Dad's Cancer: A Multimedia Illness Narrative Experiment

Posted in 2007 The Gnovis Blog

“Dad’s Cancer: A Multimedia Illness Narrative Experiment” juxtaposes a personal, emotional narrative about cancer with scholarly work about technology, memory/remembering and the illness experience, suggesting that the emotional and epistemological can co-exist with surprising results. The project explores how multimedia can powerfully translate stories of pain and crisis, lending voice to the silent experience of illness. Using an unlikely narrative and visual format – the comic book – as its jumping off point, “Dad’s Cancer” suggests that the comic form can offer an opportunity to literally “draw” one’s memories into being.

This digital story was created as an experimental third chapter of a thesis project that investigates how the Internet and other new technologies enable individuals to use humor and other kinds of “cancertainment” to reclaim authority over their illness, refigure their relationship to those with cancer and those without, and reimagine how society should make meaning from cancer as a disease and as a social and personal experience.

The author is deeply indebted to Brian Fies, author of Mom’s Cancer (, who inspired this work.