I’m up in White River Junction, Vermont, home of the Center for Cartoon Studies and, for this weekend only, the Graphic Medicine Conference. Actually, the conference has two venues—it starts at CCS and moves to the Dartmouth medical school on Saturday.
The term “graphic medicine” may conjure up an image of a comic about healthy eating or the wonderful world of the circulatory system, but graphic medicine in this case has a more literary bent. It’s part of the field called medical humanities and focuses not on educational comics but on graphic novels that describe the experience of illness and of being a patient, embracing titles as disparate as Jennifer Hayden’s The Story Of My Tits, Ellen Forney’s Marbles and Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (I wrote a short primer on the topic for School Library Journal recently.)