Announcement and Call for Submissions for “Graphic RHM”
a new digital column for the journal Rhetoric of Health and Medicine
We invite your submissions for a new digital, open access journal column dedicated to the intersection of Graphic Medicine and the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM). Submissions will be peer reviewed unless by mutual agreement between the authors and editors, and comics published in the journal will be copyrighted by the University of Florida Press and by Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.
Submissions should consist of 1) an original comic and 2) an artist statement, which can accompany or be embedded in the comic (see below). We invite submissions from scholars at all levels of experience with comic-making—including beginners—and therefore comics need not be polished or drawn/created as a trained artist might create them. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary submissions and submissions of comics related to projects still in development are very welcome. We also encourage authors to consider multimodal comics (e.g., including audio).
The original comic should be a somewhat short sequence (in most cases no more than 3 pages or 9 panels), though it could be an excerpt of a longer comic (possibly published in the column as part of a series). It could be at any stage of development (including thumbnail sketches, storyboards) and could even be a set of multiple related, shorter comics (e.g., about the same experience).
The artist statement could provide a brief explanation of the comic’s exigency, creation process, and/or context, along with its implications for RHM. It can be separate or embedded in the comic and can be in written, audio, and/or comic form (see examples of the latter by Al-Jawad and by Weaver-Hightower. Any written portion of the artist statement should be no longer than 1500 words.
To aid accessibility, submitted comics should include alt text, and any audio components should include a transcript. The column co-editors will also include information about where to find technologies and applications that can “translate” comics into tactile ideograms or read comics interactively. We also welcome other ideas for making published content more accessible.
The column co-editors may sometimes issue more specific calls for types of comic submissions, including those that will allow the column to align with special issues of the journals and to experiment with developing comic versions of concepts, methods, or arguments developed in published rhetoric of health and medicine scholarship. In general, however, submissions can focus on any number of uses for RHM comics, including but not limited to the following:
- testimonials of health/medical experiences
- commentary on historical or contemporary health or medical issues
- health or patient advocacy-oriented comics
- patient or provider education comics
- public health or public health policy comics
- comics about teaching tools, heuristics, or assignments
- representations of ethical concerns or conundrums
- “translational” comics that make rhetorical/RHM work more visible and accessible to other specialized audiences or wider publics
- representations of research findings or write-ups
- comics that represent or explore methodological tools, including
- forms of data collection
- forms of data visualization and/or analysis
- representations of methodological concepts
If you have ideas for other possibilities that we can promote, please let us know!
All submissions should contribute to at least one of the following three major purposes for the column: 1) Conveying and considering issues about research methodology (including its affective and sensory dimensions) in novel ways; 2) Developing examples of teaching tools and texts; and/or 3) Generating more interest and work at the intersection of RHM and graphic medicine, thereby extending our field’s trans/interdisciplinary reach and enriching our practices.
Informed by responses to a survey designed to gauge interests in RHM work involving comics (https://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5myopspcg4mzsge), the column co-editors will coordinate two exploratory online workshops (accompanied by a website with videos, bibliography, links to digital comics, and other resources) this Fall (toward the end of September and October). For beginners and experienced comic artists alike, these workshops will be designed to help participants imagine the roles of comics in their scholarship and teaching and practice developing different types of submissions for the column. We also encourage interested colleagues to apply for the 2022 RSA Summer Institute Seminar on Graphic Medicine and the Rhetorics of Health.
Folks just getting started with comics may want to check out the work of Lynda Barry (e.g., Making Comics), Allie Brosh (e.g., Solutions and Other Problems), Ivan Brunetti (e.g., Cartooning), and Scott McCloud (e.g., Making Comics). For an introduction to the movement of Graphic Medicine (and examples of comics about health and medicine), see the websites of the Graphic Medicine International Collective, National Library of Medicine’s Graphic Medicine exhibition, Annals (of Internal Medicine) Graphic Medicine, the AMA Journal of Ethics special issue on Graphic Medicine and Health Care Ethics. See also RHM scholar Jenell Johnson’s Graphic Reproduction: A Comics Anthology.
We plan to begin publishing accepted column content by January 2023. Submissions and queries should be sent to co-editors Catherine Gouge and Blake Scott at GraphicRHM@gmail.com.
Finally, we note that, outside of this column, the journal Rhetoric of Health & Medicine also welcomes research articles and other types of “regular” submissions that engage or include comics.