for this book, I initially anticipated giving it a stellar 5-star rating. However, upon completion, I feel it falls slightly short, earning a 4-star rating. The main issue was the sense of repetition evident in some of the stories toward the end of the anthology.

Room for Improvement:
One aspect that left me disappointed was the lack of representation for intersex, agender, and two-spirit individuals. With such a significant number of artists involved (29 in total), I believe it would have been valuable to include these perspectives as well.

Conclusion:
Despite my reservations, I still wholeheartedly recommend this anthology. It offers a powerful and diverse collection of stories that highlight the importance of self-care and acceptance for trans and nonbinary individuals. However, I hope that future editions will strive for even greater inclusivity to ensure that the richness of all identities within the community is represented.

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Overall I really enjoyed this collection! The variety in art was all quite pleasing, and the length of the stories all flowed well.
I do think some of them felt slightly repetitive, and I think thats because it skewed more from the perspective of AFAB artists.
I definitely recommend, and hope they make a second collection with more variation :)

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Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for letting me read this e-ARC.

I loved how short and compact each illustrator's story was. I liked most of the artwork.

I think that this would be a great addition to school libraries. Informative, yet not dreary.

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The stories in this anthology are very short which makes it easy to read, and they've all got one or two nuggets of Trans (& Non-binary) truth. Some are about transitioning, some are about living in a Trans body, and many are about learning self-love. There are step-by-step instructions for how not to choose a gender label, and there are quiet stories composed of color and emotion. A few of these resonated strongly with me, and others made me think of my friends. I'll be excited to share this anthology with other people. I appreciate the diversity of voices represented here and it was fun to read each of the artist's tiny bios of what they want readers to know about them.

A common theme in this book is the insidious gender binary of western culture, and how everything gets assigned one of two labels. I think these comics will definitely help some young Trans and Non-binary folks understand what they're experiencing. Systemic cisgenderism can be difficult to explain but it's done really well here.

This is a "read now" on NetGalley rn so go check it out! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing this! (Tho, the PDF I downloaded was blurry so that was a bummer.)

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Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is an uplifting read filled with personal stories from trans and nonbinary cartoonists. There's a wide range of art and writing styles, and it'd be a great addition to a school or classroom library.

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I liked this collection of comics! It was really nice that all the artists varied in their artistic styles and each had their own experience with gender. It enhanced my reading and helped me understand different people’s perspectives. I hope this book can help all young souls who are searching for answers to their gender identity.

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This collection of comics by trans and nonbinary creators is full of heart and soul. I would be happy to add this to our collection.

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"The Outside: Trans and Non-Binary Comics" is an exceptional collection of diverse and empowering stories that celebrate the experiences of transgender and non-binary individuals. This remarkable anthology, edited by Hida Viloria and Bishakh Som, showcases the immense talent and creativity within the trans and non-binary community. What makes "The Outside" truly remarkable is its ability to bring forth authentic and relatable narratives through the medium of comics. Each story beautifully captures the joys, struggles, and resilience of trans and non-binary individuals, creating a sense of connection and understanding that is both powerful and necessary. The artwork in this collection is nothing short of breathtaking, with each artist bringing their unique style and perspective to the pages. From vibrant and colorful illustrations to more subdued and introspective visuals, the variety of artistic approaches adds depth and richness to the stories being told. "The Outside" also features a wide range of themes and genres, ensuring that there is something for everyone within its pages. Whether it's a heartwarming coming-of-age tale, a thought-provoking exploration of identity, or a thrilling adventure, each story offers a fresh and captivating perspective on the lived experiences of trans and non-binary individuals. Moreover, the diversity within the collection is truly commendable. "The Outside" showcases a wide spectrum of gender identities, ethnicities, backgrounds, and intersecting experiences, providing a platform for underrepresented voices that deserve to be heard.

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I loved this book. It was a lovely collection of very personal stories about discovering and accepting your gender identities and how useful labels are in discovering communities and resources but they are just building blocks to build upon on your journey to gender euphoria.

Thank you so much to all the artists/authors, as well as Net Galley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for this eARC!

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