02 April 2012

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.


  1. Your connection to McCloud was really good. I agree that comics like this one can definitely help increase comics' popularity because they are relatable to a wider audience. Good post!

  2. This was a good post but I feel like you over summarized the chapter, what emotions did this comic pull from you and how is it personally applicable to You?

    1. Good point, Rob.

      Still, Kayla, your relation to McCloud is spot on. And if you research this topic, you'll find there was a surge of autobiographical comics because of Harvey Pekar's work.