The graphic novel Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner tells the story of a middle aged couple that comes to find out that Harvey, the husband and main character, after going through a hernia operation also had a lymphatic tumor. Amid a very busy doctor and a whirlwind of confusion Joyce becomes stricken with immediate terror and begins searching everywhere for answers as to what has just happened to their lives. Harvey insists that he must start drafting his will and wrapping up his earthly affairs. They gradually become informed that Harvey will need to undergo a CAT scan to find out if there are any remaining tumors, the only problem is that Joyce and Harvey don’t know what a CAT scan even does. After a few days, a CAT scan and a call to 1-800-4-CANCER, Joyce begins to find out that Harvey is one of many in modern society that have fallen ill with cancer. Stephanie, the carpenter that is working on the apartment that Joyce and Harvey are selling, found a lump in her breast and the electrician’s wife died of cancer. Stephanie asserts that there is a major link between cancer and our introduction of toxins into our environment. But Joyce laughs it off and explains that she won’t be worrying about it anymore since Harvey already has cancer.
I feel that Our Cancer Year is extremely true of the genre of graphic novel because it’s done completely in black and white. Considering that the only colors involved in academic texts and novels are the color of the paper and black ink. Also, I think that the masking effect can take place even stronger because of the color simplicity of the pictures, making your brain imagine even more of the setting and details of the characters and the story.
Sadly, the cure to cancer has been discovered several times. But, because of the high profit made from the present methods of trying to cure patients of cancer, the medical industry does not allow proven cures to be released into the pharmaceutical market.