07 April 2012

Extra Credit Blog: Unbreakable


Janelle McGee
April 7, 2012
TR 11-1215pm
Extra Credit Blog: Unbreakable
David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis is the main character in the movie Unbreakable. David is married to his wife Audrey and they have one son together named Joseph. David and Audrey met in a car accident during college. Miraculously David was not injured in the accident but claimed he had a season ending injury that made him not be able to play football anymore. It is evident that David and Audrey’s relationship is unstable when while on David’s train home from looking for a job in NY, he tries to hit on a sports reporter named Kelly. David’s train derailed while he was on it and he was the only survivor. Elijah, also known as Mr. Glass thinks that David is opposite of him and  that David is extraordinary, because not once in five years while working as a security guard for the University has David ever taken ill. He also has never been injured, and David’s weakness is water.  Mr. Glass has had over 44 breaks in his life and has a weak immune system, and he is also afraid of water. When Joseph helps his dad workout, they find out that David is super strong and can lift over 350lbs. Elijah tries to convince David and David’s family that David should use his powers for the better. David eventually gets persuaded saved two children whose parents got murdered. When David shakes Mr. Glass’s hand at the museum, he realizes that Mr. Glass is the archenemy who blew up the airport and killed so many people’s lives. David turns in Mr. Glass and Mr. Glass gets charged for terrorism.
This film can be related to the article Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton in the sense that every superhero has a weakness. In the article we learn Superman’s weakness is kryptonite. In the movie, we learn the “superhero” David’s weakness is water, and we also learn the “archenemy” Mr. Glass’s weakness is also water. Also in the article we are told that Superman has a secret identity of Clark Kent and wears a costume. Well in Unbreakable, David wasn’t given a secret name, but he developed a costume of a black cloak with a hood.

06 April 2012

Going Underground

The movie "Comic Book Confidential" directed by Rob Mann goes through the history of comic books during their highs and lows. It starts out in the eighties when Superheroes became super popular. Superman and Batman received a lot of attention and other Superheroes began to flourish. During the war Jack Kirby created Captain America as a hero that would save the Americans and portray the moral value of patriotism. After the war ended, people began to get sick of Superheroes and horror, romance, and other genres of comics came into the market. After an 11 year old boy killed an older woman, horror comics got the blame and regulations were put on what could be put in comics. This ruined comics a little bit and contributed to the reason why comics are seen today as for children only. After these regulations were established some comic artists rebelled and started selling comics underground. They did not want to be told what to put in comics, they wanted to write whatsoever they desired. Once they started selling comics illegally, these comics began to be active instead of passive and more sexual and satirical. Slowly but surely horror came back into comics and some of the underground comics became more mainstream. Superheroes became popular once again not only in comics but in movies as well. People like Frank Miller began to rewrite the old Superheroes in ways more relatable to our day. Comics have been through many ups and downs and there is a lot of history about them. However, because of the underground movement their history is not well known.

McCloud in his book Understanding Comics explains that there can be a variety of genre's in comics and that they don't have to be what everyone thinks they are. In this movie it goes through the history of comics and shows all the different genres that have appeared in comics. There have been a ton of different genres and there could even still be more written. The popular genres have been written about the most, but they are not the only comic genres out there. I did not realize the amount of different styles of genres in comics until watching this movie. There was a huge underground movement that I was completely unaware of that changed the way comics were made and the content inside of them. I believe this is a major reason why the mainstream comics became so "childish." There were a lot of genres of comics, but the regulations narrowed the genres down and the superhero and child comics were the ones that survived.

"Super Humans" Annotation

"Super Humans" is an article written by Patrick McCormick about the appeal of both superheroes and other heroes in our lives. He claims that as humans we are always searching for someone to be our hero. We have turned celebrities, athlete stars, and political candidates into heroes hoping for someone to look up to that is perfect. Unfortunately, they are all human and we are let down when they make mistakes. McCormick claims that we should really be looking to the saints of this world as our heroes, because they are the ones truly trying to save other's lives and make this world a better place. This relates to my research paper because my thesis is that there will always be some type of hero in this world. I will use this quote from McCormick about how heroes have always been around, "And ever since the serpent offered Eve a bite of the forbidden fruit, we have pined for that kind of power and invulnerability." Humans will always want that kind of power and invulnerability so there will always be hero stories.


"Buy A F*cking Comic Book"

A great treatise on comic books--with some minor swearing :-)

Enjoy your break!

War Never Changes



War. War never changes.
                     ~ Fallout 3

Whether it's the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust, or people fighting against a dictators regime in Iran.  Our own hate towards one another causes all this death, and that hate is what breeds war, and I fear that it will never change...  

Persepolis is a movie based off of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical comic which details her family and personal life in the city of Tehran Iran during the time of the Islamic Revolution, which sparked the war between Iraq and Iran.  It starts out with a grownup Marjane who is sitting at the airport remembering her past experiences.  We see that during the beginning of the revolution Marjane was a rebel even as a child, always going against the tide. Listening to heavy metal music and wearing awesome clothes are things that are frowned upon in her traditional society.  We witness the horrors of the revolution firsthand when we see her uncle Anouche get imprisoned and eventually killed for his political views.  Fearing that her outspoken, rebellious nature will give the regime cause to harm her, Marjane’s parents decide to send her out of the country to live in Austria where she can be safe.  Marjane soon realizes how different it is at her new home, and begins to explore the freedom she now possesses.  Marjane is now a young woman who is making friends and finding love, time and time again, but with freedom comes responsibility.  Marjane soon realizes that this is not her home, and begs her parents to let her come back to Tehran.  The war is all but over and people are forgetting why they fought in the first place, but there are few who still remember, few who still have the will to resist.  She leaves Tehran again always unsure about where her home is.  Marjane takes her grandma to the Caspian Sea, and realizes that home isn’t an actual place, its family.

This movie originated as a comic, and holds a similar form of historical, cultural, and autobiographical content to that of the comic Maus: A Survivors Tale.  Both these comics are true stories that open a window into the lives of the creator and his or her family.  More movies like this one would help prove to the people who don’t read comics that there are more than just superhero comics out there.  Unfortunately, people watch more movies than read books, but the comic medium can use this to flip the tables on the movie industry by having it promote comics.
  

Sin City Annotation


Miller, Frank. Sin City. Milwaukie: Dark Horse Books, 2005. Print.

           
Frank Millers, Sin City, is an example of a comic that contains a radically different form of content then what is found in the average superhero comic.  The main character Marv, is a hulking brute who goes on a bloody rampage when someone murders the love of his life, Goldie, right next to him in their own bed.  Marv then rampages through Sin City hunting down her killers to make them pay for what they did.  This comic contains strong themes of violence and hate all stewing in a plot of revenge. I intend to use one image from this comic which helps prove that adult content can be found within comics. 

03 April 2012

Cancer


Cancer
In the beginning of the story we are introduced to the main characters Harvey and Joyce. Harvey is scheduled for surgery the following day to get rid of a hernia. When a few hours have gone into the surgery, Joyce notices that something is wrong when she sees the surgeon walk out of the room. The surgeon Dr. Cantor leaves Joyce very confused when all he tells her is that they found a large tumor removed it and said that the tumor is lymphoma. Then Dr. Cantor just leaves to work on another patient. Once Harvey was cleared to leave the hospital, both he and Joyce are still very confused as to what is going on. Harvey gets worried about leaving Joyce behind, so he begins to write his will. In an effort to console her, Joyce relies on friends to make her feel better and begins to do research on the cancer to learn more about it. When the Doctor calls Joyce and Henry, they get notified that Harvey’s cancer has not spread. Although slightly relieved, Harvey began to have mental breakdowns while doing hard work such as moving things around in the apartment. Later on while Joyce is outside, her landlord and another man had taken off work to come by and see the apartment. Joyce was so frustrated with everything that had been going on that she rudely told them to go away saying now is not a good time to see the apartment. Harvey and Joyce’s brother Todd leave to a new house. While at the house Joyce has a conversation with the carpenter Stephanie. Stephanie tells Joyce that because she has a mammogram scheduled, she will finish a little after schedule. It is learned that Stephanie found a lump on her breast and that her family has a history of breast cancer. Joyce calms Stephanie down by relating Harvey’s cancer to Stephanie’s cancer so in a way Stephanie and Joyce comfort each other.
When reading Our Cancer Year, we recognize that comic books aren’t just about superheroes. Comic books can also express feelings as well. Our Cancer Year was written to show how people cope with things going on in their daily lives such as cancer. Many people who read this comic will most likely be able to relate to it because these types of situations occur in our day to day lives.

Power shortage!

Our Cancer Year, starts out with a wondering man named Tod, ringing the door bell at his sister Joyce’s house. He sits and explains what he has been up to for the last few weeks. His travels have led him to the west side of town, painting houses for a little bit of side money. Joyce’s husband Harvey jumps into the conversation and tells Tod that since he will be around, that maybe he can help out around the house a little bit. Harvey explains that he will be having an operation soon, and that he may end up with a hernia and may not be able to move much. The day of the operation comes, and it is noticeable that Harvey is nervous and anxious, as he is dressed and ready to go 2 hours before they even have to leave. Joyce convinces him to let her sleep an extra 2 hours more. When it is time to go, Joyce insists that Tod drives, and this too makes Harvey nervous. As they arrive at the hospital 45 min early, Harvey gets checked in and changed, just waiting for the doctor now. As they are waiting, Harvey gives Joyce his wedding ring as a “just in case” type of thing, and says his goodbyes to Joyce before departing for surgery. While in the waiting room, Joyce and Todd see Harvey’s doctor and he gives them the bad news. The doctor tells Joyce and Tod that Harvey has a very large tumor-Lymphoma, and then he abruptly leaves. The nurse tells Harvey that she also was sick with Sarcoidosis but that she learned to live with it. Joyce and Harvey learn that they won’t know anything for 10 more days, so all they could do now was wait. They were very agitated because they felt like the doctor was ignoring them, but the receptionist told them that he had already left. When they got home, Tod left Joyce and Harvey alone in the bed room to talk. They laid in bed talking and Joyce tried to convince Harvey that everything was going to be ok. She said she’d never forget how he was so concerned about her well being if he died. As they lay in bed together thinking one another were asleep, Joyce has taught herself to cry in bed silently, so that Harvey does not wake up and worry. As Harvey lays in bed, he thinks to himself and decides that he will go see a lawyer and possibly draw up a will. The next day, Joyce was on the phone with her friend and she gave her a number for a cancer center. Just for some peace of mind, she called and asked the man all of the questions she had. After Harvey’s cat scan, a follow-up appointment with Dr Cantor is held. The doctor tells Harvey that the cancer was gone in the one lymph node that it was present. As the appointment came to an end, the doctor oddly asks about the house that Harvey and Joyce just bought. As Harvey is still on sick leave from work, he decides to keep busy and do work in the house, packing and moving stuff around. As he struggles, Joyce tried to convince him to stop and rest. He gets angry and storms out of the house. Joyce gets upset and goes and sits in the car, when her landlord Mr. Lattimore and Slim come by. They at there because they want to look at the apartment they were moving out of. Joyce declines, and Slim gets upset and tries to go in anyway. Joyce wins the battle, and Mr. Lattimore calms the situation, having Slim not go inside. Some time later, Joyce goes to visit the new house where Stephanie the carpenter is there working. They talk about Stephanie’s ex girlfriend Crystal. They continue talking about the structure and carpentry of the house, Stephanie’s old profession, and the fact that she may have breast cancer. Joyce expresses her sympathies for Stephanie. The chapter ends in Stephanie apologizing for taking so long to finish the house, Joyce reassures her that it’s ok because she understands what she’s going through and they embrace.

Really Our Cancer Year can not really relate to many comics. It wasn't about a typical superhero but much more than that. This comic was a little bit interesting. It puts life into perspective a little bit, with the message of enjoying life and not taking if for granted while you’re still healthy. I felt bad for Joyce in that she might possibly use her husband and that she didn’t know how to deal with it and be there for him. Seeing him struggle in the house while trying to move cinder blocks and watching him storm out of the house had to be very difficult for her, because she was not used to seeing him in that way. Earlier in the comic when he gave her the wedding ring, just in case something happened, was also really sad to see. I don’t know how a wife or husband is supposed to cope with losing their significant other. I wouldn’t know what I would do if I was her. And on the other hand, it has to be the hardest thing to be him and get news that you have cancer and could die. I feel like Harvey handled it pretty well, besides the little blow up he had when he couldn’t carry the cinder blocks. I was a little confused on why the doctor asked about the property and how much they paid for it. However, as I said before, I think there was a hidden message in this story; even though he was cleared of cancer in the end, the 10 or so days that they had to wait for results, they had to come to grips with reality that Harvey could die. Live life to its fullest while you still can.

No running from cancer

   At the beginning of the reading, the main characters Harvey and Joyce are preparing for Harvey's surgery that is scheduled for the next day. The surgery is to remove what is though to be a hernia. A few hours into the surgery, Joyce spots Harvey's surgeon walking out of the operating room and immediately senses that something is wrong. Dr. Cantor briefly explains to Joyce that they found a large tumor, removed it and said that it is lymphoma and then leave to tend to another patient. Joyce is left very confused because she knows nothing about cancer. Both Harvey and Joyce leave the hospital still very confused with what cancer is and what the next steps they are going to have to take are going to be. After returning from the surgery, Harvey and Joyce begin to prepare themselves for what is to come next. Harvey is worried about possibly leaving Joyce and prepares himself by meeting with a lawyer to begin writing his will for Joyce. Joyce prepares herself by calling friends to help her feel better and also tries to learn more about cancer and its treatments. After hearing from the doctor that the CAT scan showed that the cancer had not spread, the couple were still very uneasy about the cancer. Not too long after the follow-up appointment, Harvey, who was still very upset with the fact that he had cancer, has a small breakdown while moving things around in the apartment after Joyce had insisted that he should not be working this hard yet. While outside waiting for things to calm down, Joyce was approached by her landlord and another man. They tell her that they took off work to see the apartment but Joyce, who is still heated from what had happened earlier, aggressively tells the men that now is not a good time to see the apartment after they had persisted on going in. The men finally leave Joyce alone and she, Harvey and her brother Tod leave to the new house. Tod tells Joyce to stay at the house to rest for the day. While at the house, Joyce talks with Stephanie, who is the carpenter working on Joyce and Harvey's new house. Stephanie tells Joyce that she will finish a little late because she has a mammogram scheduled. She explains to Joyce that her family has a history of breast cancer and just recently she found a lump and has now become very nervous. The chapter closes with Joyce telling Stephanie not to worry about the work because she herself is dealing with a similar problem and then comforts Stephanie by hugging her.

Our Cancer Year was another example of comic books not just being about superheroes. Just as Scott McCloud had written in his book, comic books are sometimes written to express feelings, that is exactly what the authors of the comic book did. Our Cancer Year was written as a way to cope with what was going on in their lives. Because the comic book is based off a serious and real issue many people are able to relate themselves to the characters.

Empathy the Medium of Pain


Empathy the Medium of Pain

Our Cancer Year is a graphic novel that follows the life of Harvey and Joyce a married seemingly American couple. The story takes place with Joyce’s brother Tod abruptly stopping by unannounced. The three individuals quickly get reacquainted with the on goings of each other’s lives. Tod explains the reason for being in town, which happens to be an odd job he’s working on not to far from where Joyce and Harvey live. From there Harvey explains to Tod if he needs more work, and that if he has to have surgery it would be okay for Tod to help them with their moving. On the day that Harvey is scheduled to have surgery, the family takes a ride to the hospital to meet with Dr. Cantor for what appears to be surgery that Harvey has been preparing for, for quite some time.
Although at this point the story takes a new twist, Harvey does have his surgery but not for a hernia. The doctor then explains to Joyce, that Harvey had a tumor removed. The doctor then gives Harvey the run down on his current situation before leaving abruptly. Assuming the worse Joyce’s nervousness about the situation quickly turns into anger towards the doctor, with Harvey still sitting with a demeanor of disbelief. The couple then gathers themselves together in heads home with the worrisome thought of Harvey’s cancer on their minds. That following night it is demonstrated how fearful the couple is about their situation. Harvey already deciding his fate in is concerned about the life his wife would have when he is gone, and Joyce not so much fearful of losing her lover but more concerned with what he is thinking when it comes to her. Joyce and Harvey both then set out cope with his condition in their on ways.
Harvey looks into a having a will in place in the event he dies and Joyce calls friends to see what information they can provide to help with Harvey’s condition. This is when their relationship begins to become strained. Harvey soon finds out that his cancer has been neutralized, but doesn’t reveal this to Joyce and in doing Joyce continues to push the issue of him having cancer in therefore creating more problems. This story appears to have some truth in its background. It really displays the strains that occur when families and individual are diagnosed with scary medical conditions. Although this relationship in particular appears to be on that was built on tough love the insight that it provides is very realistic and although Joyce was not diagnosed she too did feel the effects of Harvey condition.



Our Body is Our Own Enemy

Harvey Pekar was a was an American underground comic book writer, music critic and media personality, best known for his autobiographical American Splendor comic series. Our Cancer Year won the 1995 Harvey Award for best original graphic novel. Our cancer story tells the painful and touching tale of his discovery that he has lymphoma and must begin chemotherapy. The news comes as Pekar and his wife, Brabner, are preparing to buy a house. Our Cancer Year is known for its normalcy. Pekar is an everyman through and through. As such, when he battles his disease, he does it in a comically human way. The title of this work is apt, too, because Pekar and his wife experience everything together in this fight against cancer. The comic was written when the Gulf war was taking place, making it very related to readers. War too is an all-too-human affliction, but Pekar was able to find the glorious in even the most mundane traits of mankind. A struggle of a Harvey who is a cancer patient is shown in the first few pages of the comic. He gets up exceptionally early in order to make it for the operation. This on its own shows his desperateness to get cured, so he can work on painting the house and maybe his longing to stay healthy for his wife who he loves dearly.
Harvey and his wife approach cancer in a very genuine way although they freak out at first, only to finding a way to fight it together. They are portrayed in a very humane way, which makes this comic very relatable to the readers. He want to paint his house and do other chores like shifting of homes to keep himself busy, and his mind away from the nagging thought of his illness. This is the best part of the comic as; he is knowingly living his life, not as a threat but by utilizing every second of it.
Comics have been around for very long however, past observations have lead me to map a little success route that famous comics have in common. All comics that have done well in the past as they have something to do with the current situations or crisis’s they were going on. Like, Superman comics depicted him as a hero when World War II was taking place, Americans looked up to him as their savior during those years. Maus is also a good connection as we come across many twists and turns in life and death occurs to all, which again is very relatable altogether. And, Our Cancer Year was written when the Gulf War was taking place, the comic is used as a metaphor for war. Now, comparing it with McClouds perspective is dissimilar as McCloud is a little biased to comic characters being abstract in order to be relatable to the readers. In this comic, the case is different because the characters aren’t all that abstract but Pekar balances this out perfectly by making the text very easy to read and people are able to relate to it.

02 April 2012

Maus A Survivors Tale

In the following book Maus a Survivors Tale written by Spiegelman the author expresses his life through comics. In the story Spiegelman gives out main events in his life as a young adult. This character seems to be selfish and spoiled we can make this assumption by the way he acts such as when he gets that call from his father to at 7:30 am to go help him fix the roof. Although his son does not come he comes when he needs something from his father which is about a week later. The relationship between they have is not close and not healthy at all. The son makes a living by making comics books of his personal life. His parents are Jew survivors of the War World II. He also writes a comic book Prisoners on a Hell Planet which expresses his feels toward the death of his mother. His father reading the comic is hurt by details of the story. This story is so affective because it gives us a narrative in what it was like to be in this situation in only a few pages. The author uses the uses cats and mousse to give a general idea of how life was showing that mousses were killed and followed by cats. It gives us a detailed story of the daily life of a prison person not just.   

Cure for Cancer: Support, Perseverance, and "Herbal Medicine"



I do not believe for one second that any person I've met has not had a family member or close friend affected by the disease deemed cancer. Acquiring a virus, disease, or experiencing a fatal accident can be what determines a persons outlook and perception of life, besides limiting or eradicating your previous physical life. In the comic "Our Cancer Year", written and illustrated by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, is as far as I can tell a tough but enlightening piece of literature. I read the fifth chapter of this comic book and was flooded with emotion. The chapter starts with a character named Harvey being escorted to the hospital for a routine check and possible surgery. After being admitted and moved to the operating room his family waits impatiently to hear the outcome of what happened. The doctor enters the room and lets the family know that Harvey has Lymphoma and they had to operate. His wife argues with the doctor and demands to know more, but the doctor proceeds to the next call.


After the doctor has left, many other nurses and friends offer emotional support. One nurse suggest Tod speak to a Clergyman for guidance, which immediately annoys Harvey's love interest. Instant religious guidance in the hospital annoyed me to some extent to, just because it insinuated an ideology of "No one knows whats wrong, but God will fix it if you attend mass downstairs". I guess I have this negative stigma because a nurse in the hospital suggested the cause of my spinal cord injury was caused by my satanic music.


Later that night Harvey is discussing what he would like to leave for his wife in case he dies and ponders how their relationship will move forward. I have been through this same situation with a girl I fell in love with up in Oregon in the time of my accident. Holding a steady relationship with a girl in high school while having no mobility or sensory feeling is no walk in the park, but neither is every other hospital relationship.


Harvey continues to have a hard time coping with his injury by throwing cinder blocks, kind of how I used to throw markers when I was frustrated with my lack of drawing ability in the hospital. His wife retreats to the car and then has to shoe away eager people who want to inspect the house for sale. She returns into the house and has a conversation with her lesbian carpenter friend about alternative medicine and how she wants to encourage Harvey to smoke. They never state what, but why would she encourage Harvey to smoke Tobacco? I have been through most of this same process of not knowing and constant mental struggle, but I also do find spiritual help through "Herbal Remedies" if you catch my drift. This is all besides the point. Our Cancer Year seems to be a pretty realistic depiction of how people deal with health problem and how concerned we get about a certain disorder AFTER we attain it. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power.


Cancer Affecting More Than Just The One With It

Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar wrote the comic called Our Cancer Year as a way to cope with Harvey's diagnosis. The comic opens up with Tod coming to visit his brother Harvey along with his wife Joyce. At that time Harvey asks Tod to help Joyce and him move to their new home since he will be unable to lift due to a surgery he will be having the following day to remove his hernia. Harvey is very anxious for his surgery so he ends up waking two hours before they decided to wake up. Finally Joyce and Tod wake up and drive Harvey to the hospital. Harvey finally goes into surgery with Dr. Cantor. After the surgery Dr. Cantor goes up to Joyce and tells her that instead of a hernia he found a tumor and then immediately walks away without giving her any more information. He then rushes to go see Harvey and let him know that he actually has Lymphoma and he will need to get a CAT scan to see if the cancer spread and then immediately leaves. Later on that night Joyce and Harvey are still shocked with the bad news and want to know more about the cancer. Harvey is more concerned with what will happen to Joyce if he dies instead of himself. That night Joyce learned to cry without moving so Harvey would not know. The following day Harvey goes to make his will so that way Joyce can have everything if he dies. Joyce calls her friend Becky for comfort. Becky comforts Joyce and gives her a number she can call if she had any questions about cancer. Joyce calls the number and immediately tries to learn what a CAT scan is, the other person on the phone and explains to her that it is like an x-ray that will allow the doctor to see if the cancer has spread and where it is. Harvey goes to get his CAT scan and discovers that the cancer has not spread. After hearing that good news Joyce and her husband continue to work on their new house and move out. As they move out Harvey insists on lifting cinder blocks during his recovery because he feels helpless. Joyce insists that he stops which causes a huge fight. Joyce goes outside as Tod deals with Harvey. Joyce's landlord and Slim come over to take a look at the apartment but Joyce explains that it is not a good time to look at the apartment today. The landlord refuses to listen pushing frustrated Joyce to yell at her landlord and insist that it is a bad time, the landlord finally leaves. Tod finally comes out and lets Joyce know that Harvey has calmed down and that they are going to go over to the new house and that Joyce should get some rest. At this time Joyce is talking to her carpenter Stephanie who notifies Joyce that she will be late the following day because she has a mammogram. Stephanie explains to Joyce that she found a lump in her breast and that her family has a history of breast cancer. It never said that Stephanie had a cancer but towards the end Stephanie apologizes for taking so long to finish the house and Joyce comforts her by letting her know it's okay because she knows what she's going through. Then they hug each other due to their despair.

Our Cancer Year was a way for Joyce and Harvey to cope with Harvey's cancer. This refers back to Scott McCloud's chapter on art within Understanding Comics. McCloud explains how art is a form of self expression, and in a sense, Harvey and Joyce created this comic to express how they felt about cancer. People tend to forget how cancer affects many people and that it is important for them to express their feelings through this difficult time. It is also a great way to get the word out about cancer. Maybe, one day this book will help someone else who might be going through a similar experience fee a little better with their situation. Personally, this comic touches me because my cousin died from cancer and it really helped me understand what her husband and kids might of gone through during that difficult time.

A More Relatable Comic

In the comic Our Cancer Year written by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar, they write about a true story about their experience with finding out Harvey had cancer. Most comics were about Super Heroes, and imaginary things but this comic stands out because it was about Cancer and can potentially be relatable to many people. The Comic starts off with Harvey having to go in to get surgery because he thought he had a hernia. Harvey had a lot of anxiety about the surgery, and was ready to leave to go to the hospital hours too early. After they arrived at the hospital, Harvey was prepped and went right into surgery. After surgery, Joyce got the news that Harvey had a large tumor, and removed it. Dr. Cantor who was Harvey’s doctor, explained to Joyce very briefly that the cancer was Lymphoma, and then quickly left the room. Joyce was trying to fight the tears, but was also very frustrated that Dr. Cantor was so short with her, and didn’t quite explain to her what cancer was exactly, and how serious it was, he just stated that Harvey needed a cat scan for more information. After Harvey leaves the hospital knowing that he has cancer, he becomes very depressed and hopeless, he even tells his wife that he is going to write a will, and that he was sorry that he could no longer take care of her like he wanted to. Harvey was prepared to die, and he convinced himself that the cancer was worse than it actually was, because when they went for a check-up, they found out that the cancer had not spread. After they find this out, Harvey is still on medical leave, but decides to carry on life as if nothing was wrong with him, he continued to lift and move boxes, even though all of his friends suggested that he takes it easy. As Joyce and Harvey continue to go through this hard time, they are very private with their situation and won’t even let their landlords look at their apartment, Joyce begged them for privacy. After this Joyce went over to her new house that was being re-done, and meets the carpenter Stephanie, and they share stories about cancer, and they have a very sentimental moment, and tell each other that everything is going to be okay.
This comic was very enjoyable to read, I loved the fact that this was a true story, I can imagine that many readers can relate to this story. The audience of this comic would be for anybody, because everybody in some way or another has dealt with family members and friends being diagnosed with cancer. This comic probably helped comics become more popular to a wider audience. Like stated in Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud, where he states that if the genre of comics widens then they will become more popular. I think the authors of this comic did a good job of making this comic different from the rest of comics, and yet still making it interesting and relatable. Because of how relatable this comic is, it gained popularity to anyone that has a soft spot in their heart for cancer stories like this one.

Cancer: The Invisible Villian

                Our Cancer Year is unlike most comics. It is not about superheroes or super villains but instead it is about cancer. The comic starts when Harvey and Joyce receive an unexpected visit from Tod, Joyce’s brother.  Harvey tells Tod that if he is still looking for work then he can help him move out since he will be having surgery. The morning of the surgery Harvey is ready for his surgery way before he has to. While Harvey is in the operation Dr. Canton comes out to inform Joyce that Harvey had a large tumor, and leaves in a hurry. Dr. Canton then barely explains to Harvey that he has lymphoma and that he needs a CAT scan. Shocked from what the doctor told him a nurse tries to comfort him by telling him that she had sarcoidosis and that she just learned to live with it. Still angry and confused Joyce asks for the doctor to explain more but he again just comes in and tells them the same thing and leaved once again. After Harvey is told that he has cancer he worries about Joyce and all he can think about is writing his will. Joyce trying to feel better calls her friend Becky. Becky comforts her by telling her that her Grandmother survived even though she was little and old. After Harvey’s CAT scan Dr. Canton gives him good news and tells him the cancer hadn’t spread. Back in their house Harvey insists on helping out and moving cinder blocks. Joyce gets mad at him because he shouldn’t be lifting anything. Feeling worthless Harvey freaks out and Joyce leaves to her car where she finds her landlord and Slim. They approach her and tell her that they come to see the apartment but Joyce refuses on letting them in. they insisted but Joyce tells them that it isn’t a good time for them right now. When Harvey calms down, Tod goes to Joyce and tells her that they’re going to the new house and that she should stay there and get some rest. At some point after the day Joyce checks in with the carpenter, Stephanie. They chat for a while and then Stephanie tells her that she is going to be late because she has a mammogram. We find that Stephanie is really worried since she has a history of breast cancer and that she found a lump. The story ends when Stephanie apologizes for taking so long but Joyce tells her she understands since she’s going through a similar time and they both hug each other.
                This comic is an example that not all comics are about superheroes like everybody thinks. It is a comic that deals with a big problem, cancer.  We can see how Our Cancer Year is used as art as it is a way for Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar to express themselves.  Scott McCloud’s revolutions discussed how there needed to be more genres of comics. Our Cancer Year being a different genre helped comics gain more popularity since many readers could make connections with the characters since cancer affects many people. Even in the comic itself many people are or were affected by cancer yet they found comfort with other people who went through a similar situation.

Personal affects that cancer cause to people

In Our Cancer Year written by and drawn by Joyce Brabner and Pekar Harvey gives us a point of view on what cancer patients and family’s go through before and after they find out that a family member or a loved one has cancer. In this story, we are given the view point of how it has impacted this family by the expressions of the characters and by the dark shades of drawings. In the story, the patient finds out that he has cancer while going to a doctor’s appointment during that appointment he is given a surgery without his knowledge and without any knowledge to the family. The family’s frustration are showed by the drawings and expression of their faces which is what most of the drawings consist of. The doctor in this story comes hours after and informs the family very bluntly that a surgery has taken place and that that a cat scan will be taken in ten days. He rapidly leaves without another word. According to the comic books pictures and the diction, the family shows an overflow of confusion, anger, and sadness when told about the process of diagnose that would be taken toward the man. In comparison to other assigned readings, this comic book shows the most expression it does so in a dramatic and suspenseful way to express the feelings of the characters. This comic book shows more shades of black which adds to the feeling of the story (sadness). The reason why these people most likely selected this writer would be because of the dramatic expressions in his work. These expressions perhaps met their emotions in that moment because of that is why they might have chosen to select him to tell their story.  He was able met their expressions and feelings in that moment with his drawings and diction.

Coping Through Art

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner is a biographical comic about a man and his wife coping with the fact that the man has been diagnosed with cancer.

Chapter Five of the comic opens with the man, Harvey, preparing for the surgery he is to have on a possible hernia. He is evidently very nervous and wakes up hours before his surgery. When he finally makes his way to the hospital, the doctors take him in while his wife, Joyce, sits in the waiting room. It’s not long before Harvey’s doctor appears in the waiting room to give Joyce some upsetting news: the surgeons have found a tumor. Joyce isn’t able to get much more information from the doctor before he rushes off.

Harvey and Joyce are notified that Harvey will need a CAT scan and will not know any further details for another 10 days when the test results arrive. Joyce gets in contact with several people for advice and further information about cancer, while Harvey seeks out a lawyer and begins filing a will. The 10 days pass and Harvey has a follow-up with his doctor, who informs him that his cancer had not spread. Both Harvey and Joyce find it difficult to continue with their “normal” lives as their friends try offering counsel.

The comic closes with Joyce and Harvey conversing with their carpenter, roofer, and electrician, all of whom have been, in some way, affected by cancer. Their insights help Joyce realize that she and Harvey are not alone.

Our Cancer Year refers back to Scott McCloud’s idea of art as a means of self-expression. McCloud asserts that comics -- or any type of art, in fact -- are a very effective way for humans to achieve emotional balance and help assure “the race’s mental survival.” Our Cancer Year is a great example of self-expression being put to use. This is a very serious comic, dealing with a very serious, real issue. In this case, the comic was likely meant as a way for the authors to help cope with Harvey’s diagnosis. I definitely agree with McCloud’s assertion, as I also use art as an emotional outlet.

Really Rapid Reproduction

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.

Is it Cancer Doctor??!!

Is it Cancer Doctor?!!
Harvey and Joyce are two married couples that have lived there’s lives every day regularly but then there lives began to be shaken. Harvey was scheduled to have a surgery for Hernia but little do they know, it becomes much serious than they imagined. It begins when a friend of Harvey’s comes over to their house to come visit, and Harvey tells him that he has scheduled surgical appointment he will be going to tomorrow. He explains how nervous he is, so as the morning comes around he’s the first one to be up a couple of hours before the appointment. Everyone still a tired, had to get up and get ready to go because he wanted to leave early. They finally reach the hospital and Joyce and Harvey split from there as Harvey is whisked away to the operating room. A few hours or so had passed and Harvey’s doctor, Dr. Cantor comes over to see Joyce in the lobby and explains to her that it wasn’t Hernia, but it was cancer they had found. Dr. Cantor’s sympathy to Joyce was not so caring or tragic struck but rather he left right away without as much information for them to fully understand Harvey’s situation. Instead Dr. Canton walked away because he had another patient waiting for him downstairs.
As Harvey began to hear of the news about his cancer, things began to become sadder between him and his wife, Joyce. There friends eventually find out and try to give them advice but it doesn’t really help much. Harvey becomes more worried but not for him, instead he begins to be more worried about his whom and what she will do if he passes away from this cancer. It becomes more difficult for Harvey because he does not wish to stop working and he decides to do that. Joyce does not like the idea of him still working and lifting heavy objects, but Harvey refuses to stop as they both argue about it. Harvey and Joyce end up seeking advice about cancer from different people and they talk about how they both feel about it. Harvey talks to Tod (Joyce’s brother) about his situation and Joyce ends up talking to their carpenter building there new house. As Joyce begins to talk about her situation with Harvey and the cancer, the carpenter who is a woman, says she has a scheduled appointment for a mammogram because she found a lump. As soon as Joyce hears this, she realizes that it’s not just Harvey going through this alone. It becomes clear to her that she has to try to stay strong, not just for her but for Harvey as well.
This story can be related to Maus, Intro. Chp. 5,because it talks about the realistic struggles of life. In Maus, it was about Jewish Holocaust’s and the tragedy that two individuals had to endure together with. In Our Cancer Year, two individuals whom loved each other as well, have to deal with a tragic event that will change not just one of their lives both of them. The artistic works in both comics have a fine line of realism between them as well. Even though, Maus had a different approach by using mice as people, it showed a piece of artwork that scratched the surface of creativity and so did the story, Our Cancer Years. This story had an idea to use a story that relates to an audience through real life events, just like Maus did. It would be good for any audience, and it was interesting to read.