Chronicling Cancer, In Graphic Form Cartoonists Brian Fies and Miriam Engelberg use comics to write about cancer. Both say they've found one cartoon drawing can distill meaning, humor and sadness more effectively than a 50-page essay.

Chronicling Cancer, In Graphic Form

Chronicling Cancer, In Graphic Form

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Brian Fies writes and draws about his mother's struggle with lung cancer in Mom's Cancer. Brian Fies/Abrams Image hide caption

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Brian Fies/Abrams Image

Miriam Engelberg was 43 when she was diagnosed with cancer. hide caption

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'My Cancer' Blog

NPR commentator Leroy Sievers is coping with his cancer in a different way — with a blog about his experiences.

People whose lives have been disrupted by cancer are using graphic novels to tell their stories.

In Mom's Cancer, Brian Fies tells the story of his mother's struggle with metastatic lung cancer, while Miriam Engelberg chronicles her own breast cancer in Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics.

Fies' mother was diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to her brain. For Engelberg, news of her breast cancer came in 2001, when she was 43 — and her son was just 4 years old.

The two have very different artistic styles, but they share a brutally honest approach to their subject.

And both say they've found drawings to be highly effective for distilling meaning, humor and sadness.

"Somehow in the cartoon form, panel by panel, the absurdist part of this whole experience comes out in a way that it wouldn't if I were just writing an essay," says Engelberg.

From Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies

Fies panel 1
Fies panel 2
Images from Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies (Abrams Image). (c) Brian Fies.


From Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg

Engelberg 1
Engelberg 2
Images used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc

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