Though appearing in educational comics as early as the 1950s, cancer was practically a taboo subject when Susan Sontag wrote her seminal book Illness as Metaphor in 1978, addressing shame and stigma around certain conditions, including cancer and later HIV/AIDS (1990). Sontag addressed the shame that many patients felt about their illness, as well as their ignorance of options and acceptance of the diagnosis as a death sentence. She became, as she would describe herself, a “crusader for the sick.” Since that time, cancer has not only become a subject discussed openly, but also a common topic of memoir, literature, and graphic medicine. In the books displayed, protagonists share their story as they learn about the disease, cope with treatment and the possibility—or imminence—of death.

Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Tobimatsu

Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020

RC280.B8 T63 2020 Crerar

Alicia en el Mundo Real

Isabel Franc

Barcelona: Norma Editorial, 2010

PN6777.F73 A45 2010 Gen