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Pandemics and Intellectual Discourse: Graphic Medicine

Graphic Medicine Background

The use of panel illustrations/ comics to tell of story by capturing the feeling of a topic image by image. Comics convey meaning through a visual vocabulary that includes pictures, symbols, dialog, and sequential panels that can jump across geography, time, and metaphysical space.

Why Comics?

  1. Comics tell stories a crisis that seemed abstract and distant becomes much more concrete and human. 
  2. Comics help people visualize what to expect or how to act
  3. Comics can help expand our reach. Comics have appeal to the ever growing legions who read graphic novels, web comics, manga, and comic books that make them an effective outreach tool.

graphic medicine resource examples

Comics can be used to address sensitive topics. An example of the the top 10 most deadly epidemics are included in this comic, Death By The Numbers available on the Nib.  The full comic can be found at


Comic can be used to reach people with various cultures and languages.  For example, The Seattle & King County Department of Public health has developed a 12-page comic book on the 1918 pandemic flu in multiple languages. The story tells the tale of family's experience with the 1918 influenza pandemic.


Comic can be used to describe topics in various modalities to help comprehension and empathy.  For example this comic From Five Thirty Eight, illustrates the components involved in modeling and why different models do not always have the same predictions.  The full comic, A Comic Strip Tour Of The Wild World Of Pandemic Modeling can be found at this link:

Graphic Medicine Resources