Graphic medicine: How do the materialities of ink, image and illness relate?

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The presentation concerns graphic medicine with focus on materialities regarding two examples of texts about Parkinson’s disease, discussed in light of how ink, image/text and illness interrelate.

Graphic medicine can broadly be seen as texts that draw on comics and graphic novels and offer personal stories about illness aka graphic pathographies, graphic medicine novels (Czerwiec et al., 2015; Williams, 2012), as well as a cross-disciplinary field at the inter-sections of narrative medicine, medical humanities, literature, visual communication, artistic research and arts therapies.
The two examples are unfolded in terms of: 1) how the images of illness use graphic storytelling and media conventions, and 2) how the texts are created, published and distributed as printed books. The first example is the 106 page autobiographical My Degeneration: A Journey Through Parkinson’s (Dunlap-Shohl, 2015) by one author-illustrator, in color, and published in a book series. The second example is a 7-page long How Can I Understand (2018), that I authored-illustrated, and self-published within a Danish book anthology along with 3 other debutants from the Comic Arts School at Gladiator, Copenhagen.

The two examples share a reflexive way of showing the production process, for instance, characters talk about creating the ink drawings by hand or with software, and have dialogues on how to depict illness. There are obvious material differences between the two books, such as binding, size, length, color, print quality. The fact that an academic publisher distributes Dunlap-Shohl’s book impacts on its credibility and spread. While our collaborative, self-published book follows a tradition by newcomers of distributing comics and graphic novels online and at events.

The discussion reviews how ink, image/text and illness relate as well as future directions for graphic medicine in the Nordic countries.

Publikationsdato28 jan. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 28 jan. 2019
BegivenhedComics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics : Nordic Summer University Winter Symposium - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Danmark
Varighed: 20 feb. 201922 feb. 2019


KonferenceComics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics
LokationAarhus University

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