Allie Brosh Hyperbole and a Half Depression Part Two copyright 2013

If you haven’t seen Paul Giamatti’s incredible performance as comic book writer Harvey Pekar in the 2003 film American Splendor you should add it to your Netflix queue.  The movie follows the Cleveland born and raised Pekar and his rise to fame as underground comic book creator, writing about relationships, holding a job, wrestling health issues, writing about life.  Better yet, track down any of his books.  His book Our Cancer Year, which won both a Harvey Award and American Book Award, was written with his wife Joyce Brabner, recounting his tumultuous yet ultimately successful battle against lymphoma.  It’s an account that takes comic book writing to another place entirely.  His American Splendor series has been praised by many in the field, including other writers like Neil Gaiman. His stories were drawn by a myriad of artists including Cleveland neighbor Robert Crumb.

Harvey wrestled with anxiety during his life and suffered from depression.  He died from an accidental overdose in 2010 shortly after he learned he had a recurrence of cancer–his third fight against the disease.  If you ever are questioned about comic books as a serious medium, you can point to Harvey Pekar and that should stop anyone in their tracks.

Harvey Pekar Joyce Brabner Our Cancer Year

Last week a friend sent me a link to website written by a woman named Allie Brosh who uses comic art to talk about her life and experiences, blogging much like any number of people across the Web.  She’d been offline for a long while and returned with an incredible post last week.  Check out this story in comic art form, titled Depression Part Two.  There is something very compelling and striking about her creative way of storytelling.  If you have ever known someone who suffers from depression, or you yourself think you may suffer from depression, you may find your friend or yourself in Allie’s work.  The Bend, Oregon, based blogger has received thousands of comments already for her post about depression, and if the story itself doesn’t convince you that “you’re not in this alone” then all the commenters who have written about being touched by her story should.

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