Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Survival stories

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Graphic journalism continues to make headway into the field of “serious” comics, and this time it’s available on the format/medium of our times, the iPad. Symbolia is a bi-monthly digital magazine featuring long-form journalism in the form of sequential art, for the (relatively) low price of $11.99 for six issues, or $2.99 for individual issues. The iPad app features audio, animation, and interactive graphics. Don’t have an iPad? Well, for desktop users (and Android, a platform they seem to have forgotten exists) they also sell Symbolia in a PDF edition, same price.

What do you get for your dollars? You can check out the free preview on their site, which features stories by Susie Cagle, Sarah Glidden, Chris A. Smith and Damien Scogin, Kat Fajardo and Audrey Quinn, and Andy Warner and Lauren Sommer. We’ve previously covered Glidden here in the blog, and her piece comes from her trip with the Common Language Project, which will be expanded upon in her upcoming book Stumbling Toward Damascus. “The Rollerbladers of Sulaymaniyah” is up to her usual standards and is pretty interesting, but perhaps my favorite piece in the preview was “Sea Change”, about the environmental troubles facing the Salton Sea in California.

Fight Back Against Bullying with the Power Within

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Today’s the last day to donate to the Kickstarter campaign for The Power Within, an anti-bullying and anti-suicide comic by Charles “Zan” Christensen and Mark Brill, with new additional pages by Gail Simone, Phil Jiminez, Carla Speed McNeil, Dan Parent, Donna Barr and Andy Mangels. The comic was originally created for 24-Hour Comics Day last year, then self-published and sold at a few conventions, and now they’re looking to fund a much larger print run to spread the message. As of this writing, they’ve reached their goal of $3000, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate.

  • Pledge $10 for a copy of the book
  • Pledge $25 to receive an 11×17 print of the cover art
  • Pledge $125 for a complete collection of Northwest Press books
  • Pledge $500 or more for all of the above, plus a ticket to the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards, including the cocktail reception and VIP afterparty

No one’s taken them up on the ticket offer (tickets for the awards + party are normally $150), but there’s still 3 hours left on the project and it is going to a good cause.

(via Bleeding Cool)

Accidents Don’t Just Happen

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

This series of safe sex ads from MTV Switzerland reminds me a lot of the ridiculous stories that patients will often tell doctors (many in the emergency room) about why they need medical treatment for some really messed up thing, like “I fell on the floor and landed on the TV remote which went into my rectum,” or the perennial favorite, “I was sitting on my porch at 2am reading a Bible minding my own business when some guy just came up and shot me.” All these scenarios are incredibly unlikely but the storyteller somehow thought it was less embarrassing or incriminating than the truth. Which is part of the point of this ad: you don’t have sex by accident unless you were already doing something that could be considered a precursor to sex. So play it safe and use a condom.

There are three of these ads over at AdFreak, but this is the only one where the woman is wearing underwear. That’s a good point too: always wear underwear, because you never know when you’re going to go flying crotch-first onto some random sunbather.

(via The Ephemerist)

Would You Like Fries With That Shake?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Back in 2004, Morgan Spurlock went on a mission. For 30 days, he decided to eat and drink nothing but food bought from McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the process, Morgan’s arteries clogged, his health deteriorated, and his energy was completely sapped. The whole journey was captured in the documentary, Super Size Me. The film went on to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and a nomination for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards; it also led to a television series on FX called 30 Days. Now, seven years after its release, Dark Horse is putting out a graphic novel based on the film, aptly named Supersized.

The graphic novel chooses to use a fat Ronald McDonald as a narrator and framing device for the story of Morgan’s attempt. In regards to the original movie, the story appears to be pretty faithful even with the narration. Morgan explains that he did not just go into this whole thing half-cocked; he consulted with doctors on his health and well being beforehand to ensure that all was well. After day two, Morgan is already beginning to burst. Here, we witness the vomit that followed this initial setback in a fully rendered artistic interpretation. While it’s not pretty to watch in the movie, I must say the art is quite captivating in the graphic novel. A multitude of artists trade off throughout the book, including Tony Millionaire, Lukas Ketner, and Ron Chan.

Of course, there are some changes that have to be made from one medium to another. This time, all references to McDonald’s have been replaced with McDopey’s, as (unsurprisingly) McDonald’s was unwilling to license its trademark to this adaptaion. As is apparent from the preview, the flow of the graphic novel will be going through days a lot faster than the documentary did to fit the full story within 88 pages of content.

While this is the documentary that got me to stop eating fast food except during long bus or car rides, I’m still not sure how willing I will be to see this all unfold again on the page. Considering how long it has been between the film and this adaptation, there might even be a few people who pick this up who have completely forgotten Super Size Me ever existed. Maybe that will be good for Netflix rentals? I’m personally happy it’s been a few years so I can scrub the image of those fossilized fries out of my head. If you would like to make the decision to buy or not buy for yourselves, Supersized is now available at your favorite comic retailer.

(via Splash Page)

Explaining Health Care

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

We’ve been talking a lot about how comics are a great way to boil down complex topics, conveying these topics in a form that will get people to actually read and understand them. Publisher Hill and Wang has really taken this to heart, having published graphic narratives such as the The 9/11 Report and The Stuff of Life: a graphic guide to genetics and DNA. For their next project, they’ve enlisted MIT economist Jonathan Gruber to adapt the 2,400-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into a graphic guide tentatively titled Health Care Reform.

As one of the architects behind the bill, Jonathan Gruber is uniquely qualified to adapt the bill, though he was reluctant at first:

“I just wasn’t sure this would be useful enough. Then my wife and kids said, ‘You’re crazy. You’ve got to do this.’ So I decided to give it a shot. My family made me realize that there is such a misunderstanding of the bill and that it’s important to explain why we need this, and what it does. I’ve found that when people understand it, they like it.”

The book is slated for publication later this year (though anyone who needs easier-to-digest information now can always check out the bill’s official website).

(via ICv2)

Teeth and Consequences

Friday, March 18th, 2011

When I was a kid my mother used to constantly mention my crooked teeth, never sparing an opportunity to say I would probably need to get braces. That day never came—though my brother did have to get them—but I know I was incredibly lucky. However, even if I did have to get braces, I’d still be far luckier than Raina Telgemeier, who lost her two front teeth in sixth grade and then suffered the consequences for the next four years. She chronicles this journey of braces, retainers, false teeth, and more in her graphic memoir Smile, published by the Graphix imprint of Scholastic Books.

Raina is careful to explain every step of the process, showing her various visits to the dentist and orthodontist (and an unfortunate periodontist) and illustrating exactly what is happening to her teeth at that given point in time. It takes a lot of anxiety out of dental visits, making this ideal for pediatric dentists to give to their first-time patients, or any child patient about to undergo a major procedure.

Even removed from the dental context, the book has a lot of value for kids and tweens. The story of Raina’s toothy escapades is really just a framing device for those formidable years of her life, where she’s navigating that line between child and adult and figuring out what kind of person she wants to be. As Raina struggles with each new development in her mouth, she’s also making the transition from junior high to high school and reaching a point where she can actually choose her friends. The book has a lot to say about peer pressure, as her friends and classmates react to her teeth and other parts of her appearance with varying degrees of kindness and cruelty.

Raina Telgemeier is also the illustrator for The Baby-sitter’s Club Graphix line, so she’s well accustomed to drawing the trials of preteen girls, and this book continues that standard of excellence. The characters are cute and expressive, each panel crackling with life. The colors by Stephanie Yue are simple but bright, the background shades creating atmosphere despite a lack of detail.

Smile has proven to be very popular among the kid crowd, and why not? It’s got humor, hope, friendship, and love—all the things that should make you smile.

by Raina Telgemeier
colors by Stephanie Yue
published by Scholastic (New York, 2010)
ISBN 978-0-545-13206-0

Cap Does Suicide Prevention

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Continuing off of their previous effort where Spider-Man helps New Yorkers get a job in these tough economic times, Marvel is now handling an issue that exists independent of the economy, education, or politics. That issue is suicide—specifically teen suicide. Teen suicide has been in the news in recent months as a number of students, both gay and straight, took their lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is bullying, depression, trouble at home, lack of friends, a combination of these three, or something else (which may not be readily apparent). So Marvel Comics put out a Captain America comic to try and put the issue out there, and perhaps get people considering suicide to look for help.

Captain America: A Little Help is an 11-page story written by psychologist Tim Ursiny and penciled by Nick Dragotta. The comic is mostly wordless but tells the tale of a teen named Zach who is dealing with some major issues. While we do not get the full story, his mother is dating a new guy who may or may not be the one. Zach also recently went through a breakup with his girlfriend and is not handling it very well. With no one around to talk to, he decides to head to the roof and jump. Luckily, Captain America provides a good distraction as a fight begins on the adjacent rooftop between him and some nondescript terrorists with giant mechs.

When Cap tries to battle one of the giant mechs his mighty shield goes flying across the street to Zach’s rooftop. At a moment’s notice, Zach flings the shield back to Captain America and assists in the victory.

In return, Zach receives a thumbs up and a new lease on life. He immediately returns inside, heads to the Yellow Pages and calls the Suicide Prevention Hotline to get some help. What struck me about this issue was the art did a wonderful job of telling the story it needed to tell. Even on the iOS version there was a story flow that gave you enough of what was going on where words were indeed unnecessary. Captain America: A Little Help is available for free on Marvel’s iOS app as well as on It also appears in I Am An Avenger #5, still available for purchase in local comic shops.

The Vampires of New York

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

New York City has an abundance of bogeymen for New Yorkers to scorn or fear, but there are few that engender as much hysteria as the common bedbug. Apartments, hotels, subway stations, Abercrombie & Fitch—there seems to be no location, no social stratum that these pesky bloodsuckers haven’t penetrated in recent years.

Gabrielle Bell is no stranger to the bedbug menace, having been their victim four times in the past. When she found herself scratching and scratching once more, she realized that her old enemies were back and this time, documented the entire nerve-racking process of discovery, clean up/preparation, extermination, and eventual success/relief/lingering paranoia in her blog. It’s funny, creepy, and even educational, and you might find yourself a little more paranoid by the end.

(via The Beat)

Draw an Angry Comic

Monday, January 24th, 2011

People living in cities are accustomed to experiencing all manner of unpleasant sights and sounds as they traverse through their daily lives, but there are few that are as aggressively disgusting as the Foetus-Mobile, a truck that drives through Calgary plastered with images of dismembered fetuses as part of an ongoing abortion protest by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Regardless of how you stand on abortion, showing images of this nature in public is inappropriate and disrespectful (I won’t even link you to their website, since they do the same thing on their front page). People in Calgary are getting tired of seeing this not-so-little truck of horrors drive down their streets, so the the Calgary Pro-Choice Coalition has chosen to fight back using images of their own: a comic.

In it, they explain that abortion is legal and supported by the majority of Canadians, that pro-life organizations use scare tactics and disinformation to pressure women against having abortions, and most importantly, what the citizens of Calgary can do to fight back against the Foetus-Mobile.

Though the comic does dip into the “women have a right to choose” argument that many pro-life advocates are likely to ignore, most of the comic stays on target, focusing on getting rid of the truck: a target that both sides can agree is offensive.

(via Bleeding Cool)

A Little More Conversation

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

A good comic should have the right balance of words and images, working with each other to tell a story. One should not be more important than the other, because otherwise you’ve just written a novel or a picture book, not a comic.

The words have overpowered the images in these ads for Colgate toothpaste, but that doesn’t make them failed comics. The preponderance of text is actually the point of the narrative. Colgate cleans your mouth, which gets rid of your bad breath, which allows you to talk more. And talk and talk and talk. You can talk so much that it overwhelms the comic you’re appearing in! The content of the words in these ads are irrelevant, as they’re being used as a visual element instead. Which is good, because the scans aren’t large enough to read the text anyway.

(via The Ephemerist)