Graphic Medicine Manifesto – NerdcoreMedical

Graphic Medicine Manifesto

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By MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, and Scott T. Smith

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 The volume combines scholarly essays by members of the editorial team with previously unpublished visual narratives by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec, and it includes arresting visual work from a wide range of graphic medicine practitioners. The book’s first section, featuring essays by Scott Smith and Susan Squier, argues that as a new area of scholarship, research on graphic medicine has the potential to challenge the conventional boundaries of academic disciplines, raise questions about their foundations, and 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 can engage members of the health professions with literary and visual representations and symbolic practices that offer patients, family members, physicians, and other caregivers new ways to experience and work with the complex challenges of the medical experience. The final section, by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec, focuses on the practice of creating graphic narratives, iconography, drawing as a social practice, and the nature of comics as visual rhetoric. A conclusion (in comics form) testifies to the diverse and growing graphic medicine community. Two valuable bibliographies guide readers to comics and scholarly works relevant to the field.

208 pages

“Absorbing and accessible. . . . The authors explain themselves in both words and pictures (five sketch themselves as standard-issue professionals, and one as a small, cheerful chicken). They outline what drew them to graphic medicine and append excerpts from favorite works.”

“[It] draws its strength from the way the individual voices coalesce to confirm not only the ability of comics to unravel medical culture and the pedagogical possibilities of graphic medicine but the transformative and community-building competence of graphic pathographies.”

“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, families, and professionals. A spoonful of comics really does help the medicine go down.”


MK Czerwiec and Ian Williams
1 Who Gets to Speak? The Making of Comics Scholarship
Scott T. Smith
Excerpt from Swallow Me Whole
Nate Powell
2 The Uses of Graphic Medicine for Engaged Scholarship
Susan Merrill Squier
“Bad Blastocyst”
Ruben Bolling
Excerpts from I Am Not These Feet
Kaisa Leka
Excerpts from “Where Babies Come From: A Miracle Explained”
Ann Starr
3 Graphic Storytelling and Medical Narrative: The Use of Graphic Novels in Medical Education
Michael J. Green
Excerpt from The Infinite Wait
Julia Wertz
4 Graphic Pathography in the Classroom and the Clinic: A Case Study
Kimberly R. Myers
Vita Perseverat (Life Goes On)
Ashley L. Pistorio
5 Comics and the Iconography of Illness
Ian Williams
Excerpt from The Nao of Brown
Glyn Dillon
6 The Crayon Revolution
MK Czerwiec
Excerpt from Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person
Miriam Engelberg
Excerpt from Old Person Whisperer
Muna Al-Jawad
MK Czerwiec and Ian Williams

MK Czerwiec is a nurse and comics artist. She is the artist-in-residence at Northwestern University’s 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 Women’s Studies and English 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.