Graphic Medicine Collection

Graphic Medicine at YDL

In 2014, YDL was selected as one of two libraries in the country to receive the first Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant. We chose to focus on the fascinating ways that graphic novels are being used in the medical field. Graphic novel memoirs on a wide variety of medically-related topics can be as therapeutic for readers and patients to read as they are for the authors to create. The graphic novel form helps illuminate the human side of illnesses and addiction and can be beneficial to patients and caregivers alike.

We kicked off the program in with a visit from "Comic Nurse" MK Czerwiec*. Czerwiec is one of the co-founders of the graphic medicine blog and author of several comics and an upcoming book on the topic of graphic medicine. In addition to funding our special event, the grant allowed us to add more adult graphic narrative titles on the "Graphic Medicine" theme to our already-robust collection. We now have over 90 titles in our Graphic Medicine collection (located at Whittaker Road location, 2nd floor).

We also added seven Graphic Medicine book club kits, which can be checked out for 6 weeks.  Each kit contains multiple copies of books as well as information about the books and suggested discussion questions.  Kits available on the topics of AIDS/HIV, Cancer, Eating Disorders, Epilepsy, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse.

*See photos & video from her presentation >>

Learn more about the field of Graphic Medicine >>

Graphic Medicine Brochure

(Can't see it? Click here to view the brochure, or download the pdf, or scroll down for graphic novel descriptions.)

Selected Graphic Medicine Titles at YDL

Graphic novels related to illness, aging, and other difficult topics are emerging as a robust and widely varied sub-genre of adult graphic novel format.  The open format and ability to incorporate both words and pictures allows authors to tell deeply personal stories in powerful yet relatable ways.

YDL's graphic medicine collection features a few of the most popular and groundbreaking titles that define the genre, as well as memoirs that we hope will be of help to our patrons who have dealt with illness, whether as patients or as caregivers.


Alzheimers and Aging

Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me

by Sarah Leavitt (Skyhorse, 2012)

Recounts in graphic novel format how the author’s well-educated, intellectual mother, Mildred, known as Midge, began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease at fifty-two, and follows the effects of the disease on the woman and her family.

 Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.


Special Exits: A Graphic Memoir

by Joyce Farmer (Fantagraphics, 2010)

Chronicles the final years of Lars and Rachel’s lives, their relationship with one another and with their daughter, and how they cope with the emotional fragility of the most taxing time in their lives.



Mom’s Cancer

by Brian Fries (Abrams Image, 2006)

Brian Fies is a freelance journalist whose mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. As he and his two sisters struggled with the effects of her illness and her ongoing recovery from treatment, Brian processed the experience in his journal, which took the form of words and pictures.


Cancer Vixen: A True Story

by Marisa Acocella Marchetto (Knopf, 2006)

A New York City cartoonist recounts her eleven-month bout with breast cancer, from initial diagnosis to cure, chronicling her high-powered Manhattan lifestyle, the romance between the ultimate bachelorette and her surprising Prince Charming, and her fierce battle against disease.


Stitches: A Memoir

by David Small (W.W. Norton, 2009)


The author recounts in graphic novel format his troubled childhood with a radiologist father who subjected him to repeated x-rays and a withholding and tormented mother, an environment he fled at the age of sixteen in the hopes of becoming an artist.


Our Cancer Year

by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1994)

Recounts a year in the life of a cancer patient and his wife in graphic form. A portrait of a man beset with fears real and imagined, who survives as they cope with chemotherapy, buying a house, and moving.


Depression and Mental Illness

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir

by Ellen Forney (Gotham Books, 2012)

An artist describes her bipolar disorder diagnosis and her struggles with mental stability while discussing other creative people throughout history who were also labeled as “crazy,” including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Sylvia Plath.


Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic stories about Mental Illness

by Darryl Cunningham (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Presents in graphic novel format first-person perspectives on the experiences of mental illness, portraying the myths, stigmas, and dynamics of a range of psychiatric conditions. Concluding with a reflection on how mental illness has affected his own life, Darryl Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales is a moving, engaging examination of what is, at its root, the human condition.


Swallow Me Whole

by Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions, 2008)

Nate Powell quietly explores the dark corners of adolescence-- not the clichéd melodramatic outbursts of rebellion, but the countless tiny moments of madness, the vague relief of medication, and mixed blessing of family ties. Two stepsiblings cope with the mental illness that each of them suffers while dealing with high school and their grandmother’s impending death.



Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story

by Frederik Peeters (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)

In deeply personal graphic memoir about love in the time of AIDS, Frederik meets Cati and falls in love, but the two face many obstacles to happiness because Cati is HIV positive, just like her three-year-old son.


Black Hole

by Charles Burns (Pantheon, 2005)

Seattle teenagers of the 1970s are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that spreads only through sexual contact.


... and more


by B. David (Pantheon, 2005)

A memoir told in the form of a graphic novel chronicles the author’s experiences growing up with an older brother afflicted with epilepsy and the effects of the disease on the family, and the roots of his career as a cartoonist.


The Alcoholic

by Jonathan Ames (Vertigo, 2008)

Coming off a doomed romance, a failing writer searches for hope in the bottom of a bottle as he careens from one off-kilter encounter to another in search of himself.

Just In

October/November 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
A listing of DVD's and Blu-ray added to the collection in October/November 2017
View in catalog