Comics and Medicine
Comics and medicine, aka graphic medicine, uses the medium of comics to explore sickness and health. I fell in love with graphic narratives (graphic novels, memoir, and other forms of graphic creative non-fiction) while my mother Alice lived with us during the middle of her dementia journey. Alice fell in love with them too. Watching her eat up every graphic narrative that came into our house made me certain that I wanted to use a medium that someone living with dementia could access to tell our story. As young ones, our visual capacities long precede the acquisition of words. As some people gradually lose language with dementia, visual capacities can make up for the loss and let content stay sophisticates. I know this much to be true: graphic storytelling captures the complexity of life and death, of sickness and health. Going back and forth between the subconscious and conscious, between the visual and the verbal, lets us tap into our collective memories, an essential element of storytelling. When we meet through story, we heal. I think of health in the broadest possible terms using the 1946 WHO definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This keeps my comics which touch a diverse range of social, political, and environmental issues still firmly within Graphic Medicine.