Collection Development | Graphic Medicine

Comics seem uniquely equipped to educate about health and medicine, as these stories of sickness and medicine demonstrate.







Comics seem uniquely equipped to educate about health and medicine. Stories of sickness real or fictional, viewpoints from both ends of the scalpel, outpourings from those affected and their loved ones, uncertainties experienced by clinicians—all can be embodied in entertaining, artful, and instructive visuals. Indeed, the Graphic Medicine Collective was founded in 2007 to promote the role of comics in health care and has its own website ( and conferences. Annals of Internal Medicine, a top medical journal, includes short graphic narratives by doctors and patients.

The selections below make up only a small and recent sample that does not include such seminal classics as Brian Fies’s Mom’s Cancer, Marisa Acocella Marchetto’s Cancer Vixen, Peter Dunlap-Shohl’s My Degeneration: A Journal Through Parkinson’s, or Paco Roca’s Wrinkles, many of which are being collected by medical as well as public and university libraries. See also Graphic Medicine, an illustrated anthology of scholarly essays edited by Erin La Cour and Anna Poletti.

For many of these creators, drawing their stories has been part of the healing process. “Maybe drawing it has been part of my path to recovery,” writes Tiiitu Takalo in her introduction to Memento Mori. But a few of these creators never recovered, and we can only mourn the loss of their gifts.

Starred titles () are recommended for all library collections.

Bessie, Adam (text) & Peter Glanting (illus.). Going Remote: A Teacher’s Story. Seven Stories. May 2023. 160p. ISBN 9781644212707. pap. $18.95. MEMOIR

Chochois, Héloïse. The Body Factory: From the First Prosthetics to the Augmented Human. Graphic Mundi. May 2021. 168p. tr. from French by Kendra Boileau. ISBN 9780271087061. pap. $18.95. SCI

COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology. Graphic Mundi. Feb. 2021. 296p. ed. by Kendra Boileau & Rich Johnson. ISBN 9780271090146. pap. $24.95. HEALTH

Czerwiec, MK. Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371. Graphic Mundi. Nov. 2021. 232p. ISBN 9781637790076. pap. $24.95. MEMOIR

Dandro, Travis. Hummingbird Heart. Drawn & Quarterly. May 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781770465626. pap. $29.95. MEMOIR

Durán, Cristina & Miguel Giner Bou. A Chance: Complete Edition. Graphic Mundi. Jan. 2022. 312p. tr. from Spanish by Katherine Rucker. ISBN 9781637790038. $29.95. MEMOIR

Franz, Aisha. Work-Life Balance. Drawn & Quarterly. Apr. 2023. 256p. tr. from German by Nicholas Houde. ISBN 9781770466333. pap. $24.95. F

Gold, Hayley. Nervosa. Street Noise. Apr. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781951491246. pap. $21.99. MEMOIR

Hart, Jordan (text) & Bruno Chiroleu (illus.). Ripple Effects. Fanbase. Nov. 2022. 188p. ISBN 9780998797984. pap. $24.99. F

Hilnama. I’m a Terminal Cancer Patient, But I’m Fine. Seven Seas. Nov. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9781638585251. pap. $14.99. MEMOIR

Knisley, Lucy. Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos. First Second. Feb. 2019. 256p. ISBN 9781626728080. pap. $19.99. MEMOIR

Loewinsohn, Briana. Ephemera: A Memoir. Fantagraphics. Mar. 2023. 200p. ISBN 9781683966906. $24.99. MEMOIR

Louis, Rick (text) & Lara Antal (illus.). Ronan and the Endless Sea of Stars: A Graphic Memoir. Abrams. Nov. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9781419751080. $24.99. MEMOIR

Pioli, Catherine. Down to the Bone: A Leukemia Story. Graphic Mundi. Dec. 2022. 152p. tr. from French by J.T. Mahany. ISBN 9781637790342. $27.95. MEMOIR

Ruliffson, Jess. Invisible Wounds: Graphic Journalism. Fantagraphics. Nov. 2022. 178p. ISBN 9781683961901. $24.99. BIOG

Sensory: Life on the Spectrum; An Autistic Comics Anthology. Andrews McMeel. Oct. 2022. 176p. ed. by Bex Ollerton. ISBN 9781524874766. pap. $19.99. BIOG

Takalo, Tiitu. Memento Mori. Oni. May 2023. 232p. ISBN 9781637152027. pap. $24.99. MEMOIR

Tung, Debbie. Everything Is OK. Andrews McMeel. Sept. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781524863272. pap. $16.99. MEMOIR

Wertz, Julia. Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story. Black Dog & Leventhal. May 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780762468256. $30. MEMOIR

Williams, Erin. What’s Wrong? Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine. Abrams ComicArts. Jan. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9781419747342. $29.99. HEALTH

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing