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Cancer Comic Books

Posted 5/31/2016

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  OK, they are not really comic books, but I thought that would get your attention. There is a new genre of cancer books that are graphics. Examples include Our Cancer Year” that won the 1995 Harvey Award for best graphic novel and opened the door for others to come, including “Mammoir: A Pictorial Odyssey
of the Adventures of a Fourth Grade Teacher With Breast Cancer,” by Tucky Fussell (2005); “Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person: A Memoir In Comics,” by Miriam Engelberg (2006); “Mom’s Cancer,” by Brian Fies (2006); “Cancer Vixen” (2006); “Relatively Indolent But Relentless: A Cancer Treatment Journal,” by Matt Freedman (2014); “Probably Nothing: A Diary of Not Your Average Nine Months,” by Matilda Tristram (2014); and “The Story of My Tits,” by Jennifer Hayden (2015).

  Having read and enjoyed some other books like this, I am interested. If they are well done, they likely can attract readers who might not sit down with a traditional book. Here is a bit more from an article in Cure Today:

Getting Graphic About Cancer
Don Vaughan

The New York Times profiled Acocella Marchetto when the issue of
Glamour featuring “Cancer Vixen” hit the stands, and it wasn’t long
before book publishers came calling. Acocella Marchetto signed with
Alfred A. Knopf and expanded “Cancer Vixen” into a 212-page
hardcover graphic novel, later republished in paperback by Pantheon
With the publication of “Cancer Vixen,” Acocella Marchetto joined a
growing number of cartoonists and illustrators who have chosen to tell
their cancer stories through a medium associated by many with spandexwearing
superheroes. However, in recent decades, the graphic novel has
matured into a powerful and evocative form of storytelling, especially
when the subject is as life-changing as a diagnosis of cancer.
It’s a medium that can prove therapeutic not only for those who create
the works, but for readers who can relate to the storylines because of
their own experiences with cancer.
Cancer may not seem like an acceptable topic for comics, but many of the medium’s most popular creators would disagree. Tom Batiuk, the creator of the
daily comic strip "Funky Winkerbean," which boasts an estimated 50 million readers, wrote two separate storylines involving character Lisa Moore’s
experience with breast cancer. In the first, Lisa went through a grueling treatment regimen that included a mastectomy, but ultimately survived the ordeal.
Several years later, she was devastated to learn that her cancer had returned. She fought as hard as she could, becoming a vocal advocate for cancer
research in the process, but ultimately lost her battle. Batiuk’s syndicate supported his decision to have Lisa die, but many readers were outraged, telling
the cartoonist they felt betrayed.
More recently, comic book writer Jason Aaron incorporated breast cancer into the storyline of "Thor," one of Marvel Comics’ most popular titles. The
original Thor was found unworthy of wielding the mighty Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer), and the mantle was passed to Dr. Jane Foster, Thor’s ex-girlfriend.
But there’s a catch: Foster is battling breast cancer, and every time she transforms into the Asgardian superhero, her condition worsens

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