by Kevin Wolf Zuiker Press has published several books in the Teen Topics (“issue-based”) series; and “All of our authors … tell their personal stories [as] … ambassadors of their cause. Their goal … is that young people will learn from their pain and heroics and find HOPE, CHANGE, and HAPPINESS in their own lives. [emphasis in original, page 4]” Other graphic medicine works include Identity: A Story of Transitioning about being transgender and Brother: A Story of Autism—both awaiting review at www.graphicmedicine.org. The covers of the series are similar with the right-side of the protagonists’ face on the cover… Read More
by Tenli Yavneh In Briana Loewinsohn’s graphic memoir Ephemera, we are drawn into the emotional world of a woman searching backward in time for memories of her mother, who died when the author was a child. The mother was mostly absent during Loewinsohn’s childhood due to mental health issues, eventually dying of a related cause, probably suicide, though the author does not state that explicitly. Loewinsohn was quite young when the events of the book took place, and her adult desire to make sense of her memories is portrayed in bookended sections around the core of her childhood story,… Read More
by Tenli Yavneh Elizabeth Trembley’s excellent and moving graphic memoir Look Again: A Memoir delves into the complex issue of traumatic memory . The lens is the author’s lived experience of trauma and the evolution of her understanding of that experience over years of her life. To that end, the book begins with a raw depiction of the initial trauma itself: In the fall of 1996, Trembley was out walking her dogs in the woods early in the morning, and discovered a dead body hanging from a tree next to the trail. The moment is vividly depicted: on one page,… Read More
Medical and potential trigger issues: eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, sexual assault, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), alcoholism, mental health, suicide, death, grief Review by Alison Kent Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme is a startlingly beautiful book that starts out with a young woman walking through the woods. Her cellphone goes off; it’s her mother. She lies, saying she didn’t take a detour home from school. The woods are her only apparent solace. Socially awkward and full of self-doubt, it quickly becomes apparent that she is also seriously anorexic. Her solitary sexual explorations fill her with more self-loathing than relief. She is… Read More
Medical Mentions is a group of graphic works. The graphic works reviewed here are books whose primary topics are not medical, and yet they cover a medical topic with some depth at some point in the work. The rest of the work might be fictional or nonfictional, while the medical portion is often technical and five pages or more. The reviewer will usually neither recommend nor discourage reading the work, except when the rest of the work is deemed outstanding or terrible, respectively. Typically, six graphic works will be part of the review with one paragraph for each. Prior Medical Mentions… Read More
What’s So Funny? A Cartoonist’s Memoir is one long therapy session or twenty-six sessions (aka, chapters). It includes 107 drawn illustrations, mostly the author’s single panel cartoons from The New Yorker, and a few family photographs. I highly recommend this work for its honesty, portrayal of some inner working of this cartoonist, and serious and not-so-serious laughs.
Guest Review by A. David Lewis In her book Comics and the Body: Drawing, Reading, and Vulnerability, Eszter Szép analyzes Joe Sacco’s The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo in terms of haptic vision. Drawing on the work of Laura U. Marks, Szép explains haptic vision as the visible made tactile, “a mode of visual perception that is synesthetic in nature: It connects tactile and kinesthetic sensibilities with vision without the actual act of touch” (120). She describes the thickly cross-hatched backgrounds of The Fixer as “haptically charged” (121), causing the reader to pause and to experience Sacco’s own embodied… Read More