Comics and Medicine 2013 Recap
Alex and I had another inspirational and illuminating experience at the Comics and Medicine Conference this year in Brighton. Here's a little recap of the sessions we attended and the issues discussed. You can also read about the workshop we presented and see sketches of the conference by Alex. On Thursday night, the conference kicked off with a screening of a documentary about Neurocomic - a graphic novel collaboration between neuroscientists Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella, who is also a talented cartoonists. The documentary by Richard Wyllie explored the tension between scientific accuracy and dramatic storytelling.
Just like last year, the conference organizers but together a healthy range of topics, from patient education research and ethical issues in medical comics to workshops on digital imaging and character development. Personally, one of my favorite sessions was the panel on publishing graphic medicine moderated by Corinne Pearlman of Comic Company and Myriad Editions. The panel included four talented comic book artists (Woodrow Phoenix, Nye Wright, Hannah Eaton, and Nicola Streeten) who discussed their work and the unique challenges of addressing health and medical topics in educational and autobiographical narratives.
The organizer's brought in two excellent graphic novelists to present on their highly acclaimed memoirs. Nicola Streeten, co-founder of Laydeeze do Comics, presented on her book Billy, Me, & You and spoke about her new project looking at abortion. And David B of the French alternative editorial house L'Association discussed the genesis and artistic choices in his L'Ascension du Haut Mal. Both artists were also expertly interviewed by Ian Williams during a separate panel.
For me, one of the best parts of the conference is hearing about new and old comics that I should be reading. Thanks to Lorenzo Servitje, I'll be picking up a copy of From Hell to read. And Esther Bendit Salzman's comparison of body image themes in Doom Patrol and Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel made me want to read both. And the conference is great reminder of innovative teaching methods (Juliet McMullin's student's work in combining medical anthropology with originally produced comics and collaboration with art students) and new work (Rachel Abrams' project Pins and Needles).
Another fun part of this year's conference was the comics forum and marketplace. We all got to walk around a see work by fellow conference attendees.
There was way too much good stuff to fit into the blog post, but hopefully this gives you a little idea of what happens at this unique annual event. And we just want to say a big THANK YOU to all the organizers and look forward to next year's conference in Baltimore!