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Graphic Medicine and the Critique of Contemporary U.S. Healthcare

barbarawo Graphic Medicine, Hot Topics in Research

Comics has always had a critical engagement with socio-political and cultural issues and hence evolved into a medium with a subversive power to challenge the status quo. Staying true to the criticality of the medium, graphic medicine (where comics intersects with the discourse of healthcare) critiques the exploitative and unethical practices in the field of healthcare, thereby creating a critical consciousness in the reader. In close reading select graphic pathographies such as Gabby Schulz’s Sick (2016), Emily Steinberg’s Broken Eggs (2014), Ellen Forney’s Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me (2012) and Marisa Marchetto’s Cancer Vixen (2009), the present article delineates how graphic medicine interrogates the larger than life forces in the field of healthcare. Drawing specific instances from the aforementioned graphic texts, the essay demonstrates that graphic medicine scrutinizes the political economy of health under capitalism. In so doing, the article illustrates how the pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies, medical technology, and healthcare corporations marketize and commoditize health in the neoliberal era. Finally, the article attempts to theorize how graphic pathographies, mediating subjective experiences, generate a new critical literacy through the conflation of the personal and the political in the verbovisual medium of comics.

Venkatesan, S., Murali, C. Graphic Medicine and the Critique of Contemporary U.S. Healthcare. J Med Humanit 43, 27–42 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-019-09571-z