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Manga for Girls: New York Times

posted Aug 28, 2015, 6:23 AM by Sarah Glazer

Walk into almost any chain bookstore and you're likely to find a teenage girl sprawled on the floor reading manga -- thick black-and-white comic books by Japanese authors. Graphic novels, including manga, have been popular with American boys for years now. But, to the surprise of publishers, "shojo" comics (or manga for girls) have become one of the hottest markets in the book business.


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New Ways to Talk About Cancer: Comics, Cartoons, and the Graphic Novel

posted Aug 28, 2015, 6:16 AM by Sarah Glazer


Nancy K. Miller is a literary scholar, memoirist, and the author or editor of more than a dozen books. Her new memoir, Breathless: An American Girl in Paris, will be published this fall.

In December 2011, she was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer. She started documenting the experience in cartoons using watercolor, collage, and photographic images. Most recently, she presented her cartoons about her experience of cancer at the 4th International Conference on Comics and Medicine held in Brighton, England, in July.

Miller has taught courses on autobiography and memoir, including memoirs told through the graphic novel format.

In an interview with journalist Sarah Glazer, she discusses why she is drawn to the cartoon format as a way of sharing her experience as a cancer patient and why the graphic novel format, in such best-selling cancer memoirs as Cancer Vixen by New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto, is becoming a powerful and budding medium for cancer patient artists. She describes her own work as, ‘outsider art,’ since she is a writer without artistic training.

Why did you decide to start creating these comics? Were you someone who drew before you were diagnosed with cancer?

In the fall of 2011, the months leading up to the diagnosis, I found myself doing a bit of doodling and drawing. I’m not really sure why. But once I had the diagnosis at Christmas, I almost immediately felt I would start focusing on the cancer. To the extent I verbalized it, I said, “There are so many cancer narratives; what could I possibly add?”

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Graphic Medicine: Comics Turn a Critical Eye on Health Care

posted Aug 28, 2015, 5:54 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Aug 28, 2015, 6:05 AM ]

A patient arrives in the emergency room apparently in a comatose state. But is he really unconscious or just faking? The young doctors on duty are skeptical. Failing to get a reaction with a chest rub, they try a variety of methods that become increasingly sadistic—pressing on the patient’s fingernail with a ballpoint pen, spraying his testicles with a skin-freezing compound, announcing an imminent eye injection to scare the patient awake.

I first encountered those chilling pen-and-ink images in a 2012 comic book, Disrepute, authored by Thom Ferrier, the nom de plume for British general practitioner Ian Williams. Disrepute is part of a young but growing genre that Williams helped dub “graphic medicine” when he founded a website by that name in 2007. Using the graphic novel form, doctors, nurses, and patients are producing accounts that often reveal the dark underbelly of the world of medicine. From patients and their families, these include portraits of imperious and insensitive physicians or nurses; from doctors, explorations of the doubt that racks them when their treatment ends in a mistake or a patient’s death. While the form is also referred to as “comics,” the work, as in Williams’s strip, is bleak just as often as it is humorous.



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