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Funny Misshapen Body is not a ‘graphic pathography’, it is about Jeffrey Brown’s development as a cartoonist. One chapter of this memoir, however, deals with his diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. His digestive system has been playing up for some time when he suddenly develops severe abdominal pains, requiring admission to hospital. His diagnosis means that he will never be able to get his own health insurance. A regime of medication is initiated, resulting in weight gain and acne. His disease does not abate and he still suffers stinking flatulence, and occasional incontinence. Surgery is scheduled and Brown records his hospitalization… Read More
Following on from The Spiral Cage, this is a fictional novella concerning a deformed man, known as Banshee, who is saved from the misery of sleeping rough by kindly people who have suffered their own fair share of hardship. A black lesbian couple, Etty and Jenny, take him in and, ultimately, he goes on to find love and happiness with a doctor who is stigmatised by a large port wine birthmark that covers half her body. The story is shot through with incidents of cruelty and violence towards the “ugly” and the unfortunate. The main narrative is counterpointed with an alternative… Read More
Rather than coming from direct experience of the author, this is a fictional story based on Talbot’s research into child abuse and incest. The main character, Helen, runs away from home after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of her self-centred father and emotional deprivation from her self-pitying mother. Begging in London and living in a cardboard box, she manages to dodge further molestation before falling in with a group of rough but friendly squatters who give her food and shelter. Her only real friend is a pet rat she has rescued from the dissection laboratory at her school. Understandably,… Read More
Disturbing, compelling, brilliant. Phoebe Gloeckners is an american cartoonist, illustrator, painter and novelist. This explicit tale of child abuse, drug abuse and sex is disturbing from the outset, with a teeth-jarringly confessional, but embarrasingly funny, introduction by Robert Crumb, a personal friend of the artist and her mother. I call it ‘disturbing’ because I was brought up in comfortable middle class England, and to someone like me, conditioned to think of myself as ‘average’ but probably actually a from a minority cohort, the type of life that Gloeckner describes here is rather alien. To vast numbers of readers, however, A… Read More