Expanding Graphic Medicine

Liebe Deinen Nächsten: Auf Rettungsfahrt Im Mittelmeer an Bord Der Aquarius

Gaby von Borsteland Peter Eickmeyer

Auflage: Splitter, 2017

f HV640.4.E8 B677 2017 Gen

Traditionally, the focus of graphic medicine has very much been on that of “medicine”—a patient, a condition, a care-giver, a doctor, and a hospital. There has been a strong emphasis on public health and the use of didactic comics to work with patients, as well as an increase in the use of memoir and fictional comics to assist patients with similar situations.

In the 21st century, the field examines itself in regard to under-represented groups and intersectionality. As the historical documents attest, medicine lacks racial, cultural, and gender diversity. Additionally, the stories of the sufferers provide insight into the gap between the healthcare system and the patients it claims to serve. While such groups as the Graphic Medicine International Collective bridge the distance among groups that fall under the graphic medicine umbrella, there remain distinctions between healthcare workers and those creators representing groups outside of that community, for example, aid workers and refugees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think more broadly about wellness, medicine, and public health in an increasingly connected world. How do we look beyond medicine, often practiced at the individual level, and think about health and illness at community and global levels? In recent years, Graphic Medicine has expanded its scope of inquiry and practice to include such topics as refugees, migrants, and the environment. Here again there is distance between creator and subject, in which the person responsible for the work is more often an observer rather than a participant in the crisis. Yet, as with many graphic medicine works, they bear witness to the harms and trauma inflicted by broader geopolitical systems.

These works represent Syrian & Vietnamese refugees, life under the Khmer Rouge, the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, and the effects of climate change.