Williams has launched a beautifully designed (as one might expect) website as a resource for health professionals, http://www.graphicmedicine.org/, dedicated to reviewing and discussing
graphic books with a medical theme. Inspired by Arthur Frank's notion of 'The Wounded Storyteller', Williams believes that these books are examples of how sharing the profound experience of illness with others is often part of a healing process. He argues that it is high time that graphic fiction was taken seriously, suggesting that comics and graphic novels could play a valuable role in:
- Reflecting or changing cultural perceptions of medicine
- Relating the patient/carer/provider experience
- Enabling discussion of difficult subjects
- Helping other sufferers or carers
Although studying comics and graphic books sounds like fun in the name of academia, these books are often harrowing, made all the more poignant by the use of the comic-strip format with its often-ironic 'punchline'.
We wish Ian all the best with his studies and look forward to reading about his conclusions.