COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology

Graphic Mundi. Feb. 2021. 296p. ed. by Kendra Boileau & Rich Johnson. ISBN 9780271090146. pap. $24.95. HEALTH
Nurses, doctors, teachers, families, and others affected weigh in about those dreadful first six months of COVID. Pre-vaccine, and bombarded by conflicting medical and social advice, the characters in these 64 vignettes express every emotion imaginable, including—fortunately—humor. From over 70 creators drawn from all nooks of the comics industry, readers learn there is no one pandemic experience; the disease contains multitudes. An anti-epidemic yokai, porch singers, Zoom meetings, hazmat suits, and a hilarious rosy-nosed avatar of suffering all turn up, some stories fiction and some nonfiction. COVID, states one character, has “exposed and amplified everything wrong with the world.” Another worries about doing self-care wrong. The cover image manages to suggest both Godzilla and 9/11: fantastic, surreal, deadly.
VERDICT Capturing the zeitgeist of 2020, this anthology documents the suffering people behind the statistics: so many voices, so much death. Important for historical and medical collections, for education about crisis management, and also peerlessly entertaining.
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