“A Grotesque, Incurable Disease”: Whiteness as Illness in Gabby Schulz’s Sick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Sick, his 2016 memoir about suffering from a mysterious illness, Gabby Schulz depicts himself as experiencing extreme pain, which he depicts on the page in the shape of monsters and gargoyles tormenting him. Under the pressure of a rising fever, Schulz eventually achieves a clarity of vision that allows him to see that the illness he suffers from is inseparable from his complicity as a white man in the many injustices of Western culture. This essay reads Sick as an extended meditation on racial whiteness, and argues that because whiteness in many comics is often naturalized as nothing more than an absence of signification on the typically white page, it mirrors the way racial whiteness has historically been conceptualized as invisible and universal. A horror story with whiteness as its monster, Sick works to make whiteness visible through drawn depictions of white racial identity morphing into increasingly disturbing images of the death and destruction upon which it rests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-220
JournalInks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

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