Cancer Vixen-The figure of Doctor
guest review by Nathan Sethu
Representation of humans in comics are minimal to create intimacy between the reader and the narrator,which broadens the scope of graphic novels, the responsibility being shifted to the audience in understanding the imagination of storyteller through combination of visual effects. Panels are sequenced at the will of the author, who makes herculean task of unfolding ties between different characters including creativity usurped through sub – human beings, thereby shifting focus on complexity, irony and genre description. The writers of graphic novels present experience of protagonist, suddenly jumping into a specific role aiming at readers attaining specific information on illness of a critical nature which the writer hopes result in changes in behavior over a period of time.
As Thomas Couser notes, “Cancer narratives have happy endings – if only because the narrator lives to tell her story.” Here when the relationship between doctor and patient is analysed, interventions by medical authorities can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life and health status. It is aptly used by Marisa while narrating her breast cancer experience through Cancer Vixen. “When a doctor cares about your comfort, it is a sign he’s a good one.” (Panel in Page 3) In the panel to the immediate right of this one, with colours of red (maximum space), yellow and pink visualizing knives cutting her body image, Marisa is shocked. In the next page itself, Marisa expands the role of the doctor thus saying “When a doctor turns his back to you, it’s never a good sign.”
The indifferent attitude of medical fraternity is highlighted in page no. 1 with details of calls received by Marisa on 14th of May. “Total No of incoming calls: 57 Total No of calls from doctors:0.” When the doctor calls her the next day at 10.12 A.M. informing Marisa of abnormality in medical tests, she feels that her world has come to an end. Interestingly in the last page of her Cancer Vixen, Marisa paneled three fourth for her car journey with Sillvano (her husband) being disrupted with sign boards “Road work Ahead” and beautiful green surroundings, road being in pink colour, red colour car and Marisa telling Silvano” you know what, Silvano? CHE BELLA GIDRNATA (what a beautiful day).