No Ordinary Flu
Author: Writers Meredith Li Vollmer and Matthew French, art by David Lasky, inking assist by Lin Lucas
Format: Comic Book
Publish Date: 2021
Publisher: Seattle and King County Advanced Practice Center – Public Health
Where to buy: https://doh.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Documents/1400/PanfluNoOrdinary.pdf
Additional info: This comic is available for free at the website, above.
by Janet Chan
No Ordinary Flu doubles as both a story of pandemics and public health guidance from the public health Center of Seattle and King County, Washington. Artists David Lasky and Lin Lucas use a limited color palette which succeeds in conveying both the sadness in the situations and the hope for the future.
This short 12-page publication introduces a family on the brink of the 2020 Covid pandemic recounting their ancestors’ experiences during the 1918 flu pandemic. Through the story we see the events of the 1918 pandemic unfurl. The flu virus’ identification on the east coast and its travel across the country. Sickness, closures, and shortages at stores soon follow. Not all recover from the sickness and the family recalls both the ones they lost and the ones that survived.
The final pages of the issue present the reader with the potential life changes that can occur with a present-day pandemic and current advice to prepare and stay healthy. Closures, staying at home, and remote work will be familiar situations that readers can identify with. Reminders of handwashing, hand sanitizer, and covering your coughs and sneezes are solid advice that can be useful even when not in the midst of a pandemic.
The story does a good job of conveying important health advice on keeping healthy with an emphasis on hope and resilience. Readers are reminded throughout the story that while pandemics are unpredictable, they are survivable by most, especially if taking preventive measures.
Janet Chan, MLIS, AHIP, RN is a research and education librarian at the University of South Florida Health Libraries. Her research areas include bibliotherapy, graphic medicine, and digital health.
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