Cancer Comics

My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2007, and she died on April 18, 2013. She had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, which spread to her brain, lymph nodes and nervous system. These comics are about my experience dealing with that, starting with the cancer’s recurrence in August 2011. I hope they are helpful to other people out there who are dealing with similar things. For me it helps to highlight the humor in these situations, because otherwise it’s just too darn sad. Plus, a lot of funny stuff happens around cancer. And my mom was just a really funny lady.

My mom made comics about her cancer too– actually over 300 pages of them! I’ve compiled the first part, about her initial diagnosis through surgery, with my own comics about the end of her cancer from 2011-2013 into one big graphic novel. I’m currently looking for a publisher, and will keep you updated on the progress.

So, here are some of my cancer comics, in chronological order.

Lucky Day

Treatable

Survivor

Hair

Communication

Big Deal

One Thing

Morning “Coffee”

Medical Potty Talk

Bar Bitch part 1

Pulling Through was originally published on Ultra-Sounds

Good News

March 10

Bra Bitch and Under Where?

Bar Bitch Part 2

May 14th, 2012 – a Monday Night

Hospital Daze parts 1-5

Hard Heart

Follow-Up

A Little Tune Up A Little Tune Up

A Little Tune Up-1

A Little Tune Up part 2

A Little Tune Up part 3

A Little Tune Up part 4

A Little Tune Up part 5

A Little Tune Up Part 6

Waking Up Suddenlywaking up suddenly

We Can Do Thiswe can do this

Worriesworries one panel

Morning Coffeemorning coffee 1

morning coffee 2

 

This scene happened sometime in the last weeks of my mom’s life. I don’t remember exactly when. Early April 2013: haircut

 

In December 2013, we went to pick up her ashes.   ashes 1

ashes 2

ashes 3

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14 thoughts on “Cancer Comics

  1. I love these comics. To me the sketched lines can convey so much more than words sometimes. Lucky Day, Treatable and Survivor especially resonate with my own experience with a cancer-like illness. Gosh, treatable could have been a direct transcript of some the appointments with my first haematologist. I used to bring along someone with me just to translate.

    Thanks for these sharp and compelling works.

    Samantha
    http://www.ultra-sounds.org

    • Samantha,

      Thank you for this comment. Connecting with others in similar cancer-ish experiences means so much to me, and is a big reason why I make and share these comics. I look forward to reading your blog as well.

      Best,
      Anna

  2. Please do take a look Anna. You would be in good company. There are some other cancer cartoonists represented already, although each of you has a different style (which I find so interesting). I accept submissions for our “Ultra Sounds Mondays” of writing, art, photography, videos and….cartoons if you are at all interested in participating.

    Have you read “Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A memoir in Comics” by Miriam Engleberg? Your humour reminds me of hers. It is an extremely funny, yet poignant book.

    All the best

    Samantha

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  6. thank you so much for sharing these! I just sent them to a friend and my uncle, both dealing with dumb cancer treatments that suck-but-we-of-course-hope-work… thank you. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Molly, and I’m glad you liked the comics. I hope the cancer treatments for your friend and uncle go well, and that there’s funny moments you can all laugh about. It’s a hard journey.

  7. Anna, I’ve been friends with your aunt Judy since sophomore year at Syracuse. We roomed together at the sorority house. And we live an hour apart but we wish we were next door to each other. I drove to Denver yesterday and we did our usual stuff, having lunch, shopping, talking away. At the end of the day she showed me one of your recent cartoons. This morning, at home, I checked out your website and spent a long time looking at the details of your drawings and the simplicity of the text. Together, they deliver such a strong connection to the moment. I got teary eyed. You are so good at putting it all together without complicated explanations. I didn’t know Viola very well but I do know she lived strong and gave her family tons of love and inspiration while she was here. And that all shows in your talent and creativity. I hope you are reaching a large audience! Please give my best to your Dad. Diana B.

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