MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, and Scott T. Smith. Graphic medicine manifesto. Penn State Press, 2015. 208p. 34 color/86 B&W Illustrations. ISBN 978-0-271-06649-3 $29.95

This inaugural compilation in Graphic Medicine brings together the early voices of this new area and offers articles that establish the principles of the field in an attempt to begin mapping it out. The text includes scholarly essays from a wide cohort, including newly published visual narratives. The text is broken into three deliberate sections: argument for the establishment of the field, engagement of the health profession, and the practice of creating graphic narratives. Included are an introduction to the authors and a conclusion offering a view of the current landscape, both in comic form. Importantly, the authors of the text, and subsequently their work, address both the United States and the United Kingdom – though this can prove confusing while using the text without careful consideration. Of particular interest are the two bibliographies included at the end of the text. One directs the reader to further scholarly work on comic studies (both broadly and on graphic medicine), while the other offers a guide to key comic texts. Readers may find that some of the essay’s in this volume are repetitive in their desire to justify the work of the scholars, but that is common to find in any newly established field. For those new to the idea of using comics in an academic or professional setting, this text also serves as a wonderful introduction to the art of incorporating visual imagery into scholarly text. As this is the first text of its kind, this text is a must have for any academic or health related collection and would be an appropriate addition for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students alike.

Summing up: Essential. Academic and Health collections. All readers.

While the CHOICE style review above is my preference for reviewing academic texts, it doesn’t offer a great deal of freedom for candid discussion. If you’d like to hear more thoughts about this – or any of my reviews – please don’t hesitate to ask, either in the comments or on Twitter @NoetheMatt.