In honor of NF2 Awareness Day, the Children’s Tumor Foundation has released an educational comic to help inform people about neurofibromatosis type 2, which is characterized by the development of benign tumors on the hearing nerves.
The comic was written by CTF’s Director of Communications Vanessa Shealy Younger and drawn by Fishtown creator Kevin Colden, who has previously worked on comics like The Crow and The Sweetness. Colden has a personal connection to NF through his wife and fellow comic creator, Miss Lasko-Gross. “My wife’s second cousin has NF1, so I’ve personally seen how NF can affect families. Working with this script and being able to bring Billy’s story to life was a wonderful opportunity,” Colden said.
The comic tells the real-life story of Billy Nguyen, who was diagnosed with NF2 as a child. Once Billy learns of his NF2 diagnosis, the story tracks his childhood struggle to understand the difficult disorder. His Vietnamese parents spoke some English, but all the medical terms were too overwhelming, leaving young Billy to make a lot of adult decisions on his own. Nguyen is currently a fourth-year medical student at UCLA.
Younger and Colden were joined by colorist Chris Sotomayor and letterer Nate Pride on the project, which was a joint production between the CTF and the studio Bottled Lightning. It’s the third comics project they’ve produced together; you can see their previous efforts here.
“It was such a privilege to work with Billy, and then to engage an entire team of talented artists to work on this story. I’m excited about the potential at the Children’s Tumor Foundation to make neurofibromatosis, and rare disease in general, more accessible to patients and caregivers through the use of graphic medicine and visual storytelling,” said Younger.