Friday, August 6, 2010

Read These: The Guardian's graphic medicine series

The Guardian (a British newspaper, for those unfamiliar) recently ran a series of articles by Cian O'Luanaigh, covering the ways comics and medicine have overlapped through the years.

Comics put patients in the picture
Fies uses the tools of comics to illustrate metaphors in a literal way. He drew his mother drowning in medical jargon, for example, and walking the tightrope that was balancing her medication. "In comics I'm able to apply these metaphors literally ... a unique application of a unique medium."

Osamu Tezuka: Father of manga and scourge of the medical establishment
Black Jack remains one of the most popular manga of all time in Japan. "I have never met a Japanese person who wasn't familiar with Black Jack, even those who don't usually read manga," said Palmer. "If Astro Boy is the Japanese Superman, Black Jack is the Japanese Batman. Everyone knows him, even far outside the comics world, and when people think of him people think of his fierce critique of the medical world."

Comic superhero Echo fights stereotypes of deaf people
"Most of the people who write or who are artists are hearing, and as a result, traditionally there have been other reasons to portray deaf people. So, for example, they are plot devices; they are catalysts; they are means of reflecting particular aspects or features of a hearing character; they move the plot along, but they're not developed in their own right."

They're all worth a read for those interested in this often-overlooked corner of comics.

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