Graphic Reproduction, a Comics Anthology from Penn State University Press
Penn State University Press has announced the release of Graphic Reproduction. This comics anthology delves deeply into the messy and often taboo subject of human reproduction. Featuring work by luminaries such as Carol Tyler, Alison Bechdel, and Joyce Farmer, Graphic Reproduction is an illustrated challenge to dominant cultural narratives about conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. The anthology is edited by Jenell Johnson with an afterword by Susan Merrill Squier.
The comics here expose the contradictions, complexities, and confluences around diverse individual experiences of the entire reproductive process, from trying to conceive to child loss and childbirth. Jenell Johnson’s introduction situates comics about reproduction within the growing field of graphic medicine and reveals how they provide a discursive forum in which concepts can be explored and presented as uncertainties rather than as part of a prescribed or expected narrative. Through comics such as Lyn Chevley’s groundbreaking “Abortion Eve,” Bethany Doane’s “Pushing Back: A Home Birth Story,” Leah Hayes’s “Not Funny Ha-Ha,” and “Losing Thomas & Ella: A Father’s Story,” by Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower, the collection explores a myriad of reproductive experiences and perspectives. The result is a provocative, multifaceted portrait of one of the most basic and complicated of all human experiences, one that can be hilarious and heartbreaking.
Featuring work by well-known comics artists as well as exciting new voices, this incisive collection is an important and timely resource for understanding how reproduction intersects with sociocultural issues. The afterword and a section of discussion exercises and questions make it a perfect teaching tool.