I'm annotating individual pages from my book Mom's Cancer as they're posted on GoComics.com. These are my notes on Page 10 (June 1).
The panel of Mom drowning in a sea of medical jargon is one of the first and strongest (in my opinion) visual metaphors in Mom's Cancer. There'll be more later. A friend compared trying to absorb all the information rushing at you when you're suddenly seriously ill to drinking water from a fire hose. The ability to use this type of image is one of the reasons I decided comics was the right medium for telling my family's story.
I think this is a good example of how a picture conveys more meaning than a thousand words could. You look at that and you instantly get it. I don't need to use the words "drowning," "overwhelmed," or "terrified" at all. It's a type of communication comics do uniquely well.
Looking at this page today raises a couple of craft notes. First, I see I used the typeface "Comic Sans" for the words. Sorry about that. Back when I made this page I don't think it had acquired its infamous disrepute.
Second, I wasn't yet comfortable with digital art tools. Pasting those words into the background behind my hand-drawn figures would've been a 10-second cinch in Photoshop. Instead, I printed out the words on paper, cut out the shapes of the figures with an Xacto knife, and rubber-cemented them to the original art! It looks OK in print but the original is a gluey mess. What a maroon!
One nice surprise of reprinting Mom's Cancer on GoComics.com has been watching a little community of readers and commenters build. Some have been or are going through similar ordeals themselves. An unexpected hitch is that some readers who (very reasonably) don't know the history of Mom's Cancer seem to be under the impression the story is happening now. They offer me and my family advice. I don't want to ruin the story's immediacy by telling them "No need, it happened 10 years ago," nor interrupt the conversations to constantly correct people, but I don't want to give the wrong impression either. There's a fine line there I haven't figured out how to walk yet.