17 Traumics and Graphic Medicine narratives by Chulalongkorn University students (2021-22)

How do we communicate the unutterable?

When abandoned by words, muted or silenced, Comics Art allows for different strategies to represent -or allude to- ‘invisible/invisibilized’ inner wounds, health and mental issues. These -usually overlapping- meaning-making strategies include, but are not limited to, the narrative use of colors, art/line style, textures and techniques (pencils, ballpoint pen, digital paint…), graphic embodiment of the characters, space-time interplay (space as time; contiguity of various moments/spaces/panels), braiding of visual motifs and visual metaphors, panels’ sizes and shapes, page composition (segmentation, layout, negative space…), text spatialization, speech balloons’ shapes and lettering, multi-modality (text-image dynamic; anchorage/relay, intertextuality), abstraction or suggestion (closure, gap between the panels). More on ‘the interaction between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare’, and the representation of (psychic) trauma, can be found on the website Graphic Medicine, and books such as Documenting Trauma in Comics: Traumatic Pasts, Embodied Histories, and Graphic Reportage (Palgrave Macmillan), Hillary L. Chute’s Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form (Harvard University Press), Harriet E. H. Earle’s Comics, Trauma and the New Art of War (University Press of Mississippi) and Eszter Szép’s Comics and the Body: Drawing, Reading, and Vulnerability (The Ohio State University Press) among many other publications.

Harriet E. H. ‘Earle suggests that comics are the ideal artistic representation of trauma. Because comics bridge the gap between the visual and the written, they represent such complicated narratives as loss and trauma in unique ways, particularly through the manipulation of time and experience. Comics can fold time and confront traumatic events, be they personal or shared, through a myriad of both literary and visual devices. As a result, comics can represent trauma in ways that are unavailable to other narrative and artistic forms.’

On Harriet E. H. Earle’s Comics, Trauma and the New Art of War (University Press of Mississippi)

The following 17 ‘Traumics’ (comics on trauma) or Graphic Medicine narratives were produced by Thai or exchange students from various faculties (Psychology, Architectural Design, Language and Culture, Communication Design, Communication Arts, Engineering) at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, during the Covid-lockdowns in 2021 and 2022 as the final creative projects of two of my courses: Imaginative Media, a comparative course on the representation of Refugee Narratives and Psychic Trauma in various media (literature, comics, movies, tv series, dance/choreographies, paintings…), and Visual Media Studies, a ‘General Education’ course mostly dedicated to the study of Graphic Narratives and Comics Art. Both courses include the study of Psychic Trauma and its representations through a series of lessons based on the seminal works of psychiatrists François Lebigot, Louis Crocq and Sándor Ferenczi, and on my conferences on Comics as a Language of Symptoms of Psychic Trauma. All students were made aware of the challenging nature and content of the courses on the first lesson (and could choose to drop the course, or skip the triggering content/lessons); they were free to select their graphic narrative’s topic, but it had to be related to psychic trauma or any other mental/health issues, and to change their topic at any point, if the ‘graphic’ composition felt too challenging. Some stories are based on personal experiences, other are based on research by the students. In preparation of the composition of their graphic narratives, we’ve analysed pages from a dozen trauma-related short comics or graphic novels from the US, Canada, Taiwan, Vietnam, Belgium or France. Along the semester, students worked on various (constrained/experimental) comics composition assignments. During the last weeks of the semester, individual consulting sessions with yours truly were held, one to discuss the first layout and a second to improve some elements of the advanced draft of their comics. Most of the students had no prior art/comics training, and the following stories are usually their very first comics narratives. Most stories reveal the crushing weight of social pressure/conformity in Thailand (and Asia), and that -if comics studies were rightfully considered and fully integrated in the university curriculum- students would be able to produce many more sophisticated and meaningful graphic narratives on social issues and as a means of self-expression and of mindful communication.

My deepest thanks to all my students as they were always fully dedicated to the ‘unconventional’ content of my courses and to the comics assignments they were given. More comics have been produced during these two courses, but some were either redundant with the stories presented here or need some additional editing before publication. More graphic narratives should be published online soon.

These ‘graphic’ narratives contain depictions of domestic violence, sexual abuse and harassment, child abuse, self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, body shaming, [cyber-] bullying, disasters/mass shootings, discrimination, nudity, offensive language, and more…

Reproduced with permission. All rights remain to the authors/artists.


Traumics by Thai student Mint (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Two-pager comics.
Traumics by Thai student Mint (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 1/2
Traumics by Thai student Mint (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 2/2

Traumics on the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster which took the lives of 250 South Korean students, by Thai students Nattakit Pisitsup [Search] and Panupatr Limprasert [James] (Information and Communication Engineering, ICE; International School of Engineering, ISE). Pages 1 and 2 out of 4
Traumics on the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster which took the lives of 250 South Korean students, by Thai students Nattakit Pisitsup [Search] and Panupatr Limprasert [James] (Information and Communication Engineering, ICE; International School of Engineering, ISE). Pages 3 and 4 out of 4

Traumics by Thai student Khim Kanlayakon (CommDe). Page 1/2
Traumics by Thai student Khim Kanlayakon (CommDe). Page 2/2

Comics by Japanese exchange student Eirin. Page 1/2
Comics by Japanese exchange student Eirin. Page 2/2

Traumics by Thai student Torfun (BALAC; Language and Culture). Two-pager comics.
Traumics by Thai student Torfun (BALAC; Language and Culture). Page 1/2
Traumics by Thai student Torfun (BALAC; Language and Culture). Page 2/2

Graphic medicine narrative on polycystic ovary syndrome, by Thai student Nawara Pongsri [Klai] (BALAC; Language and Culture). Page 1/3 
Graphic medicine narrative on polycystic ovary syndrome, by Thai student Nawara Pongsri [Klai] (BALAC; Language and Culture). Page 2/3 
Graphic medicine narrative on polycystic ovary syndrome, by Thai student Nawara Pongsri [Klai] (BALAC; Language and Culture). Page 3/3 

Traumics by Mooksuda Chingnawan [Mook], Papichaya Indhavivadhana [Book]
Anchisa Asvahem [Ploy] (CommDe). Page 1/3
Traumics by Mooksuda Chingnawan [Mook], Papichaya Indhavivadhana [Book]
Anchisa Asvahem [Ploy] (CommDe). Page 2/3
Traumics by Mooksuda Chingnawan [Mook], Papichaya Indhavivadhana [Book]
Anchisa Asvahem [Ploy] (CommDe). Page 3/3

Traumics inspired by the Victoria Hall disaster (UK, 1883) by Thai student Chawin Sungkhapong [Tan] (International School of Engineering; ISE). Page 1/2
Traumics inspired by the Victoria Hall disaster (UK, 1883) by Thai student Chawin Sungkhapong [Tan] (International School of Engineering; ISE). Page 2/2

Traumics by Vietnamese exchange student Trang Pham (CommArts). Page 1/2
Traumics by Vietnamese exchange student Trang Pham (CommArts). Page 2/2

Comics, inspired by a personal experience, by Thai student Leila (Information and Communication Engineering, ICE; International School of Engineering, ISE). Two-pager.
Comics, inspired by a personal experience, by Thai student Leila (Information and Communication Engineering, ICE; International School of Engineering, ISE). Page 1/2
Comics, inspired by a personal experience, by Thai student Leila (Information and Communication Engineering, ICE; International School of Engineering, ISE). Page 2/2

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Traumics on sexual abuse by Thai students Anna, Prim, Neng and Gene (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 1/4

Traumics by Thai students Ant, Boss, Daniel, Nuno and Man (CommArts). Page 1/4
Traumics by Thai students Ant, Boss, Daniel, Nuno and Man (CommArts). Page 2/4
Traumics by Thai students Ant, Boss, Daniel, Nuno and Man (CommArts). Page 3/4
Traumics by Thai students Ant, Boss, Daniel, Nuno and Man (CommArts). Page 4/4

Graphic Medicine comics by Thai students Kat, Gift, Anna, Gun, Pleng and Pompam (CommArts). Page 1/4
Graphic Medicine comics by Thai students Kat, Gift, Anna, Gun, Pleng and Pompam (CommArts). Page 2/4
Graphic Medicine comics by Thai students Kat, Gift, Anna, Gun, Pleng and Pompam (CommArts). Page 3/4
Graphic Medicine comics by Thai students Kat, Gift, Anna, Gun, Pleng and Pompam (CommArts). Page 4/4

Traumics by Thai students Nana, Weal, Chacha, May, First and Care (CommArts). Page 1/4
Traumics by Thai students Nana, Weal, Chacha, May, First and Care (CommArts). Page 2/4
Traumics by Thai students Nana, Weal, Chacha, May, First and Care (CommArts). Page 3/4
Traumics by Thai students Nana, Weal, Chacha, May, First and Care (CommArts). Page 4/4

Traumics by -anonymous- Thai students (CommArts). Page 1/4
Traumics by -anonymous- Thai students (CommArts). Page 2/4
Traumics by -anonymous- Thai students (CommArts). Page 3/4
Traumics by -anonymous- Thai students (CommArts). Page 4/4

Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 1/6
Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 2/6
Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 3/6
Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 4/6
Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 5/6
Comics by Thai student Wasita Uancharoenkul [Fune] (INDA, Faculty of Architecture). Page 6/6

Comics by Thai students Panpornpach Musika [Pach] and Supharada Hirantrakul [Bambam] (JIPP, Faculty of Psychology), and Darapon Chaibal [Manao] (Faculty of Architecture). Page 1/5
Comics by Thai students Panpornpach Musika [Pach] and Supharada Hirantrakul [Bambam] (JIPP, Faculty of Psychology), and Darapon Chaibal [Manao] (Faculty of Architecture). Page 2/5
Comics by Thai students Panpornpach Musika [Pach] and Supharada Hirantrakul [Bambam] (JIPP, Faculty of Psychology), and Darapon Chaibal [Manao] (Faculty of Architecture). Page 3/5
Comics by Thai students Panpornpach Musika [Pach] and Supharada Hirantrakul [Bambam] (JIPP, Faculty of Psychology), and Darapon Chaibal [Manao] (Faculty of Architecture). Page 4/5
Comics by Thai students Panpornpach Musika [Pach] and Supharada Hirantrakul [Bambam] (JIPP, Faculty of Psychology), and Darapon Chaibal [Manao] (Faculty of Architecture). Page 5/5

Four Creative Workshops (2022)

During the second semester of the 2021-22 academic year, we welcomed spearheading Thai artists Peeraphat Kittisuwat, Faan Peeti, Superfah Jellyfish and Isaree Pipatpongsa who held workshops in three different courses, with the goal of introducing our Inter CommArts Thai and exchange students to new graphic and narrative techniques in order to develop their visual literacy & composition skills in preparation of their final creative projects.


A) “TRANSITION WORKSHOP” with Thai designer & cartoonist PEERAPHAT KITTISUWAT

February 22, 2022. First on-site guest lecture/workshop in 2 years! The Inter CommArts students of my Creative Writing (Section 11: Experimental Comics) course welcomed Thai designer and cartoonist khun Peeraphat Kittisuwat, founder of P. Library Design Studio. After introducing us to his different works (in experimental and live-drawing animation, mural painting, book design of The Art of Thai Comics…) related to his stunning cutout & double-sided non-linear comics leporello in-between, khun Peeraphat invited our students to play with his book’s print proofs to compose new looped graphic narratives by cutting/pasting/rearranging sequences with new “twists”. The 11 students presented their narratives at the end of the workshop, getting comments and feedbacks from our guest. PS: it felt good to get back to a communal creative experience with the students (while respecting all Covid safety measures).


Some works by guest artist Peeraphat Kittisuwat:


Students at work during Peeraphat Kittisuwat’s workshop:


Students’ presentations in front of the classroom, and some graphic narratives produced during the workshop:


B-C) “SHAPE & TEXTURE DOUBLE WORKSHOP” with Thai illustrators FAAN PEETI and SUPERFAH JELLYFISH

March 07, 2022. The Inter CommArts students of my Creative Writing (Section 10: Non-Fiction Graphic Narratives) course welcomed Thai artists Faan Peeti (book illustrator and cartoonist who explored creative panel layouts in her Manustrip series for a day magazine) and Superfah Jellyfish (painter, tattoo artist, and author of challenging old-school zines such as Having Sex First Time and The Intimates). They held two creative workshops exploring the symbolic use of comics panels/borders and body positivity through acrylic painting with markers. These were wonderful and inspiring midterm workshops meant to prepare the students for their final creative project. [All safety measures were respected with mandatory masks, hand-washing, and ATK tests before the lesson for all participants].

Our students with guest artists Faan Peeti & Superfah Jellyfish, and yours truly.

A short introduction, by yours truly, on creative uses of comics panels preceded Faan Peeti’s workshop.


Some works by guest artist Faan Peeti:

Opening of Faan Peeti’s first solo exhibition “Yindee’s Mysterious Friends” at River City, 2022.

Some works by guest artist Superfah Jellyfish:


Pictures from Faan Peeti’s talk and workshop on the creative use of comics panels/borders. Students were then asked to compose an autobiographical or autofictional comics page playing with the symbolism of comics panels/borders.


Pictures from Superfah Jellyfish’s talk and workshop on the creative use of acrylic painting and black markers to address body positivity.


D) “SHŌJO MANGA & RAPE CULTURE” TALK & WORKSHOP with Thai illustrator ISAREE PIPATPONGSA

March 29, 2022. Fourth and final guest lecture/workshop for the semester. The Inter CommArts students of my Imaginative Communication course welcomed Thai artist Isaree Pipatpongsa (Izary P. Pipat). Khun Isaree talked about her thesis Rape culture awareness campaign through the female perspectives and Shojo Manga influences (School of Fine and Applied Arts, Bangkok University), with an introduction to the history of Shōjo Manga, her take on the genre to address the issue of Rape Culture in Thailand, her thesis process and design concepts, and a presentation of the resulting [and stunning] A1 comics digital prints, animation and journey kit. The students then participated in a workshop, revisiting Shōjo Manga pages with various techniques (drawing, tracing paper layers, screentones, diplopia effect, collage…) to reveal insidious aspects of the Rape Culture. It was a fascinating talk and highly meaningful and creative workshop! [All safety measures were respected with mandatory masks, hand-washing, and ATK tests before the lesson for all participants].


Pictures from Isaree Pipatpongsa’s talk, with an introduction to the history of Shōjo Manga, her take on the genre to address the issue of Rape Culture in Thailand, her thesis process and design concepts.


The students got the opportunity to take a close look at Isaree Pipatpongsa’s stunning A1 comics digital prints and thesis journey kit.


Students were provided with relevant manga pages, and their tracing paper versions as well as screentone sheets. Applying various techniques (drawing, tracing paper layers, screentones, diplopia effect, collage, black-out poetry…), they composed new pages addressing the Rape Culture issue and the victim’s traumatic experience. Here are some pictures of the workshop, with guidance by Isaree Pipatpongsa, and of the class presentations and the resulting graphic narratives.

Our students with guest artist Isaree Pipatpongsa.

 My warmest thanks to khun Peeraphat Kittisuwat, khun Faan Peeti, khun Superfah Jellyfish and khun Isaree Pipatpongsa for these wonderful talks and workshops!

Refugee Narratives: 10 Pantomime Performance Videos

One of the main creative assignments of the “Imaginative Communication” course [a Comparative Media course in which we explore the theme “How to Tell the Unutterable” by analyzing and comparing the depiction of Psychic Trauma in various visual media, from comics to animated & live-action movies, tv series or choreographies] is for the students to compose and produce a group performance based on refugee narratives. After visualizing refugees’ journeys graphically [see previous assignment “Refugee’s Grid and Gestures“], watching some related footages [Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 The Immigrant, Wilfredo Rivera’s immigration choreography The Golden Bird Cage, or PositiveNegatives’ animated zoom-comics North Star Fading], reading/watching comics and webcomics [Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, Marc Ellison and Didier Kassai’s immersive graphic novel House Without Windows, or our former students’ refugee comics dice], discovering refugee installations [architect Mohamad Hafez’s multi-media installation Unpacked] and analyzing and comparing Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel and animated feature Persepolis, students were asked to compose a live pantomime performance of 3′ to 5′ [depending on the number of team members]. The constraint was that their refugee characters had to remain silent, voiceless, muted by the trauma, unable to speak the language of their ‘host’ country, or fearing to speak their own language and have their illegal/foreign status revealed.

Unpacked
Unpacked multi-media installation by Syrian-born architect Mohamad Hafez.
The Arrival Shaun Tan
Page from the wordless comics The Arrival (2006) by Shaun Tan

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and while productions were well underway, performances couldn’t be presented live anymore for obvious safety reasons. Early March, students were asked to film and edit their performances as video footages so that their works could be screened online. On Wednesday March 26 in a virtual classroom, our 40 students introduced and displayed their video performances which were evaluated and commented by songwriter, performer and former [Performing Arts] CommArts student, Namtarn Jinwara (KhopKhunKhrap!) and yours truly.

I am really proud of these works, sometimes created under unexpected COVID-related logistic constraints. The brave team of exchange students -while scattered throughout the world to reach safely their native countries- managed to create an imaginative piece on their way home or while held in quarantine facilities… Below, you can discover film stills from the students’ projects, but also some of the actual performance videos. Here are the numerous choreographies, but also some creative short drama films, which sadly -and timely- echo the ongoing and future displacements of refugees caused by Climate Change, COVID-19 and other crises. Ajarn Nicolas Verstappen


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Film still from the refugee performance video Hope of Dawn by students Pim, Pranang and Milk [with performers from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University]. A journey from Syria (contemporary dance) to Germany (ballet).
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Film still from the refugee performance video Hope of Dawn by students Pim, Pranang and Milk [with performers from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University]. A journey from Syria (contemporary dance) to Germany (ballet).


Film still from the refugee performance video by students Paar, Palmmy and Tukta
Click on pic to launch video.

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Film still from the refugee performance video Disconnected by students Ben, Eve, Frongki, Pecky and Plai


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Film still from the refugee performance video Lost Boy by students Gam, Ink and Por [with perfomer Cathrin Ballmer]

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Film still from the refugee performance video by students Beam, Eye, Jean and Rika
Click on pic to launch video.

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Film still from the refugee performance video Life of a Little Refugee by students Bee, Fay, France, May and Mine


 
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Film still from the refugee performance video by students Earth, June, Lily, Praew and Prim
Click on pic to launch video.

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Film still from the refugee performance video by students Boat [perfomer], Jinny, Pop and Smile
Click on pic to launch video.

Z 06
Film still from the refugee performance video by exchange students Alexandra, Meg, Núria and Pure
Click on pic to launch video.

ZZ 07
Film still from the refugee performance video by students Ellie, Ice [performer], Nam, Nanz and Pin
Z 07
Film still from the refugee performance video by students Ellie, Ice [performer], Nam, Nanz and Pin
Click on pic to launch video.

ZZ 09b
Film still from the refugee performance video by students Paar, Palmmy and Tukta
 
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Film still from the refugee performance video by students Paar, Palmmy and Tukta

FURTHER COMMENTS

Namtarn’s comments and mine were usually revolving on issues of clarity and meaning. Some performances could have been made more engaging and relatable through the narrative and recurring use of simple objects [as in the Dardenne brothers’ films] or indentifiable gestures developed as motifs. Another point was the lack of “feeling of space” which might be a crucial element in refugee narratives (belonging, borders, in-between…). Most performers move through wide empty rooms and one reason is, of course, related to COVID-19 constraints: most teams couldn’t find a safe, fitting and available location for the shooting. Yet, as we discussed during the session, there were some simple options. I mentioned the German Expressionist films‘ painted set designs which could be emulated with some black and white paints on cardboards.

   Another reference provided was the set design of Lars von Trier’s 2003 feature film Dogville. Bold white lines on the floor may end up being quite effective.

Questions were also raised about production as I felt some works were slighlty too slick, sometimes missing the roughness of the refugee experience. On the other hand, some students were concerned that the quality of their videos had been impaired by production problems caused by the COVID crisis. I mentioned that improvisation and DIY approaches actually benefited the production; and I mentioned the DIY aesthetic of French director Michel Gondry on numerous music videos and movies, and mostly his lesser-known 2008 Be Kind Rewind feature film. Some excerpts were screened: The Chemical Brothers’ Let Forever Be MV, The White Stripes’ The Hardest Button to Button MV,  Massive Attack’s Protection MV or Björk’s classic Bachelorette MV.  

As a conclusion, I mentioned that all performance videos had a grim and dark tone and that other approaches were possible. Thinking about a Martin Parr aesthetic, I mentioned Dario Fau’s colorful and caustic music video Dégueulasse by Caballero and JeanJass. But all in all, I’m a #ProudAjarn, as I was so impressed by the involvement and dedication of my students on this meaningful project in a time where the fate of refugees is even more thrown into jeopardy, and invisibilized in the main news outlets. Ajarn Nicolas Verstappen 


END CREDIT
I’m feeling relieved you didn’t state the opposite. ;^) Love you too! Stay safe!

“Nailed”, a Silent Graphic Narrative by a Student of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“Nailed” is a silent graphic narrative by Thai student Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016. In response to a video (see below) where a young child is the victim of a cruel joke perpetrated by adults, her comics captures how the child’s inner world is shattered by the traumatic psychological abuse and how it will affect his late life.

 

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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“The Wave”, a Graphic Narrative by Students of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“The Wave” is a graphic narrative (on the themes of psychological fright, phobia and school bullying) by Thai students Jinwara (Sugar) and Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

A clever use of potentialities and features of the comics form (layout, composition, design, text/image relationship, iconic solidarity, iconic iteration…) to serve the content.

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Reproduced with the authors’ permission. All rights remain to the authors.

“Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night” (first version) by Debbie Drechsler, USA, 1992


Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night (first version) by Debbie Drechsler (USA), in: Drawn & Quarterly (Anthology) Vol.1, #10, Drawn & Quarterly, CAN, 1992. The author’s first name “Debbie” was changed into “Lily” in the Daddy’s Girl collection (Fantagraphics Books, USA).  More on the topic in our interview with Debbie Drechsler.

“Visitors in the Night” – or “Daddy’s Girl” as the book was eventually called – is a masterpiece of horror. And it’s all the more horrifying because it is true, and because the actions depicted, the innocence-killing, soul-destroying actions, are happening right now, everyday, all around the world. (Richard Sala, in XeroXed #4, July 2004)

Contains scenes of a sexual nature. Viewer discretion advised.

Copyright ©1992 Debbie Drechsler

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“YVES – My Life as a Refugee”, a Graphic Narrative by Chalit & June (April 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘War Trauma’ and/or ‘War Refugees’) by Thai students Chalit Ratapana (Faculty of Communication Arts; adaptation/script) and June (Pareploy Maneerut; Faculty of Political Science; art) – based on the true story of Yves -a Congolese refugee who survived ethnic cleansing- (Sanctuary Australia Foundation) – as an assignment for my Imaginative Communication course (2800217), April 2016.

Update: The Sanctuary Australia Foundation, which offered a safe haven to Yves, has decided to publish the 4-page comics alongside Yves’ original testimony. I guess the Foundation saw -as I did- how Chalit and June were able to capture and to express -skillfully, with power and sensitivity- the plight of an individual and how, at the same time, they grasped and shared the tragic fate experienced by too many. Crossing the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, Belgium and Thailand, crossing comics panel borders, so many boundaries were physically and symbolically overcome… I’m proud of you Chalit & June and I hope your graphic narrative will participate in “engaging audiences in conflicts and displacement crises that seem remote (…), especially when there appear to be no means of relating to the people in the stories” (to quote PositiveNegatives founder Benjamin Dix, see Comic as Art, Education and Advocacy). Thank you Chalit, June and Mark Hallam (from the Sanctuary Australia Foundation). And thank you, Yves, for your painful yet indispensable testimony. Best regards. Nicolas V.

Yves Sanctuary
Screenshot of the Sanctuary Australia Foundation webpage with Chalit & June’s graphic narrative alongside Yves’s original testimony.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”. Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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“Barnyard Animals” by Craig Thompson, USA, 2002


Barnyard Animals by Craig Thompson (USA), in: Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings (anthology), Dark Horse, USA, September 2002.

Dear students, the anthology Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings is available @ Kinokuniya bookstores.

Copyright ©2002 Craig Thompson

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More on the topic in my paper Muted and Mutated: Animal-headed characters in autobiographic trauma-related comic books in: Asylum, the magazine for democratic psychiatry: Comics & Mental Health Part 4, Winter 2015, Vol.22/4, Monmouth (UK).

“Horrors of War”, a Graphic Narrative by CommArts Students (March 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘War Trauma’ and/or ‘War Refugees’) by students Lukkaew, Mint, Prim, Korn & Ice for the IMGT COMM course (2800217).

Update: a short but precious FB comment (April 2, 2016) on Horrors of War by V for Vendetta co-creator & artist David Lloyd: “That’s great storytelling!”

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

For a first attempt on the medium, they make a clever use of potentialities and features of the comics form (composition, design, text/image balance, layout, iconic solidarity, colour, onomatopoeia…) to serve the content.

PS: Just noticed the left-facing “Sanskrit” swastika on the cover while making the scan.

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Reproduced with the authors’ permission. All rights remain to the authors.