A little nepotism here, as Kriota Willberg is a Beat columnist (with her essential Get A Grip column about art and health). She’s also a cartoonist whose work deals with health issues, anatomy with a slightly morbid elan. Silver Wire, for Medium’s SpiralBound comics site, is all that, as it explores, of all things, the history of medical sutures and ligatures and its connection to embroidery.
Willberg and her doctor friend go to the park and practice sewing up “wounds” in fruit, as Willberg theorizes that women’s sewing probably had a bigger influence on medical suturing than we acknowledge. And the history of medicine is limned with suffering in the name of the greater good.
The comic is informative and thought-provoking with both a feminist view of history and a very creepy subtext that needles its way into our subconscious. Also if you didn’t know what a fistula is before…you will not able to unsee it.
In an email, Willberg writes that self-published print editions of the comic can be purchased via Birdcage Bottom Books: “In addition to the story there are eight (count ‘em, 8!) pages of citations, wry commentary, bibliography, and images of some of my medical embroidery.”
You can also access the bibliography at her blog, KriotaWelt, but to get the panel by panel citations, you have to buy the print version.
Silver Wire is a pretty amazing comic and I hope it’s remembered when awards season begins.