Selina Lock points us in the direction of this new Tumblr blog Better, Drawn, which brings together comics work where the creators discuss living with medical issues, be they a physical or mental illness. From the description: “Better, drawn is a new place for people to share stories about long-term and chronic mental and physical illnesses, told in the form of short comics. The site is a way for people to share experiences that might otherwise be difficult to talk about openly. In fact, we think that sometimes things can be said better when they’re drawn; hopefully, these comics might help some people feel better, too.”
I don’t think anyone would argue that the comics medium can be a very effective and extremely accessible way of highlighting problems many people have to live with on a daily basis – we’ve seen plenty of fascinating work, from the likes of Epileptic by David B and Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies to Tom Humberstone doing his 24 Hour Comic on Crohns, Andy Luke and Stephen Downey just recently exploring living with epilepsy with Absence and of course Darryl Cunningham’s much lauded Psychiatric Tales. And as well as offering fascinating and often moving reading, these works all share another quality – they put medical problems into the light, get people thinking about them, more aware of conditions and hopefully more informed about the needs of others, as well as letting those who are actually living with some of those illnesses (or looking after someone with them) know that they’re not alone, and that can be quite a lift to them too. Some have been used to raise awareness – Andy and Stephen’s Absence, for instance, was given out free across Northern Ireland in places like local libraries and schools, while we’ve seen a couple of conferences now exploring the use of graphic narratives in medicine, so some of the medical establishment are also taking the use of comics on healthcare topics seriously.
(Brain Zap by and (c) Sarah Dickson)
The site has just begun with several strips up already from Selina Lock, Tom Humberstone, Andrew Godfrey, Sarah Dickson, Lee Kennedy, Tom Humberstone and Jim Cameron for starters and they are looking for more contributions. As I said I think autobiographical comics dealing with ailments can have a positive effect, and I think it is a terrific idea to start bringing some of them together like this via one site, so why not spread the word about Better, Drawn and their Twitter.