No Life Lessons Here: Comics, Autism, and Empathetic Scholarship Sara Birge, Pennsylvania State University Disability Studies Quarterly Abstract: Comics, a relatively understudied medium for representations of disability, have enormous potential for providing important critical perspectives in disability studies. This article examines two recent comics that portray individuals with autism: The Ride Together by Paul and Judy Karasik and Circling Normal, a compilation of the comic strip Clear Blue Water by Karen Montague-Reyes. I argue that these comics’ unique narrative geometries make them ideally suited for depicting cognitive disabilities in the nuanced context of embodied life. Through their reworking of stereotypes and their unique portrayals of autism, Circling… Read More
Outside the world of underground comix enthusiasts, Joyce Farmer is probably best known for her latest work, Special Exits (Fantagraphics 2010), a memoir (though the names are changed) of her experience caring for her parents during the last few years of their lives. Special Exits is Farmer’s first book-length comic, famously praised by Robert Crumb, but Farmer has been an important figure in comics since the 1970s. I’ll get back to Special Exits in a minute, but first I want to make sure to tell you about her work from the 70s. I wish I’d been more familiar with it… Read More
In anticipation of this week’s upcoming podcast conversation with Mom’s Cancer creator Brian Fies, here’s news about a project Brian participated in to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease research. “Inspired by “Cul de Sac” comic strip creator Richard Thompson, Team Cul de Sac is an effort organized by Chris Sparks to raise funds for researching Parkinson’s Disease, which Richard has. Working with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Team Cul de Sac had the idea of asking other cartoonists, illustrators, animators and artists to donate art for a book and auction. What kind of art? As the original announcement said: “The theme is… Read More
Today on the podcast it’s the amazing Riva Lehrer! Artist and educator Riva Lehrer talks with MK about bodies, her portrait series Circle Stories, her anatomical art lecture beauty and variation, disability culture and community, medicine, comics, Graphic Medicine, the recent University of Chicago Comics Conference and more. Riva teaches life drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Medical School. The Paper Mirror: Drawing Alison Bechdel is a film by Charissa King-O’Brien that documents Riva’s collaboration with cartoonist Alison Bechdel. A screening of the film will be the opening night event at the Comics & Medicine 2012 Toronto… Read More
This week’s Graphic Medicine podcast is actually a Laydeez do Comics podcast! Alex Fitch presents Comic Nurse (that’s me) and Sarah Leavitt at Laydeez in London, recorded on November of 2011. (above: The Graphic Medicine section of Blackwell’s Wellcome Collection bookshop, London. Tangles by Sarah Leavitt is on the right and two of my books are on the left. The center book, Billy, Me, & You is by Laydeez organizer Nicola Streeten. ) Visuals for the comics I discuss can be found by digging around here. “Taking Turns,” my book in progress, can be found here. Sarah Leavitt’s website is here, which… Read More
Edward Ross contacted me to flag up the recent science comics he has been making with researcher colleagues. These two web-based comics follow on from 2010’s Parasites! produced by Ross and molecular parasitologist Jamie Hall of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology in Glasgow. CLICK ON THE COVER IMAGES TO GO TO THE COMIC WEBSITES The Hope Beyond Hype graphic story grew from the desire of OptiStem, a large European consortium of stem cell researchers, to go beyond just explaining the science of stem cells. They wanted to depict the process they undertake as they try to move stem cell… Read More
Peter Dunlap-Shohl hosts a blog for people with an interest in Parkinson’s Disease. It started as an information clearinghouse for the Anchorage Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, where meeting schedules, agendas, speakers etc could be found, but it became a kind of therapeutic hobby. Then Peter started to make a comic, taking a look at PD. The 11 pages he has completed so far are viewable here.
My article has been published online first In BMJ Medical Humanities Med Humanities doi:10.1136/medhum-2011-010093 click on the image above to access the article, but you’ll need a subscription or an Athens Login. Or you could email me. Ian