There have been a lot of posts coming out with anti-racism reading lists, even some for comics and graphic novels. With the push this week to support #BlackPublishingPower and #BlackoutBestsellerList, I’d been thinking it would be good to have something for Graphic Medicine folk along the same lines.
Then this morning, I saw the Nib’s newest, In/Vulnerable: Zenobia – Largo, MD. This is one part in an amazing series the Nib is doing in partnership with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting on how inequities and disparities are impacting health outcomes and experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure sounds like graphic medicine to me, doesn’t it? I hope they publish this in book form so I can get a copy for our library.
I read Zenobia’s story about her daughter with cerebral palsy, who worked in a grocery store. A grocery store that didn’t provide PPE for their staff. And her daughter died of COVID-19. My son grew up with what was called special needs, also, and, like Zenobia’s daughter, Leilani, he works in a grocery store. Not a big one like Giant Food, but a small coop in an upscale community. It’s really different. Staff have and use PPE, my son is sanitizing carts and baskets and places people touch things. Reading In/Vulnerable this morning was one of those moments. It just hit me, and I started crying, and had trouble stopping. I probably could use a mental health day, I guess, and you know what? That’s an option for me. That’s available to me. And somehow that doesn’t make this any better. My son wanted me to go watch cat videos, and I said, no, let me try to do something that might help instead. Even if it isn’t enough, ever, and can’t possibly be.
I’ve done posts before on social justice in comics, so you can start here: 45 Graphic Memoirs and Graphic Novels on Social Justice Themes. Right now, I’m still working from home (more privilege), and most of the books I have that would count for this are in the office, which hopefully explains the photo at the opening of this post. Because I blur social justice issues and the boundaries of graphic medicine, this might be a little loosely defined, but here are some titles I’d like to share with you at this time, in this context.
A COMIC ANTHOLOGY
I’ve been collecting comic anthologies for a research project, and let me tell you, this one is not well enough known. Go. Buy it. Read it.
About prejudice, stigma, stereotyping, privilege, and sort of a core in the anti-racism comics canon.
Book 2: Sports is Hell
Believe it or not, this one is actually about rioting. Fancy that.
Book: Upgrade Soul
An exploration of identity, mortality, and disability through a science fiction lens.
Free online, but for sale if you want a print copy.
A graphic memoir examining violence in the life of African American youth.
Book: B.B. and the Diva
A brave outrageous early work of fiction LGBT superheroes, of a sort.
Book: Krip Hop Nation
Exploring and honoring the power of spoken language arts and music through a lens of disability activism.
A rather peculiar exploration of the concept of waiting in our lives.
Book: Bingo Love
What does it mean to love someone when society says you aren’t allowed to be with them? What does it mean to love someone when you are finally allowed to be with them? What does it mean to love someone through aging, loss, and beyond?
Book: I Am Alfonso Jones
Powerful. I can’t try to explain it without choking up. Go read the publisher’s description.
Book: Madtown High
I’d recommend her book Ghost, except it isn’t available. This is another good one, graphic memoir exploring teen life.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE PHOTO
These might not count as graphic medicine, but they are by Black creators.
FYI, the Graphic Medicine Confab series starts TONIGHT (yay, Kriota!), and the presenter for the June 30th session is Joel Christian Gill, mentioned above. And there is a Comics as Resistance with Bianca Xunise event happening on Friday (which I know about thanks to Whit Taylor retweeting Radiator Comics).
Kugali Comics (Africa/Kenya)