Drawing Comics & Social Aspects of Mental Health by Meg John Barker

Comics and mental health have always been linked for me. My early experiences of learning to enjoy my own solitude came with The Beano and Topper and a bag of sherbert pips. Later on, girls’ comics were a mixed experience because I enjoyed the stories but learnt some rather restrictive messages about femininity and the importance of finding one perfect best friend – or later boyfriend.

Calvin and Hobbes

During my first adult experiences of depression, comics such as Leonard & Larry, Calvin & Hobbes, The Sandman series, and Strangers in Paradise became safe places to hide when the world was too much. They also opened up other possible ways of seeing things and relating with people in important ways for me.

In more recent years I have enjoyed many of the comics which tackle mental health more explicitly in the form of memoirs: graphic novels like Fun Home, Marbles, and Lighter than my Shadow, and web comics like Hyperbole and a Half

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