cover image Menopause: A Comic Treatment

Menopause: A Comic Treatment

Edited by MK Czerwiec. Penn State Univ, $29.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-271-08712-2

This eclectic anthology in the graphic medicine genre illuminates a subject seldom discussed in comics, as more than 20 creators share their experiences with menopause. The wide range of approaches includes Maureen Burdock’s elegantly illustrated ode to the neopagan triple goddess and “moonblood,” Lynda Barry’s witty recollections of the opinionated old ladies in her Filipino family, Joyce Farmer’s playful answer to the question “Do Menopausal Women Even Get Horny?” and an appearance from Roberta Gregory’s alt-comics heroine, Bitchy Bitch, who deals with “the Change” by snarling, “Has it really been over five hundred gushers?” One of the strongest and funniest pieces, Mimi Pond’s “When the Menopause Carnival Comes to Town,” follows a mother and daughter through a fairground where attractions include the Mood Swing and the Hormone Scrambler. Several pieces are authored by medical professionals, including the editor, a nurse and educator who calls herself Comics Nurse. Trans and genderqueer creators offer perspectives, as do artists who have gone through hysterectomy and early menopause. Like many anthologies, it’s uneven, with the contributors’ artistic abilities ranging from amateur to fully assured. But the volume’s exploration of what Barry calls “un-becoming a woman” is often informative, sometimes moving, and ambitious in its frank talk about what is oddly taboo: an inevitable experience for half of humanity. [em](Aug.) [/em]