Comics and Storytelling: Brainstorming for Narratively Submission

{Fun Fact No. 2: Comics in the 1950s were the video games of today. Panic was incited in parents with the idea that comics inspired violence and were harmful for kids. This panic lead to the policing of comics via the Comic Code Authority}

It is no secret that I love comics and graphic novels. Any chance I get to mix and mesh medias together, I am going to take it and run with it. I love creating and experimenting with multimodal works and experiencing other’s multimodal works of various forms and genres.

Unlike many comic fans, I can not say that I grew up reading comics because I didn’t. I didn’t become interested in comics until I was going into my 20s and then I found out how much I love them and the way they can be used for storytelling.

My class is still working with Narratively and of course I gravitated towards their comic section (in fact, I was delighted to learn that there was a comic section). While in this section, several comics jumped out at me with their interesting titles and blurbs and I read them all. One however stayed with me for its ability to talk about a difficult subject with wonderful compassion and just the amount of feeling packed into a few words and pictures.

I really encourage you to go check it out, regardless of your stance on abortions, this is a beautiful take on the work and experiences of a doula, in this case an abortion doula, though you can have one for labor or postpartum. The American Pregnancy Association says,

A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth.

I just really like this comic and the way it is so considerate to the different emotions woman who go through this process. Plus the simple doodle type artwork is inspires me and gives me confidence that I can make my own comic series.

Which is one thing I am considering for my Narratively submission piece. I have a topic picked out and would love to make a comic (or maybe a comic series) with it.

My topic will also work with the object focus that we studied in specific Narratively pieces so that is exciting.

What I am thinking right now is writing a piece about life with PCOS. I need to think of a creative title like:

Dreading Periods Until They Stop Coming: A Story of Living with PCOS

Tampons, Always Needed and Always Collecting Dust 

And for subtitles things like:

When Your Body Makes You Feel Like a Failure

Chatting with Trans Guys Made Helped Me Understand and Accept My Body

I feel like “Tampons, Always Needed and Always Collecting Dust” may be giving to much of the story away but it may help draw in readers. That is if I write a story instead of make a comic. I think maybe writing the story out and then making a comic will probably give me something more cohesive.

For this story/possible comic I want to focus on tampons and their impact on me through my life.

one copy.jpg

Welcome Banner by Maegan Hendricks

From the weird things put in a bathroom cabinet by my dad for when I got ready, and the mishaps of looking at the baaadddd instructions on the box and trying to figure out how to use them with no woman present to ask.

Summers of freedom and swimming in the lake because I used tampons instead of pads so I didn’t have to sit at home for a week and my mom’s reaction when she found out I was using them and freaked out that I was no longer, “a virgin”.

Being a teen and refusing to put them in a drawer in the bathroom like I was ashamed to using less and less because I was on a certain birth control.

Being 19 and having my periods become lighter and lighter until they just stop coming.

Tampon boxes collecting dust, unopened and unused. Hormone treatment and going through two boxes in a week. The boxes gathering dust again.

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11 thoughts on “Comics and Storytelling: Brainstorming for Narratively Submission

  1. I would love to see what you do with this as a comic. I went through something similar to this a little later in life, and I think it needs a voice. When your body doesn’t work as expected everyone assumes you have a “real disease.” I am not sure what that means, but when this type of thing happens to you, it is very real. Since I know your voice as a writer, I am sure this topic will impact the reader even if it wasn’t a comic. Go for it!

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    • Thanks Judith. Reproductive issues are rarely talked about, even menopause, which is inevitable for everyone woman at some point. When I started experiencing how much my hormones could change me, I felt lost and no one was talking about it. I want to change that.
      Thanks for reading and happy writing!

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  2. Hi, Maegan, Humor is a great way to bring attention to serious issues, using “serious” in both the medical/biological sense and in terms of how we are impacted personally. You’ve got a great start; already, you’ve tweaked my curiosity and pulled me in. I look forward to reading the twists and turns that eventually end at your destination! By the way, my mother used an old-fashioned word for menstruation: “the curse.”

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    • I can honestly say this is the first time I have heard of menstruation called ‘The curse’. My mother refers to it as, “on the rag”. Super classy ;)!
      Thanks for reading and happy writing!

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      • I remember it being referred to as “the curse.” I wonder if that language comes from the biblical idea that Eve was “cursed” with pain in childbirth because of her apple snafu.

        You’re right that writing out what you would like to illustrate will help you to organize and draw the piece. You won’t want to start drawing only to realize that you missed something and have to go back and redraw an entire panel or series.

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  3. I love the idea of taking something very very personal and turning it into something lighter and humorous- like a comic. You always had really great multimodal projects in Dr. Martin’s class as well, so I have no doubt you can pull this off. I like the “Tampons, Always Needed, Always Collecting Dust” title, and the “Talking with trans guys helped me understand and accept my body.” That combination of teasers is intriguing, and I think this is a topic that could use a voice like yours. I absolutely can’t wait to read this!
    Keep up the good work and keep writing.

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    • Hey AJ,
      I don’t know how humorous I want to be for this piece, but one thing I love about comics that you bring up is they have an amazing way of exposing harsh truths in a lighter way. Thanks for the vote of confidence and for your thoughts on titles and subtitles, I liked both of those two a lot.
      Thanks for reading and happy writing!

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  4. Hi, Meagan, I agree with prior comments about shedding humor on a little more serious matter. I think that would be effective because for some it would make the truth a little easier to read, while also showing others that it’s okay to talk about these kinds of things. Because that’s how we figure them out and find solutions to dealing with them. And I can relate to this piece because I too had issues with birth control and what it has done to my body. Your piece is already empowering to women and the transgender community. I can’t wait to read the complete version and experience those visuals in the comic you create. 🙂

    Also, I am not familiar with PCOS. I was wondering instead of me having to open up another tab to search for it, if you could give us a little insight as to what it is.

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    • Thanks Eva, PCOS is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which is a pretty common hormone disorder. It isn’t curable but treatment can make it manageable, which I plan on going into briefly with my piece.
      Thanks for reading and happy writing!

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  5. Meagan, have you had any classes with Heather Tolliver? She is doing her master’s thesis on comics and feminism (and some other things) in various ages of comic books. If you don’t know her, you should find her and get in touch.

    I also teach the Graphic Nonfiction course in the department. Maybe I can pick up that course and teach it again before you graduate. We study McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” and then apply his concepts to a range of graphic nonfiction. The first year, we studied “Hyperbole and a Half” (the blog and the book), and we’ve done Marbles, the March Series, A.D. (after the flood), and El Deafo. Those comic nonfiction works all deal with dark and devastating issues and bring them to light through illustration.

    I agree with your classmates that this idea would be such a work.

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    • I think we may have had a couple of online classes for Karen. I would love to take a graphic nonfiction class so I will be keeping my eye out. I have read a few chapters of McCloud for Londie’s Digital Narrative class and loved how he did the entire book as a comic. Thanks for the input and advice.

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