cover image Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Tobimatsu and Keet Geniza. Arsenal Pulp, $16.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-55152-819-9

Tobimatsu navigates the daily consequences of living with breast cancer as a queer woman in this direct, yet gentle-voiced, debut graphic memoir. At 25, the lawyer notices a lump in her breast. The diagnosis is indeed what she feared, albeit a treatable form of cancer. She deals with conflicting opinions on whether chemo, sets of drugs, or even a preventive mastectomy are the answer, as well as various side effects from drugs and friends who don’t get why she can’t party anymore. Her girlfriend and she try to pause their relationship drama, but “knew things had to end,” even though her partner had understood “more than anyone else about how cancer had affected” Kimiko. Meanwhile, her parents care, but can’t truly understand, and, as a politically active Asian-Canadian, Kimiko finds the predominant culture’s “We kick cancer’s butt” narrative false. But as she goes into remission, what emerges is a woman who has learned to care better for herself. Geniza’s expressive figure drawings show a keen eye for the close-up, with a simple color palate of muted blues, blacks, and grays that call to mind Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Kimiko’s strong debut offers a fresh perspective in the growing graphic medicine category. (Oct.)