This inaugural volume in the Graphic Medicine series establishes the principles of graphic medicine and begins to map the field. The volume combines scholarly essays written by the editorial team with previously unpublished visual narratives by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec and includes comic avatars by a wide range of graphic medicine contributors—all in an arresting format. The first section comprises essays by Scott Smith and Susan Squier. It argues that as a new area of scholarship, research on graphic medicine has the potential to challenge the boundaries of conventional academic disciplines, to raise questions about their foundations, and to reinvigorate literary scholarship—and the notion of the literary text—for a broader audience. The second section, incorporating essays by Michael Green and Kimberly Myers, demonstrates that graphic medicine narratives have the potential to engage members of the health professions with literary and visual representation and symbolic practices, offering patients, family members, physicians, and other caregivers new ways to experience and work with the challenges and complexity of the medical experience. The final section, featuring essays by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec, focuses on the practice of creating graphic narratives; iconography used in the graphic narrative; drawing as social practice; and the nature of comics as visual rhetoric. A conclusion (in comics form) testifies to the diverse and growing community that is graphic medicine. Finally, two bibliographies—one of comics and the other of scholarly references—provide a valuable resource for readers.
“Something remarkable and game changing is being sparked by the alliance between comics and medicine. It's becoming clear that these graphic narratives can deepen understanding, not only of facts but of feelings, between patients, family, and professionals. A spoonful of comics really does help the medicine go down.”
—Paul Gravett, author of Comics Art and editor of 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
About the Authors:
MK Czerwiec is a nurse and comics artist. She is the artist-in-residence at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.
Ian Williams is a visual artist and illustrator, a medical doctor, and an independent humanities scholar. His most recent book is The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr. Iwan James.
Susan Merrill Squier is Brill Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State.
Michael J. Green is a medical doctor and Professor of Humanities and Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine.
Kimberly R. Myers is Associate Professor of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine.
Scott T. Smith is Associate Professor of English at Penn State.