This year 2020 has hit us. We have seen the seams to our political, social and health system. The most intimate miseries of the human species have come to light in a traumatic way. We were not prepared for a health crisis of such magnitude.
Now, good things have also happened, only on the cultural level we have that Emma Ríos has won an Eisner Prize for the cover of the third volume of Bella Muerta and Paco Roca has done it for La Casa . South Korean Parasites has become the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for best picture.
As a doctor, I think one of the good things this whole situation has had is that society is a little more aware of its own health. Perhaps we have managed to empower ourselves a little in the face of our own illness.
But, the year 2020 should also be remembered as the year in which the first Spanish publishing house dedicated exclusively to graphic medicine was born: SaludArte Ediciones . The publisher had to launch its first license on the market in April, but given the global situation that shook the entire publishing market, they had to wait until June to launch A Bad Doctor by Ian Williams .
Ian Wiliams is a Welsh doctor who lives in Brighton who coined the term graphic medicine ( graphic medicine ), and subsequently with the American nurse MK Czerwiec began this creative movement that was enriched with conferences and artistic, educational and outreach activities. In 2015, together with other authors, they published the comic-essay The Graphic Medicine Manifesto , an unpublished book in Spain at the moment, which would serve as a sample of the basic and common elements of this movement. The Spanish graphic medicine group, led by the doctor and translator Mónica Lalanda, added to this definition the concept of a communicative tool and expanded the graphic aspect to include infographics, leaving the definition as: "The use of comics or graphic novels, illustration and infographics as health communication tools."
A bad doctor invites us to meet Dr. Iwan James. Through his experiences as a primary care physician and the experiences of his patients, Iwan is able to show us the best and the worst side of medicine. When healthcare professionals and the system itself are capable of helping patients, but also when they fail. We will also meet Lois and Robert, two co-workers, Arthur a good friend of his with whom he shares a love for cycling, and Carole, his wife. Thanks to all this cast of secondary, we will delve into the demons of Dr. Iwan. Being a doctor does not make you immune to disease and his is the best example.
Dr. Iwan James suffers from a psychiatric illness over which, at this point in his life, he is beginning to lose control. A disease that we have all heard about many times in series and movies, even about which it is sometimes frivolized: obsessive compulsive disorder or, for its acronym, OCD. A disease that can be very limiting for people who suffer from it (as we will see through one of the patients), but which can also be relatively indolent (as we will see in Iwan). This approach from different spectra of severity in psychiatric illness is one of the great successes of A Bad Doctor, since in fiction there is a tendency to polarize these pathologies. Thus we will immerse ourselves in the reality of OCD, its obsessive and intrusive thoughts and compulsive rituals from Dr. James's childhood to adulthood.
A Bad Doctor is a bicolor white and gray comic. With a simple, but direct and clear line, Ian Williams portrays his characters, animals and environments in a realistic and non-cartoonish way. At the narrative level, the Welshman renounces sequential narration to propose a series of time jumps that allow us to better understand our protagonist. In addition, the patient “cases” that Dr. James will see in his practice are resolved over several visits, just like in real life. In this way, Williams realistically translates what a primary care consultation is and, at the same time, surprises us by turning some secondary ones into recurrent ones.
But what is it to be a good or a bad doctor? I don't know, but Dr. Iwan teaches us that being a person with a mental illness, with doubts and concerns, makes you a more empathetic doctor. Closer and more humane. Sometimes, Dr. Iwan (and his colleagues) make mistakes, and this is what a bad doctor shows us , but error is also human and does not make us worse professionals. In the end, being a good doctor is simply trying to be a good person.
If a bad doctor and graphic medicine in general have caught your attention, you are in luck since in recent months several titles have been published that would fall into this category. This October, from Bilbao and from the hand of Astiberri, we have received María Habla from the Argentine author Bef, who delves into the paternal-child relationship between Bef himself and his daughter with autism María; and The Two Lives of Penelope by Judith Vanistendael, which portrays the life of a surgeon who has just returned home from a humanitarian mission. Also, next month we will be able to read the expectedSomething strange happened to me on the way home from Miguel Gallardo which explains his experience with brain cancer among the covid pandemic. For its part, Norma Editorial will publish in December The incredible history of medicine by Jean-Noël Fabiani and Fhilippe Bercovici, which reviews the great milestones in the history of medicine.
Also about cancer, although this time about lung, he deals with Mom's cancer where Brian Fies explains how his mother's cancer lived. Comic for which he won the Eisner prize for the best digital comic in 2005 and which has just gone on sale in Spanish by SaludArte . We have already been able to read it and we find it a delight. In addition, some of the upcoming licenses of this publisher can already be consulted on its website , among them the series La Adoption made up of two volumes ( Quinaya and La Garúa ) by Zidrou stands out., one of the most important screenwriters in the last decade in the Franco-Belgian market and from which we have been able to read his works such as Shi , A Spirou adventure. The light of Borneo or Rosko .