Read at The Comics Journal
Natalie Norris and Karina Shor, both cartoonists and authors, recently published their debut graphic novel memoirs. Despite the potential vulnerability and emotional weight of sharing their most painful and traumatic experiences, both authors chose to depict these stories in their first works. Norris explained that she chose the specific story that became her book, Dear Mini, based on the structure of the story. Writing it as a letter provided a point of entry and a way to frame the narrative. Shor, on the other hand, chose her traumatic story because she believed it carried the most emotional weight for her.
Choosing to write it in the form of a letter gave me a point of entry and a way to frame the story.
Norris felt compelled to share her story of sexual trauma as her first introduction to the world because she believed that no other story carried the same emotional weight for her. She acknowledged the vulnerability that comes with sharing such personal experiences, but ultimately felt it was important to bring this story to light. Shor echoed this sentiment, explaining that she chose to depict her traumatic experiences because she believed they were the most emotionally impactful. Both authors recognized the power of graphic novels in conveying and processing complex emotions and traumas.
In terms of why tell a story that's so traumatic-especially a story about sexual trauma as my first introduction to the world-I felt like no other story carried the same emotional weight for me.