Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cancer in the comics

I've been reading the funnies online, and have slowly gotten sucked into the breast-cancer storyline in "Funky Winkerbean," a strip I don't normally follow. Best I can tell, the character, Lisa, had breast cancer in 1999 (you can follow those strips here), and it's now returned. (Check out this cool interactive character map if you need to know who's who, like I did.)

Some people think serious issues like this shouldn't be dealt with in the comics, but I've always found that if they're handled well, they can be educational, inspiring and yes, even entertaining. As much as I tease Lynn Johnston and her "For Better or For Worse," I was proud she featured a storyline in which Lawrence came out as gay, even having him (briefly) thrown out of his home by his stepdad and mom. Because yes, that happens, and yes, comics reach into homes where no one has ever known a gay person, or where people have (or have not) struggled with cancer, and to see those issues in the comics page is not, I think, a bad thing.

3 comments:

KickAss One said...

Free speech, baby!

Joseph. J. Finn said...

It's weirdly amazing to me how Funky Winkerbean, which I remember loathing when I was younger, now is a really strong strip with interesting characters and storylines. Another good one from last year was about one of the characters being prosecutred for carrying adult comics (in a clearly marked section of the store) and being defended by Lisa (it's from last November or so if you want to check the archives).

Mary said...

Check out Doonsbury for coverage of serious issues in a really great way. Last year BD lost his leg in Iraq, and the strip followd him through his transfer back to the US and being fitted for an artificial leg. Now he is dealing with the trauma by seeing a VA psychologist. Gary Trudeau (the cartoonist) apparently spent a lot of time at Walter Reed hospital learning the real story about wounded soldiers and what they go through.

It's an awesome strip anyway, but this particular storyline has been great.