Booster Shot Comics

Booster Shot Comics Blog

Booster Shot Comics Blog

Comics & Medicine 2014


Booster Shot Comics attended the 2014 Comics & Medicine Conference this year at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. First, a huge THANK YOU to the amazing and talented Lydia Gregg for organizing this conference along with all the other folks at We are so grateful for the opportunity to meet and speak with cartoonists, artists, public health officials, researchers, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, students, illustrators, publishers, teachers, bioethicists, and everyone else who attends this conference --- which keeps getter better and better every year. Carol Tilley's keynote

The keynote speakers throughout the conference were all incredible. On Friday, Carol Tilley presented her talk Private Reading, Public Health: Exploring Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s Comics Legacy. Her detailed analysis of Wertham's papers show how he falsified his anti-comics research which impacted censorship policies in mid-twentieth century. Here's a great video on here work.

Ellen Forney's keynote

On Saturday, Ellen Forney discussed her graphic memoir Marbles about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her book not only recounts her experience, but it also explains the detailed of the diagnosis, medications, and symptoms related to bipolar disorder. Her visual metaphors and clinical accuracy allow some people to even use the book as a guide for their own experience with the diagnosis.


Mel Baron's Fotonovela Projects

The concurrent sessions and lighting talk sessions were jampacked with exciting work. From Mel Baron's fotonovela projects in Los Angeles to Archie-Comics CEO Nancy Silberkleit's presentation on her comic Rise Above which addresses bullying. Ms Silberkleit also supports comic book fairs in libraries!

Nancy Silberkleit

As members of Live Action Cartoonists, one of our personal favorites was Jeff Day sharing his book Don't Touch That by doing a live-drawing sessions explaining how to identify poison ivy and then quizzing the audience at the end.

Jeff Day draws poison ivy


One of the other great parts of the conference is the art auction. This year probably had the best display and variety of art that we've seen at the conference. And the auction proceeds went to the Vesalius Trust which funds educational and research activities in visual communications in the health sciences. Alex had two images in the auction, but most importantly he won a print by Eisner-Award-Winner Jame Strum who delivered an amazing keynote on Friday evening about The Center for Cartoon Studies' process of working with their local VA Medical Center.

Auction at Comics & Medicine


One of Alex's art pieces in the auction

One of Alex's favorite things to do at the conference of course is to DRAW. Here's a sketch from Meredith Li-Vollmer and David Lasky's presentation on their public health comic No Ordinary Flu which you can read in almost any language you can think of on the King County website.

Meredith Li-Vollmer and David Lasky

You can see more of Alex's conference sketches on the Booster Shot Comics Facebook page. And of course the conference is not all fun and games. We did spend a considerable about of time trying to land 100-point shots in skeeball after the Laydeez-Do-Comics event on Friday night. This feat was accomplished only by Alex and the multi-talented Kriota Willberg.

Harder than it looks

We met so many brilliant people doing outrageously good work and freely offering their advice and thoughts on comics and medicine and everything that falls in between. Big thank you to Laura Ruth, MK, and Leah for including us in the panel Research Outcomes When The Intervention in a Comic. Here's our presentation: Comics in Pediatric Patient Education Superheroes, Monstrous Villains & Helpful Dinosaurs!

And another huge thanks to everyone at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children's. Here's our lighting talk on the Reserach on Medical Practices videos and comics we are producing with them.

Can't wait till next year!!!!