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Depression on the Comics Page


I admit to being addicted to the morning paper, and every day I save the comics section for last. Our local paper carries two full pages of comics and puzzles. They’re a part of my morning ritual.

Of course I enjoy the smile or even the laugh-out-loud moment I get from a few favorites. But every now and then an artist brings an important issue to light and raises the comics page to a different level. Several years ago “For Better or For Worse” had the guts to introduce a gay character at a time in our history when that action actually required guts (in this part of the nation, anyway).

Yesterday, the strip “Sally Forth” explained the title character’s recent exhaustion, crankiness, and general malaise. Sally discovered that she may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a common type of depression that can occur during the dark and cold winter months. In discussing this condition in the popular forum of the comics page, the artists (Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh) not only inform readers of an illness they may not have been aware of, but they decrease the ever-present stigma of depression. As the story continues today, they’re balancing humor with the unpleasant effects of the illness in a very healthy way.

Being a SAD sufferer myself, and having a chronically depressed husband, I applaud Marciuliano and Macintosh for tackling the topic of depression through the comics page. Anything we can do to bring this dark illness into the light is a big step in the right direction.


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