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Graphic Medicine Collection

What is Graphic Medicine?

Albion College Library Graphic Medicine Collection Graphic

Graphic medicine refers to “the intersection between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare,” according to founder Ian Williams

Graphic medicine includes many kinds of visual narratives — comics, graphic novels, infographics, and more — that describe experiences of illness, disability, seeking healthcare, and providing healthcare. These stories accumulate to diversify and enrich our cultural understandings of healthcare experiences, to improve wellness outcomes, and to bridge divides between patients and medical professionals.

About the Collection

Albion College Library has built its Graphic Medicine Collection to invite our campus community to have broader, more open conversations about healthcare topics and to encourage engagement with this fascinating field in our classes, our research projects, and our leisure reading.

Titles in the Albion College Graphic Medicine Collection include books that aim to:

  • Share and validate human experiences in fiction and non-fiction;
  • Diversify the viewpoints from which we understand illness and disability; 
  • Give more power to patients;
  • Explore the challenges of healthcare while prioritizing empathy, equity, and ethics;
  • Reimagine the imagery of illness;
  • Support patients and family members in processing medical-related trauma; and
  • Bridge healthcare divides between patients and providers. 


Helpful Resources

The resources below offer an overview of graphic medicine from some superstars of the field, including medical practitioners, cartoonists and other artists, teachers and scholars, and folks from a variety of related professions. After exploring these resources, and you’ll have a good sense of what graphic medicine is all about!

Graphic Medicine Collection Collage

The Graphic Medicine website, founded by Ian Williams in 2007, is the online hub for the graphic medicine community. The website is now run by the Graphic Medicine International Collective and offers book reviews, information on its annual conference, and resources for anyone interested in graphic medicine. This community is also active on Facebook and YouTube.

“How Comics Can Help Us Heal,” MK Czerwiec at Albion College, March 2022

Nurse, comics artist, and educator MK Czerwiec gives the 2022 Anna Howard Shaw Keynote Address. "How Comics Can Help Us Heal" discusses how comics can help us identify emotional labor and create opportunities for self-care in healthcare professions.

See also: “Changing Healthcare with Comics: MK Czerwiec, the ComicNurse” (April 4, 2022, by Liam Rappleye for the Albion Pleiad) and “‘Comic Nurse’ MK Czerwiec Delights Crowd in Keynote on Graphic Medicine” (April 1, 2022, by Ariel Berry for Albion College Marketing and Communication)

“Holy Graphic Medicine, Batman!” Michael Green for the Association of American Medical Colleges, October 2017

Michael Green, MD, MS, Penn State College of Medicine, on the super power comics have to draw clinicians, patients together. 

“Comic Relief for Medicine,” Lydia Gregg for Johns Hopkins Medicine, June 2014

Comics in medicine allow patients to better understand treatment options, destigmatize illness and explore their personal perceptions of sickness in a more meaningful way, notes Johns Hopkins medical illustrator Lydia Gregg, who hosted an international conference called Comics & Medicine at Johns Hopkins in June 2014.

“Comics Make Medicine Less Scary for Young Patients,” June Soh for Voice of America broadcast,  July 2014

A growing number of comics and graphic novels are finding their way into medical exam rooms. Experts say that especially for young patients, comics can be a great tool to explain what can be a scary medical process in an easy and entertaining manner. The increasing and varied use of graphic arts was the focus of a recent Comics and Medicine conference at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus in Maryland. VOA's June Soh talked with physicians there.


Selected Items from the Collection

Below are a few highlights from the Albion College Graphic Medicine Collection. If you’re looking to explore comics or stories about medical experiences for the first time, any of these books would be a great place to start. 
Most of these books tell true stories about real people’s experiences with illnesses, disabilities, medical care, and diagnosis or treatment. Some of them are touching, some are humorous, and any of them might give you just the glimpse of human connection you are looking to find.
But these are just highlights — for full access to all the titles you can borrow, click here!

Graphic Medicine Collection Graphic 1

Some books about anxiety, depression, and mental healt

Some books about ADHD

Some books about sex education and sexually transmitted infections

Some books about COVID-19, infectious diseases, and public health

Some books about disordered eating

Some books about the autism spectrum and Aspberger’s 

Some books about cancer 

Some books about impacts of war on minds and bodies