Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Graphic medicine

Another of the fantastic little tidbits rediscovered in our ongoing assessment of the older collections in offsite storage here at OHSU is the small publication Adventure in Burma, told in pictures: Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave builds a hospital. Published in 1944 by the missionary Judson Press, the comic book-style story is a condensed version of the events told in Seagrave's more famous Burma Surgeon. Only ten libraries in Worldcat hold this particular gem.

This piece is interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is the way it helps us understand the depiction of medical "heroes" and the development of physician archetypes. Especially since the medical world is all abuzz lately with news of the recent availability in English of another comic book medical "hero", Tezuka's surgeon Black Jack. Just think: if we were to compare and contrast the characteristics of Nimrod Seagrave and Black Jack, what could we learn about the changing role of medicine in society?

(By the way, "nimrod" used to mean hunter. In case you were maybe thinking of another, more modern, usage.)

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