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 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.
About the Author
Jenell Johnson is Mellon-Morgridge Professor of the Humanities and Associate Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History.
Table of Contents
Introduction (Jenell Johnson)
1. Abortion Eve (Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevli)
2. Excerpt from Not Funny Ha-Ha (Leah Hayes)
3. Excerpts from Spooky Womb and X Utero (Paula Knight)
4. Present / Perfect (Jenell Johnson)
5. A Significant Loss: The Story of My Miscarriage (Endrené Shepherd)
6. “Losing Thomas and Ella: A Father’s Story” (Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower)
7. Excerpt from Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag (A. K. Summers)
8. Excerpt from Pushing Back: A Home Birth Story (Bethany Doane)
9. Overwhelmed, Anxious, and Angry: Navigating Postpartum Depression (Ryan Alexander-Tanner and Jessica Zucker)
10. “Anatomy of a New Mom” (Carol Tyler)
11. Excerpt from Spawn of Dykes to Watch Out For (Alison Bechdel)
Afterword (Susan Merrill Squier)
Classroom Exercises (KC Councilor and Jenell Johnson)
List of Contributors