30 June 2009


The chapter we read in Our Cancer Year was way too fast-paced for me first of all, and second, I hate reading any sort of literature without a conclusion. What finally happened to Harvey? Did the cancer spread or come back? What about the lady Joyce met, did her lump turn out to be cancerous? Also, what purpose does Tod serve?
Having stated all my questions, this reading was not one of my favorites and nor did I gain anything from it.

The story is about a married couple named Joyce and Harvey. Harvey mentions that he is going to have surgery on what he thought was a hernia. The day of the surgery is obviously very frightening for Harvey and readers can assume that he is nervous. After a short surgery the doctor briefly states that Harvey had cancer, but him and his team removed it all, leaving Harvey and Joyce with unanswered questions. Joyce attains a hotline which helps with those questions and Harvey sees an attorney to form a will.

After Harvey gets a CAT scan, he learns that no new cancer has spread. Joyce meets up with Stephani, the carpenter, who has found a lump in her breast, and claims it might be cancer. The two can relate to each other because Joyce states she knows what Stefani is going through.

The end! Maybe we should read more of the story to grasp the whole idea of it? Unless that was it? After reading this, I found myself confused and unsatisfied, although I really did enjoy the artwork. I especially like the section where the word CANCER is floating throughout the panel, with a confused Harvey being wheeled out of the hospital on a wheel-chair. I can’t imagine what that his feeling is like, but I’m sure the word “cancer” was literally floating around his head in that way.

Traumatic Life Events

In the comic, Our Cancer Year, written by Joyce Barbner and Harvey Pecker, discusses a real traumatic event in their life. Barbner and Pecker tell the story about how they were faced with the possibility of Pecker having cancer. Fortunately for Pecker is was only a scare. However they were fearful of that fact that when Harvey went into the hospital for a removal of a hernia and the doctor found a tumor. It was a lymphoma, and that scared Joyce terribly. The doctor was very naïve in telling Joyce about the tumor and how Harvey was going to need a CAT scan and walking out. Not knowing what a CAT scan was, or not receiving any other information from the doctor about it, Joyce assumed the worse immediately, cancer. Joyce was terrified of the possibility that her husband had cancer and that she was going to lose him. Luckily Joyce had a friend who told her about using the toll free number to get information on cancer. During her call with the cancer hotline Joyce receive clarification about a CAT scan. She also requested information about cancer, to read and gain a better understanding of what they could possibly be facing. When Harvey went in for his CAT scan and results he found out that it had been contained and there were no signs of cancer.

Cancer is a serious disease that is difficult to cope with. It took Harvey by surprise just as it did Joyce. Harvey being a good man decided that it was necessary to fill out a will and make sure Joyce would be alright. Even though it may have seemed to be premature actions that were taken, when a situation of this nature occurs in your family you have to think ahead.

Cancer has occurred in my family three times that I know of and each and every time our reactions were different. My grandmother had breast cancer that was malignant, and had her breast removed. It was a difficult for all of us. Just like Joyce we assumed the worst case scenario when the doctor informed us that the breast needed to be removed. Luckily for her she beat the cancer and lived 15 years cancer free.
I really enjoy these autobiographical types of comics, Our Cancer Year, especially because I could relate to Joyce and how she felt. I think that they are very courageous for telling about their traumatic life event. The ironic thing about reading this chapter is that this weekend was the Walk for Life, an event to raise money for cancer....

WOW it was a year.

In the reading Our Cancer Year by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar was an interesting comic about a husband and wife that discovers he has cancer rather then a hernia. Joyce is asking the doctor what is going on after the surgery and the doctor seems to busy to explain really anything but what was discovered during the procedure and what needs to be done next in order see how far along the cancer is or spread. Joyce and Harvey seem to not have an educational background to the terms being used by the doctor or nurse to explain what was happening to Harvey or what needed to be done. If it wasn't for the help of others like calling the hotline they would of gone crazy wondering what to do. The comic seemed really fast pace to read as the format of the comic seemed to have close panels and the bubbles in which contained the content seem to run over to other panels. It was interesting how Joyce landed up meeting up with someone else who had discovered a lump and needed to go to the doctor in order to be diagnosed. She was scared but Joyce seemed to be able to console her and help her understand her situation due to going her going through it with her husband. It is said that people come into our life for reasons unknown. This reading lets the reader see many points of view of people when dealing with a serious situation like having cancer and being a supporter or that person. Also in this comic you see the roles of many people that it takes to affect and change one persons life.

I hate cancer

Our Cancer year by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner is definitely not your typical comic book. It is a very emotional and sad comic that tugs at the heart strings. It's not everyday that your going to read a comic that deals with such a serious issue as cancer or death. As a consequence this comic book is not going to be read by your typical comic book reader, the 15 year old boy, but by a completely different audience altogether. A comic book like this can help many people deal with the pain of cancer in the family. The pictures and story help them realize that it is ok to feel certain emotions. The crazy part is that this is not the typical job of a comic book. Not very many people would think to look for a comic book for comfort and support on such difficult issues. Normally, it is men in tights fighting crime to save the world. It is comics like these that hopefully make the world aware that comic books are an art form not to be taken lightly.

Not your average Hernia.

Our Cancer Year is a brave comic about a man who believes he has a hernia but really finds out that he has a very large tumor. Surprised by this kind of news and still unaware of what cancer is, Joyce searches for some answers. Unaware of what a cat scan is and inpatient of the ten day wait they both start to feel a little scared. Since Dr. Cantor was not much help she decides to phone a friend who might be able to giver her some kind of direction. Her friend Becky assures her things will be okay and to look at the positive side of all this. She suggests they think about the people who survive cancer. Harvey on the other hand doesn't know what to think himself. He begins to feel sorry and feels he can no longer be strong enough to take care of Joyce. He assumes that he is going to die so wants to make sure that Joyce will be well taken care of. He goes to see his lawyer to make his will. Joyce is given a number by her friend that will answer many of her questions and help her to be there for Harvey. She calls the number and is right away informed of what a cat scan is, and how to go about a second opinion if necessary. Soon after the cat scan is performed Harvey returns for a follow-up. He is given good news that his cancer was found only in one lymph node and had not spread any where else. Before leaving the good doctor asks about the house they bought, and wants to know what they paid for it, because he is selling one on Euclid Heights. While Harvey is still on sick leave he decides he wants to keep moving. so he starts to move cinder blocks. Joyce is upset with him lifting heavy objects and demands that he stops. This leads to a fight in which Joyce goes to her car. Harvey calms down and decides to go to the new house to do some unpacking. There Joyce talks to the carpenter Stephanie and is able to cope with her because Stephanie found a lump on her breast and is going to get a mammogram.

I feel like I am missing a very important point in this comic story. Like somehow Dr. Cantor is a bad guy or something. Well I found this to be a story I think people can read and relate to. I think everyone before going to the Doctors feels anxiuos and scared, I guess because most people expect the worst right away. I liked how they were just average people who didn't know much about cancer but were forced to learn not because they were curious but because Harvey has cancer. No one really knows until they experience it for themselves, but this comic helped make me understand what people go through when finding out they have cancer.

29 June 2009

Cancer: A Real Life Dilema

Chapter 5 of Our Cancer Year is about a husband and wife coping with a real life scenario. This could happen to anyone in the world. It tells about how a wife, (for some couples rarely happens), has to be the sole supporter, and how the husband, (again, for some couples rarely happen) has to be the one being cared for. This story seems much too serious to be considered a comic, something that would be a novel and go on to become a great movie, if you like sad movies.

It really hit the heart, I think mainly because it is something that I am sure has happened to married, or not married couples/families more than a thousand times, and the opinion and experiences can be understood by plenty of readers. I am hoping to read the whole comic, some may say it was/is boring, or that the writer isn't that great, but if you're like me, and love this type of story, you'll agree with me.

Harvey's wife uses her own experience with the carpenter, which is very helpful if your in the same situation, the advice is appreciated especially when the person giving the advice knows exactly what is going on and the types of emotions one might feel, and go through during this difficult time.

I have to admit, this is the best comic I have ever read, and again, hope to read it all.

When a Man Loves a Woman

Our Cancer Year by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar is an autobiographical comic based on Harvey Pakar’s lymphoma scare. The chapter is told from his wife (Brabner)’s view point, but is about both of their struggles to understand and cope with the disease while trying to move into a new home. After going to the his doctor for what Harvey thinks is a hernia, the doctor lets Pekar’s wife (Joyce) know that they removed a large tumor. The doctor tells Joyce to schedule a cat scan with the nurse, then leaves without answering any of Joyce’s questions. After frantically trying to get answers, from Harvey’s doctor and the nurses with no result, Joyce calls a friend who tells her to call 1-800-4-cancer. The operator answers all her questions and helps her to have a little piece of mind. After the cat scan and days of waiting, the doctor gives Harvey the news that his cancer hadn’t spread anywhere else. Harvey then still on sick leave from work begins to start moving again. This cause animosity between Harvey and Joyce, when Harvey wants (thinks) he can handle lifting large cinder blocks. A fight between the two ensues causing Joyce to hid in the car. Later Joyce goes to her and Harvey’s new home and begins to realize that everyone that has work on and is working on their new house has either had a cancer scare themselves or has known a family member with cancer. They chapter ends with Joyce sharing her stories and sentiments with the lesbian carpenter, who is herself worried about a lump on her breast.

What a strange comic. In a since, I can see how someone might call Pekar’s work a bit boring. Think about it, real life is boring, and the comic Our Cancer Year is real life, Pekar’s real life. I guess I have trouble with the idea that Our Cancer Year, is real. For me when I know something is real I can connect, follow, and become involved with the stories and characters. Mainly during the parts of sentiment, such as Harvey being more worried about his wife and what might happen to her if the cancer does kill him. It made me tear up a little bit, I don’t like that!!!!, but for that same reason I also loved it. Pekar might not have been trying too, but in my opinion he involves the reader and connects with the reader beautifully. Sharing something so intimate as the battle with cancer then maybe even more so the family issues that arise from dealing.

I also loved the art in the comic. I think the art help tell the story, by giving you the real emotions. In my opinion words can only go so far in trying to explain emotions, but the art in this comic accompanies the words to in my opinion create valid emotions that I could, and did connect with. I defiantly give this comic two thumbs up…even though it made me cry!

"Our 'Suck'cer Year" haha Just Kidding! (but seriously...)

Our Cancer Year by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar is a comic book about a couple who has to deal with cancer. It seems like it is written in the wife, Joyce’s point of view, and how she is coping with the fact that her husband has been diagnosed with Lymphoma. She is very scared about her husband’s fate and does not know anything about cancer, or how to deal with it. At the same time when all of this information is found out, the couple is trying to move out of their current home, but it only exasperates things because the husband, Harvey, has just undergone surgery.
This was a very interesting story to read as a comic besides any of scott McCloud’s work because it does not involve any superheroes or imply any theory about comics themselves. It is basically a story that anyone can go through, and it very real. The only thing that bugged me about it was how Joyce seemed to take her problems out on everyone else. I understand how that kind of reaction is sensible, but it still bothered me how she acted like it was the end of the world. Sure, it might have been the end of the husband’s world, but he did not act like it was. He was the one who was trying to act normal and not pity himself for his problems. That is very admirable too because cancer is a serious illness even though I make it seem like he just has a common cold. The tone of the story is very serious but not too informative as well. Obviously, it is serious because it’s main topic is about cancer, and something as serious as this is something to inform others about, whether it be straight up facts about cancer , or facts are blended in with the story. There was not much information about cancer though, and I am surprised because in the story the authors mention how a lot of people don’t know much about cancer, but that is just a few thoughts.

28 June 2009

Quotes and Skeptics

As I read Chapters 3 of They Say/I Say, I find it very helpful especially at this time of writing our Contextual Analysis. It helps in the use of quotes and how we as the writers know when we might be over explaining our quotations, and also if we have explained our quotes thoroughly. Using quotes in our essays is very important, but not only so that the reader knows where we are obtaining our information, but also how we interpret it into our essays. Chapter 3 also goes on to explain how we as writers should blend the author's words with our own, instead of just listing the quote completely separate from what the writer is explaining. We have to make sure we are quoting passages that make sense to what we are writing about. They have to be incorporated and make sense. Language is also very important to the quotes. Using a thesaurus to use certain words instead of plain words, for example, using asserts instead of states might sound more catching. Chapter 3 is a good tool to use for any essay, it gives us something to follow as we quote sources, and to make sure that we are using them in the correct manner.

Chapter 6 was also helpful. I find myself sometimes not being able make my point across when writing an essay. I use the author points, and I list my points but have a hard time incorporating the two. The templates that are listed help me when I am trying to use both our points, or form arguments if I am disagreeing. I have also found myself having a hard time then I am trying to answer objections, or making my opinion convincing to my readers. Reading both of these chapters have made both these items easier for me to follow. They are kind of a guide for my writing, so following their ways will hopefully make my essays sound more clear without all of the jumping around. I think everyone will find these chapters helpful when writing their essays.