Buzzing | Review
written by Samuel Sattin, illustrated by Rye Hickman
Little, Brown Ink, $24.99 (hardcover), $12.99 (paperback)
Graphic novels are wonderful vehicles for showing what it’s like to have a particular medical condition. First, when well-done, they show us what it’s like to live another kind of life, to put ourselves in someone else’s situation and understand their feelings. But also, the visual medium allows for nifty metaphors for certain conditions.
Take, for example, Buzzing, about a 12-year-old who has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Isaac’s intrusive thoughts are shown as bees, buzzing around his head and saying terrible things to him. It’s a terrific use of visuals to demonstrate how a disability can feel.
Isaac meets some friends through a role-playing game — and the comic format allows for fully illustrated versions of the game adventures as well — but his mother is concerned whether the game is healthy for him, given his condition. Through the twists and turns of Isaac’s summer, he learns to relate to his mother, sister, and friends in new ways, ways that are better for him learning to make his own choices. The community of people who are all weird in their own way helps him find his place.
Buzzing is a wonderful geek-friendly found-family story.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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